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

TextbookHandbook / Manual
There is a newer edition

Successful Scientific Writing

Thoroughly revised and updated, the new edition of this acclaimed and...

NHBS Price: £29.99 $39/€34 approx

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

240 pages, 37 b/w illustrations, 31 tables

Cambridge University Press

Spiralbound | Oct 2007 | Edition: 3 | #166169 | ISBN-13: 9780521699273
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £29.99 $39/€34 approx

About this book

The detailed, practical, step-by-step advice in this user-friendly guide will help students and researchers to communicate their work more effectively through the written word. Covering all aspects of the writing process, this concise, accessible resource is critically acclaimed, well-structured, comprehensive, and entertaining. Self-help exercises and abundant examples from actual typescripts draw on the authors' extensive experience working both as researchers and with them. Whilst retaining the user-friendly and pragmatic style of earlier editions, this third edition has been updated and broadened to incorporate such timely topics as guidelines for successful international publication, ethical and legal issues including plagiarism and falsified data, electronic publication, and text-based talks and poster presentations. With advice applicable to many writing contexts in the majority of scientific disciplines, Successful Scientific Writing is a powerful tool for improving individual skills and an eminently suitable text for classroom courses or seminars.

"[...] 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

"[...] 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 in the whole is a great success [...]"
- Zentralblatt for Geologie und Palaeontologie

Reviews of the first edition

"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."
- Stuart B. Coghill, Times Higher Education Supplement

"[...] a user-friendly guide covering all aspects of typescript preparation from the first to the final drafts [...] clearly and entertainingly written with practical exercises and answers along the way."
- P. K. Thomas, Journal of Anatomy

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

"[...] the authors have produced 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."
- T. Scott, British Journal of Biomedical Science

"Its strongest point is the way it obliges the readers to consider their stance: what are they doing? How do they want to express their findings? There is a lot of useful material in this book [...] I'd like to know it was in the library, to act as a first port of call for new would-be writers."
- Biologist

"[...] one of the most enjoyable and informative books that I have read in recent years [...] a must for all undergraduate and postgraduate science students."
- Elaine Hemers, BSDB Newsletter



1. From start to finish: the big picture
2. Writing in the computer age
3. Writing the first draft
4. Supporting the text with tables and figures
5. Revising structure and format
6. Checking grammar and number use
7. Revising for word choice
8. Revising punctuation and other mechanics

Selected resources
Appendix 1. Suggested responses to exercises
Appendix 2. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals

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Janice Matthews is a scientist, writer, and educator with a broad background in the biological sciences and a professional focus on facilitating clearer communication of scientific material. She graduated summa cum laude from Michigan State University, obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard University, and earned the Educational Specialist degree in Science Education from the University of Georgia. She has written and edited books, technical manuals, and hundreds of scientific research papers in the veterinary and biological sciences, both in university settings and for private industry.

A Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor and member of the Teaching Academy at the University of Georgia, Robert Matthews is a specialist on the behavior of insects, particularly wasps and bees. He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. His publications include books, popular articles, and over 160 peer-reviewed research articles.

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