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Successful Scientific Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide for the Biological and Medical Sciences

Handbook / Manual
Written in an accessible and humorous style, drawing on the authors' fifty years of experience of writing and correcting scientific manuscripts
Thoroughly updated for today's digital world, covering all aspects of the writing process and now including extensive coverage of ethical issues, including plagiarism
30 hands-on exercises and numerous real-life examples make the book a powerful tool for researchers and students across a range of scientific disciplines

By: Janice R Matthews (Author), Robert W Matthews (Author)

320 pages, 37 b/w illustrations, 31 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Nov 2014 | Edition: 4 | #214960 | ISBN-13: 9781107691933
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £25.99 $32/€29 approx

About this book

Thoroughly revised and updated, the new edition of this acclaimed and best-selling guide offers a rich blend of practical advice and real-life examples. The authors draw on fifty years of experience, providing detailed step-by-step guidance designed to help students and researchers write and present scientific manuscripts more successfully through knowledge, practice, and an efficient approach. Retaining the user-friendly style of the previous editions, this fourth edition has been broadened to include detailed information relevant to today's digital world. It covers all aspects of the writing process, from first drafts, literature retrieval, and authorship to final drafts and electronic publication. A new section provides extensive coverage of ethical issues, from plagiarism and dual publication to honesty in reporting statistics. Both the text and 30 hands-on exercises include abundant examples applicable to a variety of writing contexts, making this a powerful tool for researchers and students across a range of disciplines.

Reviews of the previous edition:

"[...] does not disappoint. It is everything a 'how to' book needs to be, stuffed with plain common sense and sprinkled with useful tips."
– The Biologist

"[...] strongly recommended for all geoscientists. There are three possible ways to use it. The first is to read it as a normal book from the first page to the last [...] The second way is to use it as a reference [...] The third way is [...] as a textbook [...] Despite of what way to choose, you will find this book always very suitable. Reading of any passage is enjoyable and stimulating. The book [...] is a great success [...]"
– Zentralblatt for Geologie und Palaeontologie

"This book is beyond reproach and should be regarded as compulsory reading for all biomedical and science undergraduate and postgraduate students and all others likely to have to write or edit scientific reports."
– Times Higher Education Supplement

"[...] very well organized and easy to scan for useful tips [...] will soon become one of the more well-thumbed volumes on our laboratory bookshelf."
– Trends in Neuroscience

"[...] pragmatic, well-written and comprehensive [...] each stage – from marshalling ideas through bashing out a first draft, revising it, honing it for publication and correcting it in proof – is demystified with exercises and examples."
– New Scientist

"[...] an excellent, well-organised text that will ensure that aspiring authors who use it will find that writing can be a joy, rather than a burden."
– British Journal of Biomedical Science

"[...] a tightly written compendium of good advice, helpful examples and exercises, and a thorough coverage of topics, supported amply by references to other works [...] an excellent book and [...] a necessity for every research department and scientific/medical library."
– American Entomologist

Related titles

See the previous edition

Successful Scientific Writing

The detailed, practical, step-by-step advice in this user-friendly guide...

Clearance price: £7.50 £29.99 (Save £22.49) $9/€8 approx



1. Start with a plan
2. Conduct a comprehensive literature search
3. Prepare for the challenge
4. Begin well
5. Compose the IMRAD core of a strong first draft
6. Assemble the rest of the first draft
7. Compile tables to develop, clarify, and support your narrative
8. Include figures for evidence, efficiency, or emphasis
9. Report numbers clearly and responsibly
10. Revise for coherence
11. Improve style and syntax
12. Improve word choice
13. Attend to punctuation, capitalization, and other mechanics
14. Address your ethical and legal responsibilities
15. Oral presentation: adapt the text and visuals
16. Share your story in public: presenting talks and posters
17. Publication: the rest of the story

Thirty exercises to improve anyone's scientific writing skills
Selected resources

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Janice R. Matthews is a writer and educator with a broad background in the biological sciences. Her professional focus is on facilitating clearer communication of scientific material. She has edited books, technical manuals and hundreds of scientific research papers in the veterinary and biological sciences, both in university settings and for private industry.

Robert W. Matthews is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, Emeritus Professor at the University of Georgia and a member of the UGA Teaching Academy. An insect behavior specialist, his scientific publications number over 175 research articles.

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