By Michael Alley
In October 1984, the vulnerable writing in a systematic file made nationwide information. The file, which defined defense strategies in the course of a nuclear assault, instructed commercial staff "to don heavy outfits and immerse themselves in a wide physique of water." The common sense in the back of this recommendation was once sound: Water is an efficient absorber of warmth, neutrons, and gamma rays. regrettably, the best way the recommendation used to be worded was once uncertain. was once all people imagined to come up for air? Be thoroughly submerged?
The writing conveyed the incorrect impression to the general public. The file came upon as announcing "go leap in a lake" -- no longer the impact you need to provide anyone spending millions of greenbacks to fund your study. likelihood is that Dan quite won't quote your files on nationwide tv. nonetheless, your writing is necessary.
On a private point, your writing is the main method within which humans know about your paintings. in case you communicate weIl, you obtain credits in your paintings. in case you don't converse weIl, or are too sluggish to communicate, the credits frequently is going to another person. On a bigger point, your writing and the writing of alternative scientists effect public coverage approximately technological know-how and engineering.
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Extra resources for The Craft of Scientific Writing
Note that the first sentence of this descriptive summary orients the audience to the identity of the work. Don' t think that the repetition between the title and summary is redundant. Being redundant is a needless repetition of details. The repetition here is purposeful-you want to clarify any doubts that the audience has about the meaning of the title. Notice also that the second sentence of this descriptive summary provides a secondary detail that 23 Organizing Your Documents could not fit into the title.
Recommendations of Investigation. The investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103led to several recommen- Organizing Your Documents 45 dations to help prevent another explosion of this kind. Some of these recommendations were for changes to airplane construction; other recommendations were for changes in airport safety. Recommendations for changes in airplane construction fell into two categories: changes in the cargo-bay design and changes in the flight-recorder apparatus. After reviewing the investigation, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the British Transport Department recommended that allluggage be contained in stronger cargo bays.
The beginning of a scientific document includes the title, summary, and introduction. Creating Tit/es. The title is the single most important phrase of a scientific document. The title teIls readers what the document iso If your title is inexact or unclear, many people for whom you wrote the document will never read it. Consider a weak example: Reducing the Hazards of Operations What is this document about? Only a psychic could know. This document could be about anything from using catalytic igniters in a nuclear power plant to using new plastic gloves during operations on AIDS patients.
The Craft of Scientific Writing by Michael Alley