A step by step method on how to write a scientific article

Give Readers Nuggets - Ed Hull

Give Readers Nuggets is the book to accompany you during your health-related research (in the broadest sense of the word).
But what is a nugget? A nugget of gold is easy to pick up and it has immediate value. A prospector who finds a nugget does not have to work hard to find value. Likewise, a reader of scientific articles who finds a reader-friendly, credible and relevant article does not have to work hard to find value. Let’s give our readers nuggets!
The book will help you think in terms of your final product—a well-structured, credible and readable scientific article.

About the author

The problem

The solution

“If you can’t explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough.”

– Albert Einstein –

A new mindset

In the professional world of scientific communication, your readers want to learn something from you, the writer. In other words, you are a “teacher.” In the book I encourage you to think of your article as an educational document that focusses on your take-home messages, supported by the details of your study.

A template

Within the standard IMRaD framework for scientific articles the book presents a template to organize your take-home messages and the supporting details. 

Techniques to build reader-friendly sentences and paragraphs

Readers want to easily understand your text. The book presents techniques to write to-the-point and logically linked sentences and paragraphs that focus on your study, its outcome and its consequences.

Book review SENSE

Ed has drawn on his experience as a researcher and teacher of scientific writing to develop an effective strategy for writing clear, well-written research articles – something which is sorely needed in academia. His ideas are well presented and easy to follow and should benefit native English-speaking and ESL authors alike.

Here are some snippets from chapters.

At school, we unintentionally learn an academic style of writing that effectively impressed our teachers and, thereby we earned our diplomas. After years of education, that style became habit. However, in modern professional scientific communication it does not work well. In his article Inheritance of poor writing habits, Amin Bredan writes, “Generations of editors, reviewers and readers have struggled to understand complex, exaggerated and often pompous prose that does little to enhance the reader’s understanding, but aims to demonstrate the scholarly prowess of the author.”

Furthermore, inherited from the 19th Century, many of us learned to “write objectively.” We learned to leave out any reference to human influence on the outcome of our study. Especially, we learned “Never use the words ‘I’ or ‘we’.” But in the 21st Century we know that research is always subject to human influence. In his book Curiosity, Joshua Schimel (a past editor of Nature) stated, “Objectivity does not come from how you treat your writing, but from how you treat your data.”

Focusing on the specific scope of your study is an element in my writing strategy. The credibility of your article depends upon it. A health-related scientific article usually reports data collected from a sample of patients, animals, objects etc. And usually that sample came from a subpopulation of a much larger population. About that specific subpopulation, from which the sample came, we can state strong conclusions. Relative to that specific population, our sample size was relatively large, and our methods were not severely limited. In contrast, conclusions related to the larger population are speculative: they are severely confounded by many uncontrolled variables. The book will take you step-by-step through this strategy.

Storytelling was probably the first form of verbal education. We are evolutionarily “hardwired” to tell and remember stories. The writing strategy I present in the book focusses on a well written scientific story from which readers will remember the take-home messages.

 

"A step by step method on how to write a scientific article"

Tom S. Decates

Tom S. Decates MD

PhDstudent, Erasmus MC

I’ve been a big fan since my first encounter with Ed Hull’s book

Geert Boink Give Readers Nuggets

Gerard J.J. Boink MD

Clinical & Experimental Cadiology, AMC

Ed Hull’s book has greatly supported my early start in scientific writing and I continue to use it in my teaching to students

M. van Bloemendaal MSc

PhD candidate, Physical therapist

The book and course were very useful to me. Thinking outside the box and writing understandable and credible texts.