Are you a reluctant writer? If so, you are in good company. Many scientists, even the most successful ones, would rather get on with their next piece of work than settle down to reporting the last piece. But it is a fact of scientific life that every worthwhile research project must lead to publication or a written report of some kind. Each new step in science is based on earlier findings, and each step must be fully and clearly documented for the sake of others following the same path.
The first substantial piece of writing many scientists do is a progress report on their thesis work, or a short journal article written jointly with their supervisor, followed by the thesis itself. This book aims to make writing research papers, theses, and other kinds of reports easier, and perhaps more enjoyable, whether you are an experienced author or a beginner.
Research papers conventionally include an introduction, a description of what was studied and how it was studied, an account of the results, and a discussion of the results and their implications. Journal articles constructed in this formal way have become the basic units of research publication and are the model for many other kinds of writing in science. The chapters on writing journal articles therefore form the core of this book (in which ‘science’ means all branches of science, including medicine). Nearly everything in these chapters is relevant even if you are writing a thesis or a report rather than a journal article.