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PSY 36 Notes Scientific Writing.docx

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Keith Maddox

Scientific Writing I. Goals of Scientific Writing a. Engage b. Describe c. Convince II. Elements of a Scientific Paper a. Title page b. Abstract c. Introduction d. Method e. Results f. Discussions g. References h. Footnotes (if any) i. Tables and figures j. Appendix III. Abstract a. Purpose: provides readers with an overview of the authors’research question(s), methods, major findings and implications of the work. b. 120-150 words MAX c. Goal: be concise! Each word should be carefully selected to maximize information and minimize text d. Write last IV. Introduction (checklist) a. Present the current state of literature and identify a gap in the literature that must be addressed b. State research question c. Build a cohesive argument (based on past literature) to support hypothesis d. State hypothesis e. Articulate why it is important to answer the research question (i.e., respond to, “So what?”) V. Introduction: common pitfalls a. Vague or overly verbose sentences i. Each statement should have a clear, easy-to-understand point b. Lack of rationale i. WHY is this important? c. Long, drawn out summary of literature VI. Vague Sentences a. “This study will benefit society tremendously.” b. “This research will contribute to the existing literature.” i. Be specific about how the study will benefit society and contribute to the literature VII. Verbose Sentences a. “It is the contention of this paper that such perceptual phenomena are as scientifically measurable in terms of appropriate measures as such more hallowed phenomena as flicker fusion constancy, or tonal attributes.” i. Better ii. “We contend that people see objects as larger than they actually are when those objects are valuable. To measure this perceptual distortion, we will compare participants’estimates of object size for objects that are more versus less valuable.” VIII. Before you start writing… a. You should be able to answer the following questions: i. Why is this problem important?
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