Yesterday, I went to an outstanding talk by Simon Peyton Jones on how to write a scientific paper. It was directed towards people in CS writing a manuscript for a conference proceedings, but it was still broadly applicable. That got me thinking about other resources on writing research papers and how can we best help students learn to write about their research.
Much of what I do is look at small bits of writing and after a bit of reflection with a red pen (me) discuss the writing with the student. This process gets repeated many times. I've also found it useful to discuss the role that writing plays in research (and that good writing is important in science). For this, I've found the Whitesides paper invaluable. Students seem to put more stock in what's in print than what I say.
Here are now my two favorite resources for students. What are yours?
- Whitesides, G. M. "Whitesides' Group: Writing a Paper". Advanced Materials, 2004, 16, 1375-1377 (doi: 10.1002/adma.200400767).
- Jones, S. P. How to write a good research paper. On his website, you will find zipped powerpoint slides, the powerpoint slides in pdf format, and a video of him giving this talk in 2004. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/simonpj/papers/giving-a-talk/giving-a-talk.htm