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Tips for Writing Theses for non-Native Speakers of English

Tips for Writing Theses for non-Native Speakers of English

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Tips for Writing Theses for non-Native Speakers of English

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  1. Tips for Writing Theses for non-Native Speakers of English Dr. M. Kevin O Carroll BDS, MSD Fellow, American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Diplomate, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Professor Emeritus, University of Mississippi School of Dentistry International Consultant, Chiang Mai University Faculty of Dentistry

  2. Getting Started • Blank sheet of paper • Where do I begin? • How am I going to write a book? • Get organized • Divide thesis into chapters • University instructions

  3. Outline • Chapter Headings • Sub-headings • Figure Titles • References • Notes • Comments • Etc.

  4. Get Organized • Create files for each chapter of the thesis • Computer and paper files • Copies • Develop a timetable • Work with advisor • Deadlines • Starting dates

  5. Get Organized • Starting dates • “Look afar and see the end from the beginning.”

  6. Start Writing • First thing may not be in thesis • But write something • You will revise almost everything • As you write you will improve • Woodrow Wilson • Sorry for long letter • No time to write short one

  7. Things to remember • You are the expert • Examine unanswered question • Committee will be interested • Other scientists and academics • Even people outside your field • People without good English • You must provide detail • Others may want to repeat study

  8. Consult Advisor • Details on Thesis structure • Style • Etc.

  9. Personal Background • Irish - Born in Ireland • Dentist • Specialist in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology • Academic career mostly in USA Professor Emeritus, University of Mississippi • Now International Consultant, Faculty of Dentistry, CMU

  10. Language Background • Irish – Celtic – 24 years • English – Saxon – 53 years • Latin – Roman– 5 years • French – Romance – 4 years • Thai – Indian & Sanskrit – 4 months • Lao, Khmer, Vietnamese, Korean - ?? • Chinese, Japanese - pictographs

  11. Caveat • Caveat • – Latin v. cavere, to beware • Caveat- let him beware • I am not an English teacher • I may make mistakes

  12. English • Very precise language • Very difficult to learn • Many irregular verbs • Very little left to be understood • Almost everything must be stated • Many synonyms • Differences in meaning important

  13. English Constraints • Your backgrounds may vary • Time problem • Two sessions of three hours • Thesis • Manuscripts

  14. Books • Academic Writing for Graduate Students • Swales JM, Feak CB • University of Michigan Press 1994 • Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers • Zeiger M • McGraw-Hill 2000 • How To Write and publish a Scientific Paper. 4th ed • Day RA • The Oryx Press 1994

  15. Writing • No single right way to write scientifically • The books I mentioned take different approaches • The books may suit you differently

  16. Goal of Writing • Tell a story that readers can understand? • Quintillian, a Roman rhetoritician c 100 AD: • Clear writing is incapable of being misunderstood • That is the standard to use

  17. Writing • Thesis • Chapters • Paragraphs • Sentences • Words

  18. Writing • Thesis • Chapters • Paragraphs • Sentences • Words

  19. Words • Vocabulary • I must assume you have a good vocabulary • Parts of speech • I am going to assume you know these • But we will be discussing them as we go along • Nouns • Verbs • Adjectives • Adverbs • Prepositions • Conjunctions • Clauses • Phrases • Etc.

  20. Word Choice • Guidelines • Words in research papers should be: • Precise • Simple • Necessary • Use few if any abbreviations • Do not interchange words with similar but different meanings

  21. Word Choice • Guidelines • Words in research papers should be: • Precise • Simple • Necessary • Use few if any abbreviations • Do not interchange words with similar but different meanings

  22. Word ChoicePrecisewords • Renal blood flow was drastically compromised when the aorta was obstructed.

  23. Word ChoicePrecisewords • Renal blood flow was drastically compromised when the aorta was obstructed.

  24. Word ChoicePrecisewords • Renal blood flow was drastically compromised when the aorta was obstructed. • Compromise: to place at risk • Blood flow can be measured: it decreases or increases

  25. Word ChoicePrecisewords • Renal blood flow was drastically compromised when the aorta was obstructed. • Renal blood flow was drastically decreasedwhen the aorta was obstructed.

  26. Word ChoicePrecisewords • Renal blood flow was drastically decreased when the aorta was obstructed. • “Drastically” is imprecise • Blood flow can be measured • Show how much it was decreased

  27. Word ChoicePrecisewords • Renal blood flow was drastically decreased when the aorta was obstructed. • Renal blood flow was decreased by 80 % when the aorta was obstructed.

  28. Word ChoicePrecisewords • Renal blood flow was drastically compromised when the aorta was obstructed. • Renal blood flow was decreased by 80 % when the aorta was obstructed.

  29. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The short-circuit current remained increased for several hours.

  30. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The short-circuit current remained increased for several hours.

  31. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The short-circuit current remained increased for several hours. • “Several” is imprecise • How many is “several”? • Hours can be counted or calculated • Give the number of hours, the mean, or a range of hours

  32. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The short-circuit current remained increased for several hours. • The short-circuit current remained increased for five hours.

  33. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The change in short-circuit current produced by 10-5 M major basic protein was 85% of the maximal response to isoproterenol. A higher concentration of major basic protein would therefore probably have produced only a minimal further increase in the short-circuit current.

  34. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The change in short-circuit current produced by 10-5 M major basic protein was 85% of the maximal response to isoproterenol. A higher concentration of major basic protein would therefore probably have produced only a minimal furtherincrease in the short-circuit current.

  35. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The increase in short-circuit current produced by 10-5 M major basic protein was 85% of the maximal response to isoproterenol. A higher concentration of major basic protein would therefore probably have produced only a minimal further increase in the short-circuit current.

  36. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The cells were exposed to lipoprotein-deficient serum for 48 hours.

  37. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The cells were exposed to lipoprotein-deficient serum for 48 hours.

  38. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The cells were exposed to lipoprotein-deficient serum for 48 hours. • “Exposed to” is imprecise • How were they exposed? • Put in? Bathed in? Grown in?

  39. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The cells were exposed to lipoprotein-deficient serum for 48 hours. • “Put in” is not right because what is the mental image? Am I putting cells in the solution continuously for 48 hours? Not likely.

  40. Word ChoicePrecisewords • The cells were exposed to lipoprotein-deficient serum for 48 hours. • The cells were bathed in(or placed in) lipoprotein-deficient serum for 48 hours.

  41. Word Choice • Guidelines • Words in research papers should be: • Precise • Simple • Necessary • Use few if any abbreviations • Do not interchange words with similar but different meanings

  42. Word ChoiceSimplewords • “Simple” can be looked at in different ways. • “Put in” was too simple as well as imprecise • “Placed in” was still simple but more precise • “Bathed in” was still simple, but more formal or scientific.

  43. Word ChoiceSimplewords • Blood samples were drawn from the 5 female and 3 male children at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h following the initiation of dialysis.

  44. Word ChoiceSimplewords • Blood samples were drawn from the 5 female and 3 male children at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h following the initiation of dialysis.

  45. Word ChoiceSimplewords • Blood samples were drawn from the 5 female and 3 male children at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h following the initiation of dialysis. • Blood samples were drawn from the 5 girls and 3 boys at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h after the beginning of dialysis.

  46. Word ChoiceSimplewords • Blood samples were drawn from the 5 girls and 3 boys at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h after the beginning of dialysis. • Single digit numbers should be spelled out, except for values. • Sentences should not begin with numerals, no matter how many digits

  47. Word ChoiceSimplewords • Blood samples were drawn from the 5 female and 3 male children at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h following the initiation of dialysis. • Blood samples were drawn from the fivegirls and threeboys at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h after the beginning of dialysis.

  48. Word ChoiceSimplewords • Blood samples were drawn from the fivegirls and threeboys at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 hafter the beginning of dialysis. • Blood samples were drawn from the fivegirls and threeboys at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 hoursafter the beginning of dialysis.

  49. Word ChoiceSimplewords • Blood samples were drawn from the 5 female and 3 male children at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 h following the initiation of dialysis. • Blood samples were drawn from the fivegirls and threeboys at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 hoursafter the beginning of dialysis.

  50. Word ChoiceSimplewords • In the somatosensory system, for example, the different somatic sensory submodalities (touch, proprioception, nociception, and thermoregulation) result from the activation of distinct sensory cells that project to the specific regions of the brain via topographically segregated pathways.