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科研论文导师不传授的细节

时间:2010-08-18 10:30:26  来源:  作者:

当审稿人拿起文章的时候,总体印象起了很大的作用。审稿人的心理定势就是判断“过”还是“不过”,没有第三种选择。如果他的印象是“不过”,就反复找理由挑毛病。所以要想通过,首先要写得好,让审稿人挑不出毛病。而如何写得好?很多细节导师是不会传授的。悟性非常重要!以前的硕士生导师的科技英语写作水平非常好,有时候她修改别人的文章后,会把修改文章的思路和文章的写法传授给我。后来读博士的时候,导师的写作水平就更棒了,他虽然没有条条框框地指导,但是从反复修改文章的红笔文字中,我也悟到了很多。现在我来分享一些我体会出来的别人很少传授的写作细节。

1)写作的时候一般不要描述发现科学事实的曲折故事。可以写我们受别人某个工作的启发发现了我们的东西,然是不要说:“我们首先叫某个学生去做,没有做出来。后来我们亲自改进了方法,终于做出来了。”不要说:“为了确定这个物质,我们查阅了大量书籍,从来没有报道过。于是我们到图书馆找了其它文献,发现了归属。”不要暗示“没有功劳也有苦劳”,而要直奔主题。

这个要点也许显而易见,但是其实不然。在读文章的时候经常可以看到这样的不妥当的说法。我以前读博士第一次做报告的时候,最后一张薄膜是一堆杂志的封面。我对听众说,为了做这个年度考核报告,为了做我的科研,我看了这些杂志三百篇文献。会后,导师对我说:“不要让别人看到你的汗水,要用科学结果来吸引别人。即使你绕了很大弯子得到最后的结果,你也要轻松地讲,让别人感到你很聪明。”

根据How to Write a Successful Science Thesis (Wiley-VCH)一书p. 98, "Experimental work is by definition a journey into the unknown, fraught with detours and dead ends, but all such obstacles are basically irrelevant from a scientific standpoint. Look upon your dissertation--as you would any other research report--not as a memoir documenting and explaining your every activity, but instead as a proclamation of a set of new insights. How you achieved your results may perhaps play some role in your mentor's appraisal of your efforts, but otherwise it will be of interest only to the extent that certain intimate details may be critical from a methodological standpoint."

2)少用陈词滥调。很多很多所谓写作秘诀的网上资料都提供一些句法,但是其实很多都是陈词滥调,不提供任何信息,可以高度精简。以下是我给一篇文章审稿的片断意见:"[7] Another reason on why this paper is long and somewhat distracting is that you frequently use words such as "It was found that" (p. 2), "It is worth noting that…" (p. 7), "It was observed that …" (p. 8), "It was observed that…" (p. 9), "It was noted that…" (p. 12), "We observed that…" (of course, it's you who make the observation!), "It was noticed that" (p. 13), "It was interesting to see that…", "It was observed that…", "It was concluded that" (p. 15), "It was found that (p. 17)".”

有时候用了陈词滥调反而帮了倒忙。以下是我给另外一篇文章的审稿意见片断:"[10] Throughout the text, for two or three times (e.g., line 11 of p. 12), the authors always wrote "it is not surprising that...". The intention of the authors was to justify their data, to say that their data are "normal". However, if the authors always say "it is not surprising", why should the reader care unsurprising results? Isn't it better to use "it is justified that..." or "it is reasonable that..."?”

为了证明我说的这些是有道理的,我举How to Write a Successful Science Thesis (Wiley-VCH)一书p. 39,"Avoid sentences that are unnecessarily complex and entangled, or run on interminably. Problems of the latter sort often have their origin in 'that' constructions:

Example 4-8: It is well established that... (of course!)

One can assume that... (presumably!)

From this result it follows that... (= thus, hence, therefore)

We must not take it for granted that ... (= unlikely)

Note that the examples above are followed in parentheses by a word or words with the potential to head the offending sentence off in a more promising direction. Sometimes a single well-chosen word is able to replace an entire phrase, simultaneously eliminating the need for at least one punctuation mark. Equally important, a remodeling in this sense often permits the true message of the sentence to migrate from an awkward subordinate clause to the main clause, where it belongs."

3) 鼓励恰当地用主动语气。以前很多老师都说写科研论文要用被动语气。其实,大家去读Chemical Communications杂志,每一篇文章都读,发现大多数的三页文章里面至少有几个主动句,有的有十几个主动句。什么情况用被动句,什么情况用主动句?答案是大多数情况用被动句,特别是描述实验方法。但是有的情况下用主动句有画龙点睛的效果。仔细读Chemical Communications杂志,发现的常见主动句是"Herein, we report...", "We propose that..", "To further check/demonstrate this hypothesis, we designed further experiment by...", "We believe that...", "To see whether ... is due to..., we did further experiments...".可见主动句有几种,第一种是在引言中说我们发现了什么;第二中是说我们认为什么,是提建议的;第三种是说为了证明什么,我们做了进一步的实验。有了这些主动句,文章就更加神采飞扬了。

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