scientific writing

Nina S. Dudnik Nina_Dudnik at brown.edu
Mon Feb 17 18:56:02 EST 1997


I noticed the comments from earlier about scientific writing, and I thought I 
might add my opinion on the topic which has been frustrating me for almost a 
year.  I am an undergraduate biochemistry major, and most of my biology 
classes now center on reading current literature rather than textbooks.   
Consequently, I have to wade through roughly twelve of the world's dryest 
articles a week.  This past week I encountered an article that was so poorly 
written the experiments weren't even outlined in chronological order; it was 
impossible to tell what the authors had done, in what order, and why.  It 
seems to me that after working for months or years on a project and finally 
getting results, researchers would go out of their way to make others want to 
read about their work.  The writing doesn't have to be emotional or poetic, 
but are clarity, simplicity, and maybe some reasonable syntax too much to 
ask?!  
I have begun to realize that this issue isn't confined to scientific writing.  
Scholarly research in any discipline seems seems to be presented in the same 
discouraging way.  Honestly, no matter how brilliant someone's discoveries 
are, they are worth very little if no one can bear reading about them.



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