How to Write About Biology

By J. Pechenik
November 1996
Pearson Education
ISBN: 0582309220
272 pages
$52.50 Hardcover


Provides a firm foundation for all types of biological writing. It plugs the gaps in essential study skills which lecturers should not be expected to fill and which students often find that they are lacking.

Preface ix. 1. Introduction and General Rules. What do Biologists Write, When and Why?. Some Keys to Success. When to Use Handwriting, Typing and Computer Word-Processing and Graphing. Using Computers in Writing, Analysis and Presentation. Summary.

2. General Advise on Reading, Lectures and Note-Taking. Effective Reading. Textbooks. Taking Notes During Lectures. Reading Scientific Papers. Plagiarism and Note-Taking. Locating Useful Sources. Using a Computerized Library Catalogue to Locate Books. Review Articles and the Primary Literature. Searching Computer Databases. Searching Printed Versions of Abstracts and Indexes. Closing Thoughts. Summary.

3. Writing Up Your Experiments. Class Laboratory Reports, Larger Project Reports and Higher Degree Theses. The Value of Writing Lab Reports. Organizing a Laboratory or Field Notebook. SI Units and Prefixes. Components of the Laboratory Reports. Where to Start. The Materials and Methods Section. The Results Section. In Anticipation. Citing Sources. The Discussion Section. The Introduction. Deciding on a Title. Writing an Abstract. The Acknowledgements Section. The Literature Cited Section. Statistical Analysis. Preparing Theses.

4. Writing Essays. The Value of Essays. Getting Started. Researching Your Topic. Writing the Essay. Citing Sources. Creating a Title. Revising.

5. Improving Punctuation, Word-Choice, Spelling and Grammar. English Terminology. Punctuating for Clarity and Ease of Reading. Choosing the Right Word. Spelling. Some Useful Grammar. Differences Between British and American Spellings and Usages.

6. Revising Written Work. Revising for Content. Revising for Clarity. Revising for Completeness. Revising for Conciseness. Revising for Flow Revising for Teleology and Anthropomorphism. Revising for Spelling Errors. Revising for Grammar and Proper Word Usage. Becoming a Good Editor.

7. Answering Examination Questions. Allocating Your Time. Answering the Question Set. Answering Different Types of Questions.

8. Writing Summaries and Critiques. The First Draft. The Summary. The Critique.

9. Preparing Papers for Formal Publication.

10. Preparing Research Posters.

11. Preparing Talks. General Aspects of Giving Any Type of Talk. Talking About Published Research Papers. Talking About Original Research. Talking About Proposed Research. The Listener's Responsibility.

12. Writing Letters of Application. Before You Start. Preparing the Curriculum Vitae. Preparing the Covering Letter. Obtaining Effective Letters of Recommendation.

13. Practice at Spotting and Correcting Errors.

Appendix A. Means, Variances, Standard Deviations and Standard Errors. Appendix B. Suggested References for Further Reading Appendix C. Exercise Answers and Revised Sample Sentences. Index.

" Coverage of every aspect of writing in biology - lab reports, essays, project reports, research papers, job and graduate applications, drawings, oral presentations. " Advice on how to tackle examination questions of all types. " A special section on improving punctuation, grammar, spelling and word choice - painlessly!. " A section on critical reading and note taking that highlights strategies for developing a clear understanding of the subject. " Examples of good and bad biology writing throughout. " Advice on the use of computers in searching primary and secondary sources, and in preparing reports, graphs and tables.

Return to main page of Trans-Atlantic Publications