Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Scientific Writting

Christopher Gillen in "The Data suggest" to craft a scientific paper is a good way to take existing data to compare predictions within a new experiment. Once it is in place, the data is opened to interpretations and critical analysis. To make the argument point clear, it is best to depict previous studies that answer theories and hypotheses and from which new interpretations aim to respond new hypotheses. Becuase this writing hinge on data, it is crucial to describe the method used during the information collection that would help readers to grade the method. In addition, since experiments give out numerical data, the writer's job is to present those findings in a way that any reader can understand the experiment. This could be achieved by comparing and supporting information. At the end of presenting the findings, it is important to mention what this experiment means and to do so it is best to apply certain verbs that provide the level of certainty in the findings. Moreover, in science is difficult to find space to disagree with the final conclusions, but it is possible to join the chat by pointing out a particular detail that could be exam further. Although it is not easy to disagree to the overall experiment, it is much flexible to contradict the techniques used within the experiment.

During this semester one has been applying some similar steps to bring an essay together. Consider, before any writing one had to summarize the article that will support that argument that one was trying to establish which is similar to describe previous studies. Another thing is that one analyzes any reading to present an argument that can be understood by any one as scientific writing do with its numerical findings. Probably, what defers from both is the flexibility to agree or disagree because science have little room to able wide disagreement while one's assingment in this period has a vast space for disagreeing with several topics.       

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The wonders of scientific writing

       Writing a paper is challenging, but writing a paper for the sciences is especially difficult. The first step of this writing process is to create a hypothesis from existing data and then compare it using new experimental data.  This creates the opportunity to critique previous findings and establish new ones. Next move is to describe the data. The 3 basic moves for describing data is to present the prevailing theory, explain methodologies, and summarize the finding. Summarizing the new data is essential because it allows a person to critically analyze the findings. After summarizing the data, you'll have o explain what the data means. In describing the data, be sure to pay attention to the verbs that connect data to interpretation. Next step in writing a scientific paper is to make your own argument. This is pretty much the point of the paper. The argument isn't so much about discrediting the previous findings, but examining their findings differently thus creating an opening to offer your own interpretation. In writing a scientific paper, you must anticipate objection. "The culture of science depends on vigorous debate in which scientists defend their own findings and challenge those of others- a give and take that helps improve science reliability" (Graff/Birkenstein 166).   As in any paper, stating why the paper matters is important.
       Writing for the sciences isn't all that different from what we've been doing this semester. When we began our blogs/essays we had to summarize what ever we read. In scientific writings, the author has to summarize the previous findings of his experiment. The next step for both a scientific paper and a regular paper is to make your own argument. In making an argument the author can agree, disagree, or agree but with a difference. Like a scientific paper, regular papers need to watch out for naysayers. The critique of opposing opinion can potentially destroy your paper.

Step by Step Moves to Write a Good Paper

       The chapter 14 “Analyze This. Writing in the Social Sciences” by Erin Ackerman is about how to write paper in the social sciences. The chapter demonstrates several aspects of how to improve your writing and gives the step by step examples. “The best way to do that is to bring your views into conversation with those expressed by others...” (176). The author in this chapter suggest that we, who write in the social sciences, should follow some basic moves and that includes “strong introduction and thesis, literature review, and the writer's own analysis, including presentation of data and consideration of implications” (177). The chapter also demonstrates and explains all this moves with provided examples. Basically our papers should follow specific template when writing in social sciences and to do so we have to have a conversation with the texts and our ideas. After we set up a main idea, claim or a thesis we should explain why it matters and why would the reader be interested in it, so to answer the question “so what? and who cares?”

      That is exactly what we've been practicing this semester in English 24 class. By reading chapters from the book “They say/I say” by Graff and Birkenstein, by writing the blogs following this exact steps and of course, by writing the essays throughout the semester. Writing with the provided templates and set up structure is very helpful, however, as Erin Ackerman wrote in chapter 14 that “Good writing in the social sciences, as in other academic disciplines, requires that you demonstrate that you have thought about what it is you think” (176).    

Social Sciences and a Guideline to a Great Paper

      Erin Ackerman writes in chapter fourteen "Analyze This" about the social sciences which is basically the study of people, their behaviors and interactions with other people. Ackerman discusses the important elements within writing in the social sciences. The first part is the introduction which introduces the thesis, and explaining what the following text is going to be about. Ackerman states in some instances it is important to discuss the "they say " and "I say" perspectives in the introduction. The literature review is the summary of everything that has already been said on the topic. This where they "they say" is discussed in more depth, but it is important to balance the viewpoints you are responding on while being clear on the points you are trying to make. The analysis is where you present the data and support your claim. "The social sciences uses data to develop and test explanations"(186). Ackerman explains the three most important things to do is to define the data, explain where you got the data, and then explain what has been done to the data. She also explains it is important to acknowledge other perspectives "by considering possible objections to your argument, you demonstrate that you've done your work"(189) and also "most important, you present your own argument as part of an ongoing conversation"(189). Lastly we need to talk about who should care about the research and why they should care at all.
      The writing in this field is not much different from the writing we've done this semester. The use of "they say, I say", presenting objections, using research to support our claim, and explaining within our text who should care is all very familiar. It helps to read this chapter to gain further knowledge on presenting these ideas in our papers. The only difference is that this chapter focuses more on aspect of social sciences and we have based our papers on our own claims. But in the end it was very helpful especially with the final paper where all this information is incorporated within our texts.

Pop Culture Writing

The article Writing In The Social Sciences starts off with a basic definition of what the “socials ciences” are. She then goes on the give some topics and very briefly tells us what the main focus/purpose of our writing for social sciences should be. She then goes out to give us a detailed outline of how the text should be formatted and goes on to explain each part even further all while adding examples, tips and other information to give us a deep understanding out what writing for the social sciences means. For example; The first section deals with the introduction and thesis and is titled “This paper challenges...” she gives examples and outlines of how to present two different arguments (agreement and disagreement) with the “they say” and “I say” perspectives. The rest of the piece outlines how to proceed while keeping your stance and ideas clear and supported through out the essay with even more templates.

This style of writing is the type we have been using in class. It makes sense since this is a pop culture class are rather then writing about concrete topics to an audience of scholars and doctors; we are instead writing about things that would fall into the social category (novels, movies, TV shows, music ect.) The scientific part comes when we further analyze our chosen topic. The format that Ackerman presents us with is pretty much the exact same format we have been using for our papers (especially the final) and to a lesser extent blogs in class. To me, this chapter was showing a basic “fill in the blank” essay format that one could then fill as needed with the content the other chapters of the book thought us to include. I don't think it differs all to much to be honest. I can say this chapter was a nice wrap up to the writing process I have been both in class and though the rest of the book.  

Ackerman vs Villarreal

          In Chapter 14 of the book They Say, I Say, the author, Erin Ackerman, covers how to write a strong introduction, how to focus your arguments in the body of the review, and how to sum up your analysis in the conclusion. She covers about "good" writing and needing more than just an opinion to help prove your argument. Ackerman breaks down writing an essay and all the essential parts like your claim, why we should we care, opinions, important information, and analysis.  On one of the first pages, she writes "Good writing in the social sciences, as in other academic disciplines, requires that you demonstrate that you have thought about what it is you think" (176). Although you may think you know what your writing about and what your claim may be, it is highly possible of changing. 
          This writing for social sciences is exactly what I've been doing my entire semester in my English 24 class.  Every essay we've written needed a claim, outside info, and strong facts to back up my argument whether it be about vampires, the wizard of Oz, or popular television. A little more than now since our final essay is in the process of beig written, I'm learning on how to strongly state my argument and validate the important features it holds and why it is so important in pop culture. Trying to prove to someone facts and your opinions is a very difficult thing to do. 

"Just the Facts, Ma'am."

Gillen, Christopher. “The Data Suggest: Writing in the Sciences.” They Say, I Say
                  2nd Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010. 156-174. Print.   

Facts, facts and more facts! In, “The Data Suggest: Writing in the Sciences”, we are told the facts obtained from data collected during scientific research should be the foundation of any writing about science. Here we have the first difference between writing we have done all semester and science based writing. In our class where we discuss pop culture, our first assignment was to complete a survey and give our opinion on what pieces of pop culture we found amusing. The ability to have and communicate an opinion and in some cases (as with the blogs), how creatively and fluidly we express that opinion is how we approach writing in our English class. Facts tend to be secondary and are only relevant in terms of how well they support our opinion. Also, the sources we used as evidence to support our claims were  usually from the opinion-based writings of someone else. In my final paper for class, for example, many of my citations are from academics that have opinions on the subject I am writing about and not necessarily any conclusive research that they have conducted. Rattling off facts based on empirical evidence is not however, the only component in scientific writing.

Explaining the methods used and the underlying scientific theories that support the data you’re writing about is another requirement in scientific writing. In our class, by contrast, when we discussed our favorite piece of music we did not also need to know what key that song was written in, or how to read sheet music in general. If we discussed a movie, we did not need to understand what camera angles were used in the scene being analyzed or how to break down the beats (a term some actors use when dissecting a script) of the dialogue we were quoting. Our aesthetic judgment was enough to give us some sense of ownership over what we were discussing in terms of pop culture. In science this is not the case. Some background knowledge of the subject you’re writing about is essential and must be demonstrated in your writing. If you are writing about data from research on a new diet pill, you must first discuss theories on how metabolic reactions take place in the body or explain how glucose is absorbed by cells at the molecular level before delving into how the new pill works and whether or not the data supports the drug manufacturer’s claims. Again, personal opinions are not at the center when presenting background information regarding relevant scientific theories.

The big question in writing for science is: does your opinion ever matter? Yes and no. If you are conducting your own scientific research then absolutely your opinion as a result of your data counts. You can utilize the conversation based style of They Say, I Say and show how you agree or disagree with previous studies based on the same theory. Templates like “X’s work leads to the question of _____, therefore, we investigated _______,” (167) allows you to answer the question “Who cares?” or “Why is this important?” for your reader while not deviating from the fact-based approach of scientific writing. If you’re not a researcher, like many of us students, interpreting the quality of the research you’re summarizing can be your opportunity to express your opinion. If the sample size used to conduct the research was too small to gather conclusive evidence or important experiments were excluded from the research in question (173), expressing those observations can strengthen your writing. Those observations however, must have some basis in science and cannot be based solely on personal beliefs.

Overall, writing for science is comparable to venturing off to outer space. You need to be well prepared and knowledgeable before taking off. Once you’re in orbit, you quickly realize many things: the universe is much bigger than you are, and in the grand scheme of things, the little world you come from, and your opinions in general, don’t count for very much.


Hello Ackerman, writing for the conversation.

Chapter fourteen of They Say/I Say explains that when writing for the social sciences “it is the subject of constant conversation and argument” because results of proceedings are not always ultimate. The writer, Erin Ackerman, a political science professor at John Jay College, acknowledges that there are always different ways to view what people do. Since most of the general disputes in the social sciences have been held for a long time, it is imperative that the critic is well educated on past findings and can accept that others may not choose to agree with their view. They must first provide the reader with background information, the conversation prior to entering it, and then formulate their response. Ackerman states “writing in the social sciences generally includes several core components: a strong introduction and a thesis, a literature review, and the writer’s own analysis, including presentation of data and consideration of implications.” (177) She provides different ways of presenting the “they say” and of how authors present their “I say”. One way of responding is by acknowledging what holds true and explaining why some things are questionable. In the literature review section of the piece the writer must reiterate important points from other sources that connect well with their own assertions. You must answer all questions and exhibit a deep familiarity with the text. Identify the argument and add details to further magnify the issue. Then in the analysis you expand on your opinion on the topic and explain why others should care, using data to support your assertions. Address the possibility of objections and contend a framework on how someone may want to further explore this issue.

         Writing for the social science does not seem different than the writing I have done on pop culture for this English 24 class. An important topic stressed this semester is learning to read and write for the conversation. Taking the data and information and putting it into perspective against other facts in order for one to come up with their own conclusion on the argument. Through the analysis we are looking to value an idea, creation, or opinion in the context presented by a critic. Writing for this class and writing for the social sciences use the same several components noted by Ackerman to prove an assertion. I responded to a disagreeing text by Myra Francis Taylor in my draft of “Through Haring’s Looking Glass” (tentative title.) using the same example she provides, to make well established connections between my primary source and naysayer. I decided to include one of Erin Ackerman’s templates at the end of my introduction in order to expand further on So What/Who Cares, which is a phrase mentioned constantly by both my professor and Ackerman. (the template was: Ultimately what is at stake here is ___.) I have a framework from my conclusion based upon the idea of further exploring the issue, another idea I got from reading Chapter fourteen. Writing in the field of the social sciences is imminently reflective of the writing we have done as a whole this semester.