4.5- Revision

دوره: Writing in the Sciences / فصل: writing process / درس 5

4.5- Revision

توضیح مختصر

Watch out for empty words and phrases like basic tenants of, important, method of logic. Watch out for long words or phrases that could be short like muscular heart and cardio respiratory performance rather than fitness. The way that I do an organizational review especially when I'm editing students' work is I tag each paragraph in the margins with a phrase or sentence that sums up the main point.

  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح سخت

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In this next module we’re going to talk about revision. As I’ve said before revision is really important because that’s where the elegance comes in in writing. Here are some tips for revision. I’m going to go through each one of these in turn. One of the big tips I can give you on revision is to read your writing out loud. That’s because the brain actually processes the spoken word differently than the written word. You may have noticed that in this course as I’ve been reading some examples to you out loud you can hear the awkwardness or repetition or wordiness. Your brain picks it up better when you hear it rather than when you see it. So always read your work out loud that can help you pick up where things don’t sound good. Sometimes it even helps to read your writing out loud into a tape recorder and then play it back. Another great tip for revision is to do a verb check if you’re stuck and you’re just not quite sure how to improve your work. But it’s feeling like it doesn’t have enough oomph, like it’s boring. Here’s a really easy thing to do. Take a couple of paragraphs and go through and underline the main verb of each sentence. After you’ve underlined them all think carefully about your verb traces. Do you have a lot of to be verbs? Is, are, was, were, be, then, am. Do you have a lot of passive verbs? Do you have buried verbs where you’ve got a really long subject before you get to the main verb? Just changing a few verbs to make them more spunky can go a long way to making your writing more lively and accessible. Use a thesaurus to find good verbs. As I’ve also already stressed in this course you need to learn to cut ruthlessly. It’s hard to cut your own work but hopefully the editing practice that you’ve been doing in this course is making you more aware of the clutter in your own writing. Just a quick review of what we talked about in week one. Watch for dead weight words and phrases. Things like, it should be emphasized that, in my opinion. Watch out for empty words and phrases like basic tenants of, important, method of logic. Watch out for long words or phrases that could be short like muscular heart and cardio respiratory performance rather than fitness. Also unnecessary jargon and acronyms as I’ve mentioned before try to catch yourself if you’re using a lot of acronyms and go back and replace those with the actual words. For jargon, ask yourself, do I really need the jargony word or can I say this in a simpler way? Watch out for repetition and also for adverbs. These are all of the things that we’ve been practicing in this course already. So far we’ve been talking about sentence level editing. During revision you should also do a higher level review what I call an organizational review. The way that I do an organizational review especially when I’m editing students’ work is I tag each paragraph in the margins with a phrase or sentence that sums up the main point. So if a paragraph is all about the biological pathway that underlies a disease I might write biological pathway in the margin. I’ll go through each paragraph in the paper and I’ll give it a tag. What I inevitably find is that there are multiple paragraphs with the same tag in different places in the paper. So then I just move those paragraphs around to bring like ideas together. Then I may even combine those paragraphs to reduce repetition. This trick of tagging each paragraph can also help you assess the logical flow because you can quickly check whether the paragraphs are organized in a logical manner. Hopefully if you did a good job on your pre-writing what comes out in your first draft is already well organized but sometimes you need to move things around. When revising it’s always helpful to get outside feedback. It’s hard to edit your own work so getting an outside opinion can help. Ask someone outside of your department preferably outside of your own little niche in science to read your manuscript. It doesn’t have to be somebody who has any training in your scientific area. Just somebody who is intelligent and has enough knowledge of science to be able to read a scientific manuscript. Make sure that they can tell you back the main findings, the take home messages, and the significance of your work. Even without any technical background in your particular area they ought to be able to get these three things from your paper without any problem. If they’re struggling with the paper ask them to point out particularly hard to read sentences and paragraphs in your paper. These are places where you can focus your revision efforts. Try to make the writing more clear, succinct, and engaging. Finally find a good editor to edit your work. Preferably somebody who knows how to do some sentence level editing. Sometimes a spouse or significant other or a friend if, they’re willing to, can make a good editor. Maybe you’ll meet somebody in this course who’s a good peer editor who you could team up with later to reciprocally edit each other’s work. And hopefully during your career you’ll find advisors or mentors or editors who you work well with and who can polish your work at the end of the day.

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