Main Characteristics of Publicistic and Scientific Styles Using Some Case Studies
Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices. General Notes on Functional Styles of Language. SD based on the Interaction of the Primary and Secondary Logical Meaning. The differences, characteristics, similarities of these styles using some case studies.
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Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova
Institute of International Relations of the Republic of Moldova
Faculty of Foreign Languages
Department of English Philology
Main Characteristics of Publicistic and Scientific Styles Using Some Case Studies
2nd year student Tomulet Vilena
PhD Valentina Shinghirei
- Chapter I. The General Notes on Style and Stylistics
- 1.1 Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices
- 1.2 General Notes on Functional Styles of Language
- 1.3 Phonetic Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices
- 1.4 Lexico-Phraseological Stylistic Means
- 1.5 SD based on the Interaction between the Logical and Emotive Meanings
- 1.6 SD based on the Interaction of the Primary and Secondary Logical Meaning
- 1.7 SD which give Additional Characteristics to the Objects described
- 1.8 Repetition. Antithesis. Climax. Represented speech
- 1.9 Asyndeton. Polysyndeton
- Chapter II. Scientific Style
- 2.1 The Meaning and Nature of “Scientific Style”
- 2.2 Authorship. Abstract. Introduction
- 2.3 Results. Tables. Figures and graphics
- 2.4 Titles
- 2.5 Other Types of Documents
- 2.6 Writing Style
- The Course Paper “ Main Characteristics of Publicistic and Scientific styles using some case studies “ is devoted to the comparative analysis of Publicistic and Scientific styles in English language.
- The reason of the choice of the given topic is determined by an increasing interest in the subject. I was always interested in stylistic devices and expressive means, but I wasn't able to identify them correctly. It was always difficult to find metaphors, similes, epithets, etc. This is probable the main reason why I chose this topic. I am a future translator and interpreter and I must know all these important things.
- The main goal of the study is to present the differences, characteristics, similarities of these styles using some case studies, by giving 150 examples from different sources.
- The research objectives of the work are:
- * To examine the main pecularities of the Publicistic and Scientific Styles.
- * To study more closely about stylistic devices and expressive means.
- * To investigates styles using some case studies.
- * To identify differences and similarities between Publicistic and Scientific Styles
- * To make the analysis of selected examples.
- The research methods applied in the study include:
- * Comparative analysis of Publicistic and Scientific Styles.
- * The analysis of the 100 examples of stylistic devices.
- The theoretical value of this course paper is in the research for establishing the features of Publicistic and Scientific Styles.
- The practical value of this work suggests that this theme would help Romanian learners to understand the features from both styles and to be able to find stylistic devices and expressive means.
- The research material is based on 100 English examples of stylistic devices from articles and online newspapers.
- The study consists of Contents, Introduction, Three Chapters, Conclusion, Bibliography, 2 Appendices and Summary.
- The Introduction provides the main goal, tasks and objectives of the Course Paper. It also includes the structure of the paper and it's short description.
- Chapter I, The general notes on style and stylistics, focuses on the description of the Publicistic Style based on its characteristics and peculiarities. It also consists of analyzing of some examples of stylistic devices.
- Chapter II, Scientific Style, focuses on the description of the Scientific Style.
- Chapter III, Analysis of English Publicistic Style, consists of the analysis of examples of stylistic devices in English from different sources.
- The Conclusion underlines the main results of the experimental research and the importance of understanding the characteristics of stylistic devices being a future translator.
- The Bibliography contains the alphabetical list of the Quoted Literature (the sources used in the research for theoretical and practical part) and Dictionaries (sources used for checking grammatical mistakes).
- In Appendix 1 there are 100 examples of stylistic devices which i found in newspapers.
- In Appendix 2 there is a diagram which also served as a study material.
- The Summary (rezumat) presents the message of the Course Paper in brief, especially for those who want to find out what is the study about.
- Key-words: Publicistic Style, Scientific Style, expressive means, stylistic devices.
- Chapter I. The General Notes on Style and Stylistics
- Stylistics, sometimes called lingvo-stylistics, is a branch of general linguistics. It has now been more or less definitely outlined. It deals mainly with two interdependent tasks: a) the investigation of the inventory of special language media which by their ontological features secure the desirable effect of the utterance and b) certain types of texts (discourse) which due to the choice and arrangement of language means are distinguished by the pragmatic aspect of the communication.
- The types of texts that are distinguished by the pragmatic aspect of the communication are called functional styles of language (FS); the special media of language which secure the desirable effect of the utterance are called stylistic devices (SD) and expressive means (EM). Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (9 с)
- The expressive means of English and the stylistic devices used in the literary language can only be understood (and made use of) when a thorough knowledge of the language-as-a-system, i.e. of the phonetic, grammatical and lexical data of the given language, has been attained. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (25 с)
- The distinction between a lofty style and a low style of speech was put forward as far back as in the 18,h century by Michail Lomonosov. However, stylistics as a special branch of linguistics was singled out only towards the middle of the 20"' century. Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (3 с)
- The functions of informing and communicating are present in any
- style (colloquial, official, scientific, publicist, belles-lettres), as speech always contains some information and is used for communicating. Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (3-4 c)
1.1 Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices
As expressive means, language uses various stylistic devices which make use either of the meaning or of the structure of language units. The term “figures of speech” is frequently used for stylistic devices that make use of a figurative meaning of the language elements and thus create a vivid image. Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (26-27 c)
Expressive means, stylistic means, stylistic markers, stylistic devices, tropes, "figures of speech and other names, all these terms are used indiscriminately and are set against those means which we shall conventionally call neutral. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (25c)
The interrelation between expressive means and stylistic devices can be worded in terms of the theory of information. Expressive means have a greater degree of predictability than.stylistic devices. The latter may appear in an environment which may seem alien and therefore be only slightly or not at all predictable. Expressive means, on the contrary, follow the natural course of thought, intensifying it by means commonly used in language. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (31c)
1.2 General Notes on Functional Styles of Language
A functional style of language is a system of interrelated language means which serves a definite aim in communication. A functional style is thus to be regarded as the product of a certain concrete task set by the sender of the message. Functional styles appear mainly in the literary standard of a language.
Galperin calls functional styles registers or disсоurses. In the English literary standard he distinguishes the following major functional styles:
1) The language of belles-lettres;
2) The language of publicistic literature;
3) The language of newspapers;
4) The language of scientific prose;
5) The language of official documents; Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (32-33c)
1.3 Phonetic Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices
Onomatopoeia is a combination of speech-sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature (wind, sea, thunder, etc), by things (machines or taols, etc), by people (sighing, laughter, patter of feet, etc) and by animals. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (124 c)
Examples: 1) The wind roared in my ears. 2) She murmured her agreement.
Alliteration is a device based on repetition of the same or similar sounds at close distance, which makes speech more expressive. Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (44 c)
Example: The day is cold and dark and dreary.
Rhyme is the repetition of identical or similar terminal sound combinations of words. Rhyming words are generally placed at a regular distance from each other. In verse they are usually placed at the end of the corresponding lines. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (128 c) With regard to the similarity of sounds we distinguish:
1. Full rhymes - the likeness between the vowel sounds in the last stressed syllables and between all sounds which follow: tenderly - slenderly, finding - binding.
2. Incomplete/imperfect rhymes - usually similarity to the eye, or spelling similarity: proved - loved, food - blood.
Couplet rhyme - when the first and the second lines rhyme together:
Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs. (Percy Shelly)
Cross rhyme - when the first and the third lines and the second and the third lines rhyme together:
I like a beef-steak, too, as well as any;
Have no objection to a pot of beer;
I like the weather when it is not rainy,
That is, I like two months of every year. (George Byron)
Frame rhyme - when the first and the fourth lines rhyme together:
Love, faithful love recalled thee to my mind -
But how could I forget thee? Through what power
Even for the least division of an hour
Have I been so beguided as to be blind. (William Wordsworth)
1.4 Lexico-Phraseological Stylistic Means
Metaphor denotes a transference of meaning based on resemblance, in other words, on a covert comparison Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (27 c):
Example: The stethoscope crept over her back. What was her lung telling him (the doctor) through the thick envelope of her flesh, through the wall of her ribs and her shoulders? (Say no to death).
The word crept has the contextual logical meaning of “was moved by the doctor's hand”, telling - “giving information about the state of something”, the word envelope - “the covering”, wall - “protection”.
In the English language a number of trite metaphors have become idioms, e.g. to break one's heart, arms of the law, to shoot a glance, a ray of hope, a flight of fancy.
The genuine metaphor is the expression of a writer's individual vision.
Example: But there was no May morning in his cowardly human heart. (Arnold Bennette)
Irony, is based on the simultaneous realisation of two opposite meanings: the permanent, "direct" meaning (the dictionary meaning) of words and their contextual (covert, implied) meaning. Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (36 c)
Example: It must be delightful to find oneself in a foreign country without a penny in one's pocket!
1.5 SD based on the Interaction between the Logical and Emotive Meanings
From the strongest means of displaying the writer's or speaker's emotional attitude to his communication, we now pass to a weaker but still forceful, means -- the epithet. The epithet is subtle and delicate in character. It is not so direct as the interjection. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (157 c)
Example: And he watched her eagerly, sadly, bitterly, ecstatically, as she walked lightly from him. (Theodor Dreiser)
Hyperbole is a stylistic device based on the interaction between the logical and emotive meanings of a word. It denotes a deliberate extreme exaggeration of the quality of the object. Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (31 c)
Example: Then I wondered how long I had to live. I tried to examine myself. I felt my pulse. I could not feel any pulse at all. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to start off. I pulled out my watch and timed it. I made it a hundred and forty-seven to the minute. (Jerome K. Jerome “Three Men in a Boat”)
Oxymoron is a combination of two words (mostly an adjective and a noun or an adverb with an adjective) in which the meanings of the two clash, being opposite in sense. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (162 c)
Examples: 1) Parting is such sweet sorrow! (William Shakespeare); 2) Oh, the sweetness of the pain! (John Keates); 3) The unreached Paradise of our despair. (George G. Byron)
1.6 SD based on the Interaction of the Primary and Secondary Logical Meaning
This is a stylistic device that plays upon two different meanings of the word -- the direct and the figurative meanings, thus creating a pun. Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (30 c)
Example: All girls were in tears and white muslin. (Charles Dickens)
Here the independent meaning of the verb “were” - “ to be dressed in clothes made of white muslin” and its phraseological meaning “to be in tears” - “to cry” - are realized simultaneously.
1.7 SD which give Additional Characteristics to the Objects described
Simile is a stylistic device expressing a likeness between different objects.
Example: She had come back like an animal wounded to death, not knowing where to turn, not knowing what she was doing. … Again he looked at her, huddled like a bird that is shot and dying… (John Galsworthy “The Man of Property ”)
The formal element of the simile is the following: like, as, as if, as though, as … as, etc. The simile is based on the comparison of objects belonging to different classes of things and involves an element of imagination.
There is a variety of periphrasis which we shall call euphemistic.
Euphemism, as is known, is a word or phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one, for example, the word 'to die' has bred the following euphemisms: to pass away, to expire, to be no more, to depart, to join the majority, to be gone, and the more facetious ones: to kick the bucket, to give up the ghost, to go west. So euphemisms are synonyms which aim at producing a deliberately mild effect. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (173 c)
Proverbs and sayings
Proverbs and sayings are facts of language. They are collected in dictionaries. There are special dictionaries of proverbs and sayings. It is impossible to arrange proverbs and sayings in a form that would present a pattern even though they have some typical features by which it is 1 possible to determine whether or not we are dealing with one. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (181 c)
Example: In this conflict we are the challengers. You have the choice of weapons. If you choose scandal, we'll take you at that. No good will come of washing our dirty linen in public. (Bernard Shaw)
An epigram is a stylistic device akin to a proverb, the only difference being that epigrams are coined by individuals whose names we know, while proverbs are the coinage of the people. In other words, we are always aware of the parentage of an epigram and therefore, when using one, we usually make a reference to its author. Epigrams are terse, witty, pointed statements, showing the ingenious turn of mind of the originator. They always have a literary-bookish air about them that distinguishes them from proverbs. Epigrams possess a great degree of independence and therefore, if taken out of the context, will retain the wholeness of the idea they express. They have a generalizing function and are self-sufficient. The most characteristic feature of an epigram is that the sentence gets accepted as a word-combination and often becomes part of the language as a whole. Like proverbs, epigrams can be expanded to apply to abstract notions. Brevity is the essential quality of the epigram. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (184 c)
Examples: 1) To be or not to be, that is the question. (W. Shakespeare); 2) Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. (W. Shakespeare); 3) For never was a story of more woe than that of Juliet and her Romeo. (W. Shakespeare);
1.8 Repetition. Antithesis. Climax. Represented speech
Repetition as a stylistic device serves to emphasize certain statements of the narrator, and so possesses considerable emotive force:
Example: The hour was midnight, and no Forsytes remained in the streets to spy out Bosinney's wanderings; to see him return and stand against the rails of the Square garden, back from the glow of the street lamp; to see him stand there in the shadow of trees, watching the house where in the dark was hidden she whom he would have given the world to see for a single minute - she who was now to him the breath of the lime-trees, the meaning of the light and the darkness, the very beating of his own heart. (J. Galsworthy)
Antithesis denotes a structure that stresses a sharp contrast in meaning between the parts within one sentence: Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (43 c)
Examples: 1) Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace. (G.Byron); 2) To err is human, to forgive - divine. (Alexander Pope);
Climax is repetition (lexical or syntactic) of elements of the sentence, which is combined with gradual increase in the degree of some quality or in quantity, or in the emotional colouring of the sentence: Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (39 c)
Example: Talk about trouble - illness, poverty, vice, crime - none of them can touch mental derangement for sheer tragedy of all concerned. (J. Galsworthy).
This is the case when the speech of a character in the work of fiction is represented without quotation marks, as if it were the author's speech:
Examples: To horse! To horse! He quits, for ever quits A scene of peace, though soothing to his soul.(Byron). Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (44 c)
1.9 Asyndeton. Polysyndeton
This is a deliberate omission of conjunctions or other connectors between parts of the sentence. It may be used in the description of a group of events connected in time: taking place simultaneously or in succession; Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (41-42) Both polysyndeton and asyndeton, though each other's opposite, are equal in expressiveness. The omission of a connective as well as its supra-average occurrence may be suggestive in a variety of ways. Thus, in Hemingway's “In Another Country” the use of polysyndeton suggests and emphasizes the fact that the fates of the three men from Milan were equally tragic; none of them had turned out to be what they had intended to be, while the omission of the connective in the above examples is a way of emphasizing the manner of action.
This is a device opposite to asyndeton: a repeated use of the same connectors (conjunctions, prepositions) before several parts of the sentence, which increases the emotional impact of the text.
Example: Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odours of the forest,
With the dew, and damp of meadows.
With the curling smoke of wigwams,
With the rushing of great rivers,
With their frequent repetitions... (Longfellow) Гуревич В. В., Стилистика английского языка, Учебное пособие, 3-е изд, Флинта; Наука, 2008, (42-43 c)
Chapter II. Scientific Style
The language of science is governed by the aim of the functional, style of scientific prose, which is to prove a hypothesis, to create new concepts, to disclose the internal laws of existence, development, relations between different phenomena, etc. The language means used, therefore, tend to be objective, precise, unemotional, devoid of any individuality; there is a striving for the most generalized form of expression. Гальперин И. Р., Стилистика английского языка, 3-е изд., Высшая Школа, 1981, (307-308 c)
People engaged in scientific research often believe that proper and effective writing lies outside their skill requirements for a successful career in science. Harold Rabinowitz, Suzanne Vogel, The manual of scientific style, Elsevier Inc, 2009, (5 c)
It is important to publish research results for many reasons. In the most basic sense, it is unethical to enrol participants in a research study with their understanding that you will answer an important research question and then fail to report the study results in a timely manner. It is also unethical to accept a grant from a funding body and then fail to publish the results of the research that you conducted using the funds. Failure to publish reflects badly on your reputation as a scientist and is likely to have a significant influence on your future career and your ability to attract further funding. On the other hand, success in publishing contributes to rewards such as job promotion and professional recognition. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (1 c)
A scientific article that is published in a well-respected, peer-reviewed journal is an important goal for any researcher and remains one of the ultimate markers of research success. For this reason, it is important to write your paper well so that it has clear messages, is readily accepted for publication, and is something that you can always be proud of.
A well-written paper is one that is easy to read, tells an interesting story, has the information under the correct headings, and is visually appealing. It is a sad fact of life that few researchers or clinicians read a journal article from beginning to end. Most readers want to scan your paper quickly and find the relevant information where they expect it to be. If you want the information in your paper to be read and to be used, you must be certain that you have presented it in an organised and accessible format. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (2 c)
2.1 The Meaning and Nature of “Scientific Style”
The term “style” is ambiguous owing to an accident of publishing history. While in ordinary usage, the word “style” would be used to signify the characteristics of a mode of speech, dress, or expression, in publishing, the word specifically denotes the rules of grammar and usage to which published material must conform. This use of the term probably arose from its inclusion in the title of an informal booklet created by the proofreaders at the then fledgling University of Chicago Press--that was in 1896! Thus, in modern parlance, both in the title of books described as “manuals of style” and while speaking of “style issues” in the course of writing and editing, the word “style” is used in this restrictive sense. Yet, we believe any work that aims to guide and improve scientific writing
must address both meanings of style, and must therefore provide guidance on both the methods of producing more effective and useful science writing, as well as on the strictures of grammar and usage. This is especially true of the sciences for two reasons:
1. Correct language and correct science.
2. Science as writing.” Harold Rabinowitz, Suzanne Vogel, The manual of scientific style, Elsevier Inc, 2009, (9 c)
In scientific prose, one expects words to be used carefully, so that, for example, a writer of a piece on physics would not confuse “mass” and “weight,” and should not do so even if the level of writing is informal enough to make the distinction less important, or if the writing is directed at an audience that will still understand the point of the piece even without knowing the distinction. The value of precision in science may well be the highest value that a science writer (or a scientist, for that matter) can espouse, and a science writer compromising on precision, even for what is perceived to be a greater good of more emphatic and persuasive communication, does so in peril of rendering the writing neither forceful nor persuasive. Harold Rabinowitz, Suzanne Vogel, The manual of scientific style, Elsevier Inc, 2009, (20 c)
Scientific documents cannot happen unless they are given priority in life. To achieve this, it is important to develop good time management skills that enable you to distinguish between the urgent and the important issues in your working day. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (5 c)
Scientific writing is a well-defined technique rather than a creative art. The three basic aspects to effective scientific writing are thought, structure, and style.
* Thought is a matter of having some worthwhile results and ideas to publish. You need some new results to publish and you need to be able to interpret them correctly.
* Structure is simply a matter of getting the right things in the right place.
* Style is a matter of choosing the fewest and most appropriate words and using the rules of good grammar. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (8-9 c)
2.2 Authorship. Abstract. Introduction
Authorship is about publicly putting your name to your research achievements. Academics reap many personal and professional rewards from their research activity in general and their publications in particular. Authorship has a strong currency that brings not only personal satisfaction but also career rewards based on publication counting. Both the number of publications and the quality of the journal are often used to judge research reputations, to assess achievement for promotion, and to measure “track record” for granting bodies who allocate research funds. For these reasons alone, researchers rarely turn down an opportunity to coauthor a paper. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (29 c)
Because authorship is such a serious issue, many journals will not consider a paper for publication without the signatures of all authors. Most journals also require a declaration of ompeting interests from their authors and contributors. Authors must have independence and must be accountable. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (35 c)
The abstract should be organised by first stating the aims of the study followed by the basic study design and methods. This should then be followed by the main results including specific data and their statistical significance. Finally, finish with the conclusion and interpretation. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (49 c)
Introductions should be short and arresting and tell thereader why you undertook the study. The best introductions fit on one page. In essence, this section should be brief rather than expansive and the structure should funnel down from a broad perspective to a specific aim. The introduction can be one of the hardest parts of a paper to write, but adopting this approach helps you to focus on how you want to start and what you specifically need to say. Most readers want a quick and snappy introduction to your work. Topic sentences, especially for the first introductory sentence, are a great help. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (51-52 c)
2.3 Results. Tables. Figures and graphics
language stylistic publicistic
This section is the most important part of your paper because its function is to give specific answers to the aims that you stated in the introduction. After the methods, this should be the easiest section to write. You should use an interesting sequence of text, tables, and figures to answer the study questions and to tell the story without diversions. It is essential to know your audience and make it clear to them in their own language how your work is an important extension of what has gone before. In practice, editors usually prefer to publish new findings. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (63-64 c)
Tables are invaluable for presenting numerical results but should not be too large. If many rows or columns are being presented, it is a good idea to consider dividing the table into two. It is also important to keep tables as simple and uncluttered as possible. Row and column headings should be brief but sufficiently explanatory. Standard abbreviations of units of measurements should be added in parentheses. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (76 c)
Figures and graphs are essential for conveying results in a clear way. A cryptic approach is to show your most important findings as a figure, but only as long as the figure does not take up much more space than reporting the data would. For this reason, some journals prefer tables to bar charts. The figure in which you present your main results should be totally self-explanatory and have a bold, stand-alone quality. A good figure tells the story in a single grab and stays in a reader's mind. Such figures are often taken up by other researchers in their talks to wider audiences and thus help to promote your work. As such, the detail has to be balanced against simplicity.
Figures that you use in talks to colleagues are often too simplified for a journal article in which all of the details must be included in the absence of any accompanying oral explanations. However, figures with too much detail become complicated and difficult to understand when the message gets lost in the graphics and the explanations. The symbols, abbreviations, hatching, line types, and bars must all be very clear and must be explained in detail without cluttering the picture. Also, the figure legend should be comprehensive so that the figure can be fully understood without recourse to reading explanatory text in the results section. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (79 c)
Titles take up only a few words but are of inestimable importance in persuading clinicians and researchers to read your paper. If your title has an impact that attracts readers, then so much the better. The basic function of a title is to describe the content of your paper in a succinct way. Also, in these days of database searching, keywords in the title make your paper immediately accessible to workers in your field. However, titles can also be used as a key tool to give your paper a distinct personality. To this end, your title must be accurate, specific, concise, and informative, must not contain abbreviations, and must never be dull.
Short titles are usually best and, in recognition of this, some journals set a limit on the length. When writing your title, do not be afraid of trying to attract
readers. Just keep working and working on it until you achieve clarity, brevity, and, most of all, human interest. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (93-94 c)
2.5 Other Types of Documents
Letters, or communications as they are sometimes called, are written for many reasons. You many want to provide supporting information, clarification, criticism, correction, or an alternative explanation to the results in a previously published journal article. You may disagree with the interpretation of the results, have further information to add to a publication, or have a novel comment to make.
If you decide to write a letter, it needs to carry a clear and succinct message and to have instant appeal.
Although letters are short, they often take a surprising amount of time to write, hone, and perfect. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (166 c)
The best editorials are usually short, pithy, pertinent reviews about a topic that is selected by the editor. An editorial is often commissioned to comment on a paper that is published in the same issue of the journal. Very often, the editor asks an external reviewer who has shown insight into the paper to write this type of timely review. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (168 c)
2.6 Writing Style
The style in which you write and present your paper is of fundamental importance for achieving brevity and clarity. To convey messages effectively in written form, it is essential to have organisation both between and within your paragraphs. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (188 c)
Before you begin writing a paragraph, you must have a clear concept of what it is going to be about. A paragraph can be beautifully constructed but can be difficult to understand if it is not organised around a defined topic. Organising your thoughts in each paragraph can be easily achieved by using a topic sentence. Topic sentences begin a paragraph and explain what it will be about. The topic sentence creates the expectation of what the paragraph will be about and the supporting sentences fulfil that expectation. For this reason, topic sentences are an essential tool for organising paragraphs and for improving the readability of your paper. Once the topic sentence has been correctly framed, the paragraph is completed with supporting sentences that give all the remaining information that the reader needs to know. Topic sentences are especially useful for writing the introduction and discussion and, to an extent, the results section. In the methods and abstract, the standard subheadings tend to replace the need for topic sentences. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (189-190 c)
A sentence is a group of words that convey a complete thought. To do this clearly, sentences need to conform to established rules about organising words, which is where grammar comes in. For some of us, this word brings back memories of incomprehensible rules that were part of our school's mantra. For others, grammar is a mystery because the rules never made it on to our school curriculum. If you didn't learn grammar at school or if you have forgotten the grammar that you did learn, it's a good idea to brush up on some of the elementary terms and rules. Jennifer Peat, Scientific Writing, Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, 2002, (214c)
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