A Short Guide to Writing about Biology, Global Edition eBook, 9th Edition

Jan A. Pechenik

A Short Guide to Writing about Biology, Global Edition eBook, 9th Edition

By Jan A. Pechenik
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Jan A. Pechenik
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For courses in Writing Across the Curriculum or Writing About Biology.
Developing the tools to effectively write about biology
Teaching biology and strong writing skills simultaneously is a challenge, especially when students exhibit a range of abilities. The 9th Edition of A Short Guide to Writing about Biology provides tools to strengthen student writing and reinforce critical thinking.
Written by a prominent biologist, this best-selling guide teaches students to express ideas clearly and concisely. It emphasizes writing as a way of examining, evaluating, and refining ideas: students learn to read critically, study, evaluate and report data, and communicate with clarity.
Using a narrative style, the text is its own example of good analytical writing. In this new edition, students learn how to avoid plagiarism (Ch. 1 and 3), read and interpret data (Ch. 3, 4 and 9), prepare effective Materials and Methods sections in research reports and more (Ch. 9), and prepare manuscripts for submission (Ch 9). The text also provides advice on locating useful sources (Ch. 2), maintaining laboratory and field notebooks (Ch. 9), communicating with different audiences (Ch. 6 and 10), and crafting research proposals (Ch. 10), poster presentations (Ch. 11), and letters of application (Ch. 12).


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A Short Guide to Writing about Biology provides:
Timeless Writing Advice

  • Offers extensive guidance for all aspects of writing for biologists at all stages of training, including research reports, essay exams, term papers, research proposals, summaries, critiques, poster presentations, oral presentations, and letters of application for jobs and graduate programs.
  • Includes extensive pedagogy in each chapter—helpful hints and end of chapter checklists and summaries facilitate peer review and help instructors to generate grading rubrics.

Insight into Working with Sources

  • Explains how biologists work, design studies, and think about the data they collect (Ch 1 and throughout).
  • Provides detailed advice on working with data, presenting data, and interpreting the results of statistical analyses (Ch 3 and 4).
  • Offers detailed advice about locating useful sources of information, both in print and on the web. Includes information on open access research journals (the DOAJ–Directory of Open Access Journals) as an area to explore for research sources (Ch 2)
  • REVISED! An expanded section on avoiding plagiarism (Ch 1 and 3).
  • REVISED! Updated drawings clarify how to read figures and interpret data (Ch 3).
  • REVISED! More information about citing references and listing them in the Literature Cited section of reports, including information about adding DOI’s (digital object identifiers) to references and how to cite online journals (Ch 5).

Tools to Improve Writing Skills

  • Guides students through the important process of creating effective oral presentations and poster presentations (Ch 11).
  • NEW! Offers advice on organising talks and giving regular, short oral presentations in class based on a single graph or table from a research paper Ch 11).
  • Includes numerous “Technology Tips,” helping students to take better advantage of the computer technology available to them for writing, revising, graphing, calculating, and giving effective talks (throughout).
  • NEW! Features information on how to address controls and write a good Materials and Methods section of a laboratory report of research paper (Ch 9).

Preparing a Work for Submission

  • NEW! Includes material about preparing manuscripts for online submission (Ch 9).
  • NEW! Features content on writing effective figure captions (Ch 9).
  • NEW! Offers examples about building logical introductions that lead to the specific research question to be addressed (Ch 9).

Streamlined Organisation

  • Begins each chapter with a brief overview of the main points to be covered in that chapter to let students know the key topics that they are expected to learn.
  • NEW! Includes more boldfacing, making it easier for students to locate advice of particular importance.

Table of contents
  • Part I General Advice about Writing and Reading Biology
  • 1. Introduction and General Rules
  • 2. Locating Useful Sources
  • 3. General Advice on Reading, Note Taking, and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • 4. Reading and Writing About Statistical Analyses
  • 5. Citing Sources and Listing References
  • 6. Revising
  • Part II Guidelines for Specific Tasks
  • 7. Writing Summaries, Critiques, Essays,and Review Papers
  • 8. Answering Essay Questions
  • 9. Writing Laboratory and Other Research Reports
  • 10. Writing Research Proposals
  • 11. Presenting Research Findings: Preparing Talks and Poster Presentations
  • 12. Writing Letters of Application
  • Appendix A Commonly Used Abbreviations
  • Appendix B Recommended Resources
  • Index