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Scientific Writing in English for Chinese Authors

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  1. Scientific Writing in Englishfor Chinese Authors National Pingtung University of Science and Technology ******************* Professor Robert L. Youngs Professor Hsiu Hwa Cathy Wang Mr. John A. Youngquist

  2. Bob • Professor emeritus, Forestry & Forest Products, VPI&SU, Blacksburg, VA, USA • Former Director, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI, USA • Former Coordinator IUFRO Forest Products Division • Former Editor, Wood & Fiber Science

  3. Cathy • Professor, Wood Science & Design, NPUST • Coordinator, IUFRO Forest Products Division • Researcher and teacher in wood structure and paper science • Visiting scientist at PAPRICAN

  4. John • Forest products consultant, Madison, WI, USA • Former researcher & research leader at FPL in wood-based composites • Former Coordinator, IUFRO Forest Products Division

  5. A New Adventure • Distance learning • Now increasing in use • Technologies and techniques improving • I’ll be with you by teleconference and narrated slides. I’ll be there in person later in the course.

  6. Course Content • Combination of EFL and writing • Scientific writing includes a broad array of academic writing • To learn to write well, you must write, write, write

  7. Suggestions for improved English writing • Not personal criticism • Designed to be helpful • Congratulations on your academic progress! Keep up the good work!

  8. Introduction • Exchange between Virginia Tech and NPUST • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): Agreement for exchanges and collaboration in instruction and research • Presentation and interpretation • Present as narrated PowerPoint slides • Mandarin interpretation of narration • E-mail communication of assignments, homework, and examinations

  9. What is scientific writing? • Correspondence (inform or query) • Letter • Memo • E-mail • Proposal (persuade) • Strategy for solving a problem • Instructions (inform) • How to do something • Presentation (inform or persuade) • Report, thesis, dissertation

  10. Writing a research report • Focus of this course • First emphasis on writing a summary • Description of research • Interpretation and significance of results • Publication • Language clear and understandable • An essential part of scientific work • “Good writing is the key to sound thinking.” (George Marra)

  11. Justification • Increasing publication in English language journals • Broader readership & knowledge of work • Basic differences between Mandarin and English • Common mistakes in writing or speaking English

  12. Origin of the Course • Editor of Wood & Fiber Science • Papers from Chinese authors • Many with good science but poorly communicated in English • Two way benefits • Broader readership for your papers and improved publication options • Broader knowledge of your work in the field • Virginia Tech / NPUST MOU

  13. Procedures • Lectures in English by Youngs from Blacksburg • Interpretation in Mandarin by Wang in Pingtung • Demonstrations of good and bad writing • Short quizzes on points of discussion • Writing assignments -- sent to Youngs electronically & returned electronically • Youngquist to assist in reviewing writing and making suggestions for improvement

  14. Expectations • After completing the course successfully, should be able to: • Prepare a 300 word summary of a research project in accurate, fluent English (1 page, double spaced). • Organize a scientific paper according to internationally accepted format • Prepare a scientific paper using clear, accurate English

  15. General • Regular class attendance • Prompt attention to writing quizzes and assignments • Earnest effort to write well and correct mistakes • Raise any questions with instructors

  16. Overall Approach • Combination of English as a Second Language (ESL) (EFL) and scientific writing • Scientific writing is difficult and calls for precise use of any language • Most problems are incorrect use of English due to differences from Mandarin • ESL courses usually do not deal with scientific English

  17. ESL Emphases • Subject-verb agreement • English verb forms • Special verb problems • Using articles appropriately • Potential trouble spots • Avoiding pitfalls of grammar and punctuation

  18. Degrees of Error • Noticeable • The research included a series of tests to measure principle properties of the material. • Confusing • The solution was added to the liquid in the beaker as heating took place in an oven in the analytical laboratory of the chemistry building when classes resumed after summer break of two months in mid-September. • Misleading • Walking down the street, a house came into view

  19. Writing Emphasis • Learn writing by writing • Frequent writing assignments • A cube rests beside a larger block. Write a 30-word description of how you would put the cube on top of the block. Tell what constraints you apply to be able to do that.

  20. Send homework and exams to: