Short Guide to Writing About Chemistry, A

Holly B. Davis / Julian F. Tyson / Jan A. Pechenik  
Total pages
December 2009
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Short Guide to Writing About Chemistry, A
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For chemistry or writing in chemistry courses.


This writing guide, by a team that includes a prominent chemist, a writing specialist with extensive experience in teaching science writing, and the author of Pearson’s best-selling Short Guide to Writing about Biology, teaches students to think as chemists and to express ideas clearly and concisely through their writing.


Providing students with the tools they'll need to be successful writers in college and their profession, A Short Guide to Writing about Chemistry emphasizes writing as a way of examining, evaluating, and sharing ideas. The text teaches students how to read critically, study, evaluate and report data, and how to communicate information clearly and logically.


Students are also given detailed advice on locating, evaluating, and citing useful sources within the discipline; maintaining effective laboratory notebooks and writing laboratory reports; writing effective research proposals and reports; and communicating information to both professional and general audiences.


  • Discusses all aspects of writing for chemists at all stages of training, including research reports, essay exams, term papers, research proposals, summaries, critiques, poster presentations, oral presentations, and letters of application for jobs and graduate programs.
  • Explains how chemists work, how they design studies, and how they think about the data they collect.
  • Provides detailed advice on working with data, presenting data, and interpreting the results of statistical analyses.
  • Gives detailed advice about locating useful sources of information, both in print and on the Web, and about avoiding plagiarism.
  • Offers extensive pedagogy in each chapter, including checklists and summaries which can easily be used by students to facilitate peer review and by instructors to generate grading rubrics.
  • Teaches students how to create effective oral presentations and poster presentations.

Table of Contents

  • Part I:   General Advice About Writing And Reading Chemistry
  • 1.  Writing: A Threshold Skill  
  • 2.  General Advice on Reading and Note-Taking        
  • 3.  Citing Sources and Listing References    
  • 4.  Revising     
  • 5.  Editing for Concision and ACS Style 
  • Part II:  Guidelines for Specific Tasks
  • 6.  Keeping Laboratory Notebooks
  • 7.  The Role of Lab Instruction
  • 8.  Writing Summaries and Critiques
  • 9.  Writing Essays and Review Papers  
  • 10.  Writing Research Reports The Nature of Scientific Research Components of a Research Report
  • 11.  Writing Research Proposals

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