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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Frank R Ames, Ph.D.(Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine)
Description: Scientists must write and speak effectively to and beyond the scientific community and must adopt its conventions and standards. The third edition of this book introduces the semantic environment of the sciences and teaches how to write a proposal, dissertation, thesis, article, and abstract and how to develop and present papers and posters. Theory and practice inform the instruction.
Purpose: "The book introduces common forms of communication, while answering questions, offering advice, and identifying additional resources. It functions as a survey, writing guide, reference work, and textbook, and the authors achieve worthwhile objectives: to foster skills in scientific writing and speaking and to minimize the frustrations of developing and delivering papers and presentations. "
Audience: The authors, respected authorities in this area, have designed the book for novice or "fledgling" scientists, primarily graduate students, but it will, in my opinion, refresh and enrich the understanding of the more experienced. Students will find help in developing a dissertation, article, or poster, and faculty members will find assistance in advising students. The authors write for English-speaking American students, but address one chapter to "students coming to the United States from other cultures" and describe differences in languages and customs that affect communication.
Features: "The first chapter discusses the semantic environment of science and communication theory, strongly emphasizing audience analysis: in short, author and audience must understand each other. Chapters discuss different types of communication, and the authors cover rough draft, literature review, style and accuracy, and publishing. Ample space is allotted to nonverbal communication and visuals, professionalism and ethics, and group communication. Attention to visual communication through slide and poster design is a strength. Fourteen appendixes offer very useful examples and additional instruction. Chapters could be grouped into larger sections to clarify their integral relationships. "
Assessment: A respected work deserving high praise, this third edition — a modest update and expansion — accomplishes its purpose with style and good humor. Coverage is broad, and the guidance is sound. The book includes instruction in electronic communication, but could be strengthened by a section on digital trends, repositories, and open-access publishing. It is similar to How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, 7th edition, Day and Gastel (Greenwood, 2011), but not as expansive as Scientific Writing and Communication: Papers, Proposals, and Presentations, Hofmann (Oxford University Press, 2010). For additional insight on structure and style, see Scientific Writing = Thinking in Words, Lindsay (CSIRO, 2011), and, particularly, Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded, Schimel (Oxford University Press, 2012), a work that brings insights from storytelling to science writing.