Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Scientific writing…

Might actually be my favorite type of writing now… (Plot twist I know, but keep in mind that I really, really, really hate writing in general, so it doesn’t take much for a type of writing to be my favorite). The hardest part of writing for me is always coming up with what I want to say. Like Nicole Z.  wrote in her first blog post, I often stare at blank word documents wasting a lot of time and not making any progress before beginning any writing assignment (I may or may not have just spent 30 minutes “thinking” about what to write for this blog post…) But once I have an idea of what I want to write about, the rest is smooth-sailing (Not really, but at least I’m able start making progress). 

Me writing my Mod2 report.

Although scientific writing does require some creativity when crafting the story, realizing that the story should be data-driven (even when n = 2 or 4) was the most important thing I realized while writing the Mod2 report! I first wrote my methods section in the order that I did the experiments, which helped me remember everything I did in the module. Next, I tried to finish the introduction that I started for the M2D7 homework. I began my introduction by giving background information on NHEJ and mentioning how NHEJ inhibitors could potentially be used with chemotherapeutic agents to treat some cancers. But as I tried to finish my introduction, I realized that I had no idea how my research related to cancer, and I thought I would have to scrap what I had and start over.
Luckily I looked at the Mod2 report rubric and noticed that the results section is worth 50% of the entire assignment! This led me to begin my results section kind of early (like the Thursday before the Mod2 report was due), and I’m very glad I did. After doing six student’s t-tests and a making a surviving cell fraction plot, I actually realized what claims I could make with my data, and I crafted my story around these claims. I then rearranged my methods into what is hopefully the most logical order to tell my story, finished the results section, and was even able to connect my results back to potential cancer therapies in the introduction. Writing the rest of the report was definitely not easy, but at least I knew what I wanted to say.

Some other things I learned along the way:
·         Office hours are the best. I went to office hours at least four times, and it was time well spent!
·         You can always start earlier. Although I am fairly proud of how I managed my time for the Mod2 report, I submitted it at 4:55pm on Monday and would have loved to spend more time editing.
·         Also, I finally learned that all captions and methods subsections should begin with introductory sentences (Yay!).

I can’t make any claims about how well I did on the Mod2 report, but learning how to make the writing process a little bit less dreadful is invaluable! And hopefully, I will apply what I have learned in my future scientific writing endeavors.

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