Welcome to howtoscience.net!
Let’s not beat around the bush: scientific writing is hard. It’s a skill, and like all skills worth learning, it takes a lot of time and practice to get it right. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t short-cuts you can take on the way.
Not just for procrastination, you really can use sci-fi to write better sci-fact. Keep reading to learn more.
I taught science and scientific report writing for years at an Australian university and I found that the major problems most of my students had were that they really weren’t sure of exactly what they should be putting (and in many cases, not putting) into their papers.
Part of the problem is that most students have never even read a scientific paper before. Real papers are very dense, often dry, and always full of jargon that undergraduates dont yet have the knowledge-base to fully understand. This results in a catch-22 situation, where students are being asked to do something that’s beyond their grasp because they cannot follow the source material.
However, there is a way to overcome this; and it’s by treating scientific writing much like any other form of story-telling. In this site, I use the example of Star Wars to describe the three-act narrative structure and how it can be broadly applied to writing scientific papers. At the same time, I provide examples of how to read past the jargon in real reports and understand their underlying structure.
What this site is: a series of pointers aimed at helping you to bypass the jargon and tease out the structure of scientific papers so you can help yourself to improve your writing through understanding.
What this site is not: an encyclopedic, step-by-step “how to” guide covering every aspect of scientific reporting. This is beyond the scope of the site, and there are plenty of other guides, both on-line and in print that do a more comprehensive job.
I hope that you gain some insight from this aspect of looking at the task of writing reports. I know it certainly improved my abilities in scientific communication.