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The Craft of Scientific Writing

Handbook / ManualNew Edition
  • Presents proven advice, which has been used by research engineers and scientists at many national labs and universities for over ten years
  • Features a fun to read, conversational tone that uses humor, stories and scores of interesting examples to teach the principles of scientific writing
  • Focuses on the stylistic traits that distinguish the best scientific writing
  • New edition explores more deeply how to design illustrations so that they are more persuasive

By: Michael Alley (Author)

282 pages, 40 b/w illustrations, 15 tables


Paperback | 23 Jun 2019 | Edition: 4 | #235280 | ISBN-13: 9781441982872
Available for pre-order: Due Jun 2019 Details
NHBS Price: £21.99 $28/€26 approx
Paperback | Dec 1996 | Edition: 3 | #60929 | ISBN: 0387947663
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £21.99 $28/€26 approx

About this book

The Craft of Scientific Writing is designed to help scientists and engineers- both professionals already active in the disciplines as well as students preparing to enter the professions- write about their work clearly and effectively. Written for use as a text in courses on scientific writing, The Craft of Scientific Writing includes many useful suggestions about approaching a wide variety of writing tasks from laboratory reports to grant proposals and from internal communications to press releases, as well as a concise guide to style and usage appropriate for scientific writing. The Craft of Scientific Writing will also be useful for self-study and it will be an important reference for all scientists and engineers who need to write about their work.

With this new and updated edition, while most technical writing texts have gotten larger and larger over the years, this one is slimming down, to provide busy readers with the essence of what distinguishes the style of the best scientific documents. With this new edition, readers will learn not just how to organize information, but how to emphasize the key details of that information. Also, readers will not just learn how to cast their ideas into precise and clear sentences, but how to connect these sentences in an energetic fashion. In regard to the section on language, the new edition goes into more depth about how to make connections between ideas- an important issue that few technical writing texts address. Second, the new edition also explores more deeply about how to design illustrations so that they are more persuasive. Third, the new edition does a better job of explaining the purposes of different sections to a journal paper, such as literature review, methods, results, etc.

From reviews of the first edition:

"This book offers effective methods for improving writing efficiency and overcoming difficulties during the preparation of technical information."
– Robert L. Schmitt, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Wisconsin

"A refreshing addition to a genre dominated by English teacher-style textbooks. Instead of listing rules that constrain writers, the book uses examples to lay out the path to successful communication [...] Especially helpful (and entertaining) is the chapter on the writing process. Anyone who has spent more time avoiding a writing task than actually doing it will appreciate Alley's tips."
– Dr Ellen Ochoa, Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations, Johnson Space Center


1. Introduction: Deciding Where to Begin
2. Structure: Organizing your Documents
3. Structure: Depth, Transition, and Emphasis
4. Language: Being Precise
5. Language: Being Clear
6. Language: Being Forthright
7. Language: Being Familiar
8. Language: Being Concise
9. Language: Being Fluid
10. Illustation: Making the Right Choices
11. Illustration: Creating the Best Designs
12. Handling Special Stituations
13. Actually Sitting Down to Write

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Holding a masters of science in electrical engineering and a masters in fine arts in writing, Michael Alley is an associate professor of Engineering Communication at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of three popular textbooks: The Craft of Scientific Presentations (2003), The Craft of Editing (2000), and The Craft of Scientific Writing (1996).

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