Writing Tips

By Phil Roberts For Soils 201 Spring 2007 March 21st and 22nd

The Goal
The goal of your assignment was:

to familiarize yourselves with scientific literature to summarize your findings from an article to relate a piece of research to soil formation

Grading Format
Organization References Format Editing Content

Scientific Writing
Introduction – relate your topic to a large audience

Thesis is the last sentence of this paragraph Support – Use research to back your argument Conclusion – Restate the thesis with relevant supporting points References – In alphabetical order using the guidelines provided

References and Citations
This is how to cite your textbook:
Brady, Nyle C., and Ray R. Weil. 2004. Elements of the nature and properties of soils. 2nd ed. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

This is how to cite a journal article:
Moore, I.D., A.R. Ladson, and R. Grayson. 1991. Digital terrain modeling: A review of hydrological, geomorphological, and biological applications. Hydrol. Processes 5:3-30.

Internal Citations
1 author ……….. (Brady, 2004).
2 authors ……….. (Brady and Weil, 2004). 3 or more authors…… (Moore et al., 1991).
et al. is an abbreviation of et alia, which is Latin for „and others‟.

Internal Citations
Every Reference Should have an Internal Citation
if you didn‟t cite it, why should it go into the references list?

Citations should be used within the body of a paragraph
they help develop an idea and should not be used at the end of paragraphs

Don‟t Use Quotations!!
Any robot can copy and paste from another author.

Your task is to review current literature and summarize what you have found. Don‟t re-state another author‟s arguments. Make your own.

Did you follow the instructions?
Length requirement

MS Word Defaults (font, size, margins, etc.)

Both Grammar and Scientific Tone
The tone of these paper are very terse This not like writing for an English Class Sentences should be short and direct Avoid any use of emotional phrases/words

Use Metric … Everybody else does
Avoid 1st or 2nd Person

a verb

a noun

Common Errors


a contraction


blood suckers


Nonnever done

bean dip


Scientific Writing

Words to avoid:
That Alter Interestingly Surprisingly Effect Like Modify Significant Change Affect

Scientific Writing
Some Highlights: -In soil today there are five factors that make up soil formation. -Either there is an excess that allows materials from upper layers moving to lower soil layers. -There are five main soil forming factors and a few minor ones (like ghosts).

-With a combination of all the factors I‟ve talked about already topography effects yield of farmers, which is one area of great importance to them.

Scientific Writing
More Highlights
-Topography reminds me of an old saying “Sh*t always runs down hill (Phil Roberts)”. -This group is larger than 2 mila meters and include specimen like mice, moles, ants, earthworms, spiders and many more.

-Even though antibiotics you are going to give me an A are tightly adsorbed by clay particles, they are still biologically active and may influence the selection of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the terrestrial environment (Reganold, Roberts, et. Al, 2007).
-This can have an extreme effect on the soil.

The goal of your assignment was:

to familiarize yourselves with scientific literature to summarize your findings from an article to relate a piece of research to soil formation

Essay Assignment #2
Focus on a specific piece of literature

Use the searching tips from the website

Edit your papers carefully!!!

New Materials on Website:
ASA-CSSA-SSSA References Guidelines
this link was given in the assignment sheet

Tips for Searching– WSU library services staff When to Cite and Why – WSU library services staff

Plagiarism Tutorial– WSU library services staff
Class Website