Writing is important because it requires high level skills to complete.
Skills involved in writing include:
Reading and following directions
Study planning and time management
Application of knowledge
Comprehension of material
Research and documentation
Students are notoriously bad at estimating the time it take to write a good paper, which is why study planning is a critical step. Writing a paper is an exercise in organization, planning, and critical thinking. Research and documentation are also critical elements. Doing research and documentation correctly helps prevent plagiarism, which could come with significant bad consequences.
Plagiarism is a serious offense. It is taking other people’s ideas or works and claiming them as your own. Many students fall into the trap of plagiarism because they:
Run out of time
Don’t understand how to document correctly
Want to sound sophisticated or use big words to impress
Are afraid to ask for help
Do not understand what they are writing about
Grammar is important because using correct grammar makes your writing easier to understand. Also, poor grammar makes you seem less intelligent than you really are. Many students are intimidated by grammar rules and processes. However, there are some easy to follow methods that can help every student create error-free documents. They include:
Using a grammar checker like Grammarly or even Microsoft Word
Reading your document out loud
Knowing what your most common error is and proofreading specifically for that error
Using a skilled proofreader (your teacher, LSS lab instructors)
Giving yourself enough time to put your document down and return to it later (You will have a fresh eye and catch more mistakes)
Giving yourself enough time to make edits
You don’t have to be a grammar expert to create error free documents. You do have to be a good time manager, and you do have to use your resources.
Learning Support Services provides free English and grammar help for all HCC students.
How Clear Writing Can Help
Writing has been shown to help people in many ways. It can even help you reduce test anxiety! Letters of gratitude help you feel happier.
Writing can help you:
Stay focused on a goal
Heal from bad experiences
Improve memory and learning
Reduce worry and focus on performance
Sheldon, K. M. and Lyubomirsky, S. (2007), Is It Possible to Become Happier? (And If So, How?). Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 1: 129–145. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2007.00002.x
Yogo, M., & Fujihara, S. (2008). Working memory capacity can be improved by expressive writing: A randomized experiment in a Japanese sample. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13(1), 77–80. doi:10.1348/135910707X252440.
Writing scientific papers is not the same as writing papers for other classes. Here are some guidelines that include some of the differences. Keep these ideas in mind when writing and reading papers for your science courses.
Be careful not to plagiarize.
Always include citations for ideas or information from others.
Typically use APA formatting.
Be clear and concise
Basic terms and concepts do need to be defined.
Don’t use excessive “flowery” language.
Do not use first person narrative.
Keep sentences short and to the point.
Science writing follows a rigid structure.
Science writing is typically divided into distinct sections, with each section containing specific information.
Label sections with a heading.
Introduction and Background
Provide previously known information that is relevant to your topic.
These are usually used to explain the purpose behind your paper or study. (Why did you study what you did?)
Materials & Methods
Describe how you did what you did.
State supplies, equipment, techniques, etc. that you used. Use full sentences, not a bulleted list.
You can break these up into subsections for different aspects of your research.
State your findings.
Include figures and tables in this section. Be sure to label all figures and tables and to reference them in your writing.
Ex. “As illustrated in Fig. 1, the mean height…”
Ex. “The mean height for men in this study was 170 cm, and mean height for women was 162 cm (Table 2).”
Report the proper results.
Typically you report mean (average) values, not the individual measurements.
Do not interpret your results here!
Do the results support the hypothesis? Explain why or why not.
Include the application and the importance of the results.
Mention any suggestions for future research or improvements.
Follow format guidelines given by your professor or of a journal in your field.