Graduate students all the way up to faculty members will find nuggets of good advice in Designing and Writing Scientific Research Papers, a new book from AACC Press. This 123-page handbook guides authors at all career stages through the ins and outs of the scientific research process, starting with the development of hypotheses and ending with the publication of results.
The author, Thomas Annesley, PhD, has unique insights into the scientific publication process, having served for 6 years as a deputy editor of Clinical Chemistry. Annesley also is an emeritus professor of pathology at the University of Michigan.
This indispensable guide features new information and also updates previously published articles. “The book includes material in [past] Clinical Chemistry articles, plus new chapters and 55 learning exercises,” Annesley explains.
Because of his role as a Clinical Chemistry editor, Annesley has special insight into unmet needs within the community. “I received many comments from authors and educators that the material in the original articles would be even more valuable as a bound set that could be placed on a bookshelf and easily retrieved,” he says.
Also, because he teaches scientific writing, Annesley has found that “researchers often stumble not because their science is poor, but because they have not selected the correct journal to submit their work, or even have delayed writing simply because they do not know how to get started.” To address this, chapters in the book discuss selecting the proper journal, as well as writing systems to help new authors get started.
The book includes multiple-choice questions and case studies, too. “I believe that people learn more effectively (and educators teach more effectively) when they can use exercises or real-world problems to reinforce what they see in print,” he says.
Annesley says he hopes readers take away the message that “scientific research can be presented in a simple, clear, and cohesive manner,” he says. “The science may be complex, but the story the writer tells does not need to be complex.”
The best scientific articles, Annesley believes, integrate “all of the sections of a paper together, so that the reader can understand how the question or hypothesis was developed; why the question is important; how and why the experiments were designed to answer the question; how the results derive from the experiments; what the results show—and what they mean; and what contribution the work makes to science as a whole.”
Purchase the book online. The cost is $27 for AACC members and $34 for non-members.