María Paz Oyarzún, scientific editor and PhD in Natural Resources Science, explained the keys to correctly writing an article on inventions, discoveries, and original ideas.
Writing a manuscript correctly can challenge even the most brilliant minds, who know that a scientific experiment is not complete until its results have been published and understood.
“If an investigation is not communicated, it does not exist. If you do research, you have to communicate it so that it can have an impact because that is how science is built; based on the work that others have done,” said María Paz Oyarzún, the scientific editor and PhD in Natural Resources Sciences, during a workshop she offered to academics from the Universidad Católica del Maule (UCM).
“Researchers sometimes have a hard time because they are used to academic language, and to certain academic practices that they have to put aside when writing manuscripts in order to speak in a more plain and direct language, one understandable by anyone, at least in the main message,» she said.
Regarding the mistakes that usually occur when writing an article, the expert highlighted redundancy as the most common problem. «We often express in a paragraph what we could say in a sentence,» she said.
To organize ideas and save time and effort, there is a methodology that meets the criteria of the scientific community and specialized magazines. The formula includes, among other components, a clear title, an introductory paragraph, the discussion of results, and a conclusion.
“The model facilitates writing. In some ways it is very similar to the journalistic style because there are sections where you must answer what, when, where, how, and why. In other aspects it is different. For example, here in the introduction it starts backwards, from the most general to the most specific and important,» she asserted.
The final part of the manuscript, as she explained, must take up specific data, to move towards general ideas, in tune with the main message.
“We say that the model has the shape of an hourglass. It is very important to be very clear about the main message, which corresponds to the idea embodied in the title”, she pointed out.
The activity headed by the expert, Master in Scientific, Medical and Environmental Communication from Pompeu Fabra University in Spain, was organized by the Department of Research in University Teaching of the UCM (DIDU, by its acronym in Spanish).