Scientific Communication



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Scientific Communication

  • Oswald Van Cleemput
  • Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
  • Ghent University
  • Belgium
  • Oswald.Vancleemput@Ugent.be
  • http://www.isofys.UGent.be

Content

  • Introduction
  • Scientific versus popular science writing
  • 3. General information on science writing
  • 4. Writing structure
  • 5. A good paper ?
  • 6. Poster
  • 7. General suggestions for oral presentations
  • 8. (Literature) review
  • 9. Abstract
  • 10. Group communication
  • 11. Proposal
  • 12. Other items
  • 13. Nice to cite ...
  • 14. Suggested readings

1. INTRODUCTION

  • Why publishing ?
  • Ph.D. Degree??
  • Get funding ?
  • Get promotion?
  • ??????
  • NO !! Editors, reviewers and the research community don’t care about these reasons

Science development

  • Know the existing knowledge
    • reading/reviewing
  • Develop research
    • present data
  • upgrade/increase existing knowledge
    • reading/reviewing

To Be Read/To Be Heard/To Be Seen

  • Know the target public
  • Proper channel
  • journal/bulletin/audience
  • Proper language

Research marketting

  • Communication …. Is an essential part of working in the field of sciences, in the industry, in conditions of any transfer of knowledge….
  • It is vital for science to progress
  • It is vital for your own career

Research marketting

  • Communication of science is as important to the scientific process as the design and conduct of the experiment itself !!!!!!!!!

Research without marketting

  • Bar without beer
  • river without water
  • zoo without animals
  • meeting without people
  • 2. SCIENTIFIC VERSUS POPULAR SCIENCE WRITING

Communication avenues

  • Research communications
  • research journals
  • research reviews
  • conference papers
  • theses
  • book chapters
  • annual reports
  • newsletters
  • project proposals
  • lectures
  • leaflets
  • posters
  • Extension and popular communications
  • extension manuals
  • newspaper reports
  • magazine articles
  • radio broadcasts
  • films and video
  • audiovisual shows
  • practical demonstrations
  • cartoons
  • photographs
  • Written
  • Verbal

Types of written Communications

  • Example
  • Transmittal of document
  • Annual summary
  • Recommendation
  • Instrumentation
  • Exercise/duties
  • Summary for ley audience
  • Journal article
  • Document
  • Memo
  • Report
  • Letter
  • Manual
  • Description
  • Popular article
  • Scientific paper

Scientific versus popular science writing

  • Scientific paper
  • Popular science article
  • Different target group
  • Different organization
  • Different language, layout
  • New knowledge
  • Enables others to repeat
  • Logical and clear IMRAD
  • Technical terms
  • Tables, figures
  • References
  • Knowledge review
  • Arouse interest
  • Teach:Influence the reader
  • Illustrations as tool to read
  • and understand
  • Examples

Scientific versus popular science writing

  • New research results:
  • written
  • scientific journal
  • standard way: IMRAD
  • peer review
  • conference paper: same rules, no peer review
  • oral
  • poster
  • Communication to general public: popular science publishing, presentations

Writing popular science

  • Write at the level of the readers’ previous knowlege and experience
  • Not many details
  • Information is put in context
  • ABC: accurate, brief, clear
  • Simplify results; no details: e.g. only means, no S.D. or R2
  • Minimize materials and methods
  • Pay attention to attractive title, preamble, headings, visuals, layout

Gunning Fog Index

  • A test designed to measure the readability of a sample of English writing (Robert Gunning, 1952)
  • The years’ formal education a reader needs to understand a text easily the first time
  • Texts for a wide audience generally require a Fog Index of less than 12; the ‘ideal’ Fog index is 7 or 8
  • University people arrive quickly at 18-20

Gunning Fog Index

  • Example
    • Newsweek: 10
    • Reader’s Digest: 9
    • Popular Novels: 8-10
    • Gossip magazines: 7-8
    • Comic Books: 6
    • Scientific article: 18-20

Gunning Fog Index

  • How to calculate ?
  • Count the number of words
  • Count the number of sentences
  • Count the number of big words (3 or more syllables)
  • Calculate average sentence length (words/sentences)
  • Calculate the percentage of big words (big words/words)
  • Add the avg sentence length to % big words
  • Multiply by 0.4
  •  FOG INDEX

Gunning Fog Index

  • Worldwide, grasslands cover about 3500 million hectares, more than the double of arable land. On the European continent it is the opposite : only 180 million ha of grassland for 300 million ha of arable land. Grasslands have first of all a pure agricultural destination. They serve as primary food for wild herbivores and domesticated ruminants. Now, grasslands, being a mixture of different grass species, legumes and herbs, act as carbon sinks, erosion preventives, birds directive areas, habitat for small animals, nitrogen fixation source, etc…In this situation grasslands are in perfect harmony and in balance with the environment. Since mankind, human activities have influenced grassland management. The most important are breeding activities since the early thirties. Improvement of yield and quality was not only in favour of agriculture, but also a lot of grass species were bred for amenity purposes, parks and sport fields.

Gunning Fog Index

  • The number of words 144
  • The number of sentences 9
  • Big (hard) words (3 or more syllables) 41
  • Average sentence length (words/sentences) 16
  • Percentage of big words (big words/words) 28,47%
  • Avg sentence length + % big words 16 + 28
  • Multiply by 0.4
  • (16 + 28) x 0.4 = 18
  • Result: the text is for readers with at least 18 years of formal education

3. GENERAL INFORMATION ON SCIENTIFIC WRITING

The research process

  • Question
  • What is known ?
  • Formulate problem
  • Hypothesis
  • Project plan
  • Experiment
  • Collect data
  • New knowledge
  • Interpretation,
  • conclusion
  • Analyse, Results
  • Inform others

The research process

  • Question
  • What is known ?
  • Formulate problem
  • Hypothesis
  • Project plan
  • Experiment
  • Collect data
  • New knowledge
  • Interpretation,
  • conclusion
  • Analyse, Results
  • Scientific paper
  • Introduction
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Materials and
  • Methods
  • Inform others

Inviting people for dinner

  • Inviting people for dinner
  • Decide what to offer
  • Shopping list and buy
  • Prepare food; follow recipe
  • Serve attractively
  • Doing research
  • Research plan; objectives
  • Gathering data
  • Analyse data
  • Communicate attractively

Science communication

  • Two parts:
  • New knowledge
  • Summary of present state of knowledge (state-of-the-art)
  • Delivery aspect
  • Accurate and Audience-adapted
  • Brief
  • Clear
  • Receiving aspect
  • Know the frames of reference of the acceptor
  • Adapting to the audience

Science communication

  • Effective communication
  • Who ?
  • specialists in your field, wider group, fellow students, public
  • Why ?
  • not just for merits, to add to the knowledge pool, to teach, to inform, to persuade, to push for development
  • What ?
  • take-home messages, new items, review of topic, take into account prior knowledge, expectations, questions, technical language
  • How ?
  • to satisfy the audience’s needs, how will your information be used
  • Kinds of scientific communication
  • Reports
  • Journal articles
  • Proposals
  • Theses
  • Abstracts
  • Speeches or slide presentations
  • Poster presentations
  • Books
  • Chapters
  • Review papers
  • Group communications
  • Kinds of scientific communication
  • Reports
  • Catch-all term; includes everything from a laboratory account of a simple experiment to progress report and group reports on entire research programmes
  • Master studies / Ph.D. studies
  • Thesis proposal, thesis or dissertation
  • Scientists’ responsability
  • Grant proposal, journal article, abstract, slide presentation, poster
  • Kinds of scientific communication
  • Common characteristics
  • simplicity
  • precision
  • clarity
  • always honesty
  • A few examples:
  • don’t let technology dictate what constitutes good communication
  • don’t accept graphs which are to complex
  • technology should not dilute clarity
  • study first good communication and then make the software work for you

General rules for good Technical and Scientific Writing

  • If it can be interpreted in more than one way, it’s wrong
  • Know your audience, know your subject, know your purpose
  • If you cannot think of a reason to put a comma in, leave it out
  • Keep your writing clear, concise and correct

Getting started in writing

  • Analyse your aims and audience
  • Make tables and graphs
  • Decide what messages to communicate
  • Make an outline
  • Write a draft – start with the easiest part
  • Revise and edit
  • Think of the questions: Who-Why-What-How

Structure the text

  • Examples of structure
    • Chronological order (development over time)
    • Order of interest/importance (most important first)
    • Cause and effect (or the opposite)
    • Comparison/contrast

4. Writing structure

Construction of papers

  • Component
  • Conference
  • Journal
  • Opening sentence
  • Introduction
  • Methods and results
  • Discussion
  • Closing sentence
  • Sentence to make an impact
  • 40% of total (time)
  • 40% of total (time)
  • 20% of total (time)
  • Clear resumé or main point
  • None
  • 5-10% of total (space)
  • 40-60% of total (space)
  • 30-60% of total (space)
  • None
  • Structure

Construction of papers

  • Component
  • Conference
  • Journal
  • Ideas
  • Repetition
  • Length
  • Accessory material
  • Humour
  • Style
  • References
  • Acknowledgement
  • One every 3 minutes
  • Highly desirable
  • To finish just before time
  • Slides, memory stick
  • Desirable, not essential
  • Conversational, simple
  • The least possible
  • The least possible
  • No limit
  • Very little
  • As short as possible
  • Only relevant tables, figures
  • Undesirable
  • Formal, simple
  • Required number for sound arguments
  • Brief, but adequate
  • Subject matter

Make an outline

  • Structured order of headings and subheadings – with keywords – chart
  • A working outline – a tool to help
  • Discuss your outline with others (co-author, supervisor, colleague ...)
  • IMRAD
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results and
  • Discussion
  • A good title
  • Informative: describe the subject
  • Specific: differentiate your research from other research
  • Concise: say only what is necessary (key-word index !!)
  • ‘Two-part’ title
    • New technologies for constructions: A novel approach
    • Technologies for constructions: A review
    • No numbers (I, II, III …. 1, 2, 3 …)

A good title

  • Avoid
  • Observations of ...
  • Studies of ...
  • Investigations ...
  • Examinations of ...
  • A note on ....
  • Examples
  • Effects of ...
  • Influence of ...
  • Estimation of ...
  • Prediction of ...
  • Impact of ...
  • Modelling of ...
  • Evidence of ...
  • Control of ...
  • Measurement of ...
  • Use of ...

Abstract

  • See further

Introduction

  • Motivate and justify the research
  • Give a state-of-the-art
    • Summarize relevant literature
  • State what has NOT been done
    • Where is the gap in the literature
  • State the objectives or hypothesis
    • What’s the point of this research ?

Introduction

  • Motivation and justification
  • Objectives
  • Gap

Materials and methods

  • Give a clear, complete description of all methods used (biological, chemical, analytical, statistical ….)
    • Organize the methods logically, by tasks
    • Use specific and informative language
  • Include enough information, but not more than necessary, so that the research can be repeated

Results

  • Summarise and illustrate the findings logically with tables and figures
  • Figures & Tables: see other course

Results

  • Do not repeat data from the tables or figures in the text
    • Mean yield for cultivar A is X and mean weight for cultivar B is Y
  • Do integrate data with the text
    • Mean yield of cultivar A was higher than mean yield of cultivar B
  • Do not interpret the data or draw conclusions in the ‘results’ section

Discussion

  • Interpret results
    • Mean yield of cultivar A was higher than mean yield of cultivar B, which means that…, which is consistent with …, which suggests that …
  • Support your conclusions with comparisons and contrasts from the literature
  • Recognize importance of ‘negative’ results
  • Describe limitations of your research

Conclusions or Implementations

  • Explain the main results of the research in terms of the objectives
  • Describe what the results mean for the respective discipline
  • Give implications in nonjargon language

Conclusions or Implementations

  • Conclusions and impact

Acknowledgements

  • General acknowledgement
    • Institution, research project, source of funds
  • Specific acknowledgement
    • Colleagues or technicians
    • Reviewer
  • Dedication

References in the text

  • Follow the instructions of the journal (see website)
    • Name (year) or (Name, year) or Name (number) or (Name, number)
  • Check carefully
    • All references in the text are listed
    • All references listed are in the text

Appendix

  • Provides supplemental material
  • numerical examples
  • details of analytical procedures
  • novel computer programmes
  • mathematical proofs

5. A GOOD PAPER ?

Twelve steps to develop an effective first draft of your manuscript

  • Summary
  • http://www.sfedit.net

An effective first draft (1)

  • Consolidate all the information
    • Have all data, references, drafts of tables, figures
  • Target a journal
    • Look for the focus of the targeted journal
  • Start writing
    • Don’t worry for incomplete sentences, incorrect grammar, have no distractions, main points and ideas should be captured, have a plan

An effective first draft (2)

  • Write quickly
    • Keep going, leave gaps, space, if necessary
  • Write in your own voice
    • Helps to say what you mean more precisely
  • Write without editing
    • Only at the end, wasted time
  • Keep the plan of your outline
  • Write the paper in parts
    • Treat each section as a mini essay

An effective first draft (3)

  • Put the first draft aside
    • At least one day; then you are another person; a day or more between creation and critique helps
  • Revise it
    • Do it several times till no more improvement
    • Does each sentence make sense?
    • In longer sentences: keep track of the same subject
    • In longer paragraphs: one single idea or break it up

An effective first draft (4)

  • Revise for clarity and brevity
    • Look for clearness per sentence and paragraph; most sentences have about 15-20 words; most paragraphs 150 words; avoid necessary words
  • Be consistent
    • Different co-authors: no different style; be consistent; first author does the final editing

A good paper ???

  • The attractiveness of the title cannot be overemphasised
  • Formulate a good hypothesis: there must be a reason for your doing !
  • The primary aim of writing a paper is
  • to have it read

A good paper ??? Make your writing easier to read

  • Use accurate, appropriate, familiar words
  • Simple words:
    • Utilize → use
    • Commence → begin
    • finalize → finish
    • approximately → about
  • Avoid jargon
  • Avoid passive verbs; use active verbs
    • Houses were constructed by people from Mekelle
    • People from Mekelle constructed houses

A good paper ??? Make your writing easier to read

  • Use strong verbs
    • We performed an analysis of the data
    • We analyzed the data
  • Tighten your writing (eliminate redundant words)
    • The prior literature
    • 10 out of 12
    • During the course of the experiment
    • Already existing
    • Different alternatives
    • Completely eliminate
    • Repeat again

A good paper ??? Make your writing easier to read

  • Tighten your writing (eliminate waste words)
    • Words that say nothing
      • It is interesting to note that ...
      • It should be pointed out that ...
      • It is significant that ...
      • In the presence of ...
  • Substitution of sentences by a word
    • Due to the fact that .....because
    • Prior to the start of ..... before
    • On a regular basis .... regularly
    • A second point is .... secondly
    • Would seem to suggest .... suggests

A good paper ??? Make your writing easier to read

  • Substitution of sentences by a word
    • Despite the fact that ....although
    • In the event that .... if
    • In close agreement with .... agrees with
    • It seems likely that ... likely
    • The majority of ... Most
  • Use “to” in stead of “-ing”
    • Regression was used for analysing the data
    • Regression was used to analyse the data

A good paper ??? Checklist for editing

  • Has your draft paper been read and critisized by a colleague in your/other field, a person fluent in English ?
  • Did you select the proper journal and did you copy the instructions to authors ?
  • Using the format of (2); did you check the references (list and text)
  • Did you revise the manuscript ? Title, summary, headings, etc...

A good paper ??? Checklist for editing

  • 5. Recheck your references; see original reference; agreement between list and text
  • 6. Proof-read the final manuscript for:
    • Omissions from the original text
    • Typing errors, spelling, formulae, tables, graphs, numbering

Where to publish ?

  • Factors to consider: quality of the work, extend of the work, interest to others
  • First select a journal and than write; look for the different scopes of journals; see the journals used in your reference list.
  • Think of: your audience, prestige of the journal, availability, impact factor, publication rhythm, likelihood of acceptance
  • Look for instructions to authors and follow them throughout
  • Look at some recent issues of the selected journal

Next step: submission

  • Editor checks the paper with the scope of the journal
  • Sends it to (usually) two referees (scientific merit)
  • Peer review: helps the editor to decide upon ... and helps the author to improve its paper
  • ...acceptable; acceptable with (minor, major) corrections; non-acceptable

Next step: revising the paper

  • Do it promptly; reply politely and completely
  • Include a document wherein it is clear what you changed
  • If you don’t agree with the comments of the referees: explain why and find a compromise
  • If accepted: celebrate the publication of your paper
  • Check very carefully the proofs
  • Review process
  • Research
  • manuscript
  • Referee 1
  • Referee 2
  • Chief-editor
  • Author
  • Chief-editor
  • Journal
  • Proof reading
  • article
  • accept as it is
  • minor revisions
  • major revisions
  • reject
  • Under review
  • accepted
  • In press
  • published
  • Journal – chief-editor

Review procedure

  • Written report
  • Questionaire
    • Fitting within the scope of the journal
    • Soundness and correctness
    • Novelty
    • Structure
    • References
    • Language
    • .....

THE BEST WAY TO LEARN SCIENCE IS TO WRITE SCIENCE

  • Janssen, Denmark

6. POSTER PRESENTATION

When a poster or a presentation ?

  • Presentation
  • Time restrictions
  • Limited time for discussion
  • Varied audience
  • Difficult to keep attention
  • Many distractions
  • Poster
  • Time for discussion
  • Specific audience with high level of interest
  • Personal contact
  • Use as display
  • The situation

When a poster or a presentation ?

  • Presentation
  • More formal; contact one to many
  • Speaker standing; audience sitting
  • Moderator helps to introduce, buffer the audience, keep time
  • Poster
  • More formal; contact one to few
  • Both speaker and audience standing
  • No moderator, direct contact, no buffer
  • The situation

When a poster or a presentation ?

  • Poster
  • Materials: poster, tape …
  • Know your subject
  • Prepare answers to likely questions
  • Get ready early; construct poster, review and revise
  • Presentation
  • Materials: slides, disc, memory stick
  • Know your subject
  • Prepare formal speech, slides …
  • Get ready early; practice, review and revise
  • Preparation

When a poster or a presentation ?

  • Presentation
  • Time limit formalized
  • Audience more captured
  • Declamation, short questions
  • Handouts possible; less likely to exchange addresses
  • Poster
  • Time limit flexible
  • Audience is free
  • Chiefly question/answer
  • Handouts helpful, easy to exchange addresses

Your audience ?

  • Those who work in the same area and who are familiar with your work
  • Those who work in a similar area
  • Those who work in a different area

You as presenter

You as presenter

  • Do
  • Know your subject
  • Nice appearance
  • Be friendly
  • Be PROFESSIONAL
  • Display your photo
  • Have business cards
  • Hand carry poster
  • Don’t
  • Be distracted
  • Be discouraged by lack of audience
  • Forget pins, tape …
  • Leave your poster
  • Ship your poster

ABC of Poster presentation

  • Audience
    • Brief
      • Clear
        • Devoted
          • Enthousiastic
  • 7. GENERAL SUGGESTIONS FOR ORAL PRESENTATIONS

Presentations

  • How to communicate ?
  • Composition of the slides
  • Tips and tricks

Presentations

  • What is important in a presentation ?
    • Words
    • Voice
    • Body language

Presentations

  • The most important = NON verbal
  • Words 7%
  • Voice 38%
  • Body 55%

Presentations

  • Structure the presentation
  • scenario
  • sequence of data, idea
  • presentation
  • Preparation !
  • presentation 20%
  • preparation 80%

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • 1 6 6
  • 1 idea per slide
  • 6 words per line
  • 6 lines per slide

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • 166
  • Simple
  • Clear

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • First visual effect
  • Text comes afterwards

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • First visual effect
  • Text comes afterwards

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • % influence of the five senses:
  • Seeing 73%
  • Hearing 11%
  • Touching 7%
  • Tasting 4%
  • Smelling 3%

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • Style ‘telegram’
  • Simple words, short sentences
  • Rounded figures
  • Light page layout

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • Sober background
  • Bring the essential items
  • Explain visual items

Presentations

  • Reading direction

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • Finish a slide with strength
  • You are the best
  • You are the best
  • You are the best
  • You are the best

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • Text
  • Let it appear ….
  • …..line by line

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • Letter type:
    • as homogeneous as possible
    • lower case better than caps
    • max. 1 or 2 letter types (no salad)
    • max. 3 sizes of letters (min. 22 p.)

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • Character choise:
  • - italic to indicate a difference
  • bold or underlined to indicate the importance
  • put enough distance between sentences
  • avoid too much centering (sow effect)
  • no continuous text with capitals

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • Use of colours
  • Pay attention to contrast background/text
  • Colour
  • Color
  • Colour

Presentations

  • Composition of the slides
  • General suggestion:
  • - Keep enough white and empty space
  • The presentation should …. breathe
  • Provide animation…but don’t make the audience dizzy

Presentations

  • Conclusion ?
  • KISS

8. (LITERATURE) REVIEW

(Literature) review

  • Characteristics of a review: work from several sources is reported, rather than from one experiment or research programme
  • Common in journals and conference proceedings, in university training
  • In shorter form in Introduction of a paper
  • In longer form in thesis
  • Important requirement: critical: compare and contrast published findings
  • Brings data together: leads to new knowledge; identifies gaps in knowledge

(Literature) review

  • Content:
  • Introduction: what you are reviewing and why
  • Various subsections: separate the body into themes or topics, put in a logic order
  • (Discussion)
  • Conclusions: see scientific paper
  • References: see scientific paper

9. ABSTRACT

Abstract/extended abstract

  • Is almost any brief account of a longer document
  • Informative abstract/descriptive abstract
  • Abstract of a scientific paper is well structured
  • Extended abstract is much shorter than a full paper

Abstract/extended abstract

  • Descriptive abstract
    • Describes the content, needs to be accompanied by the document
    • Is helpful for the reader to decide to read the entire paper
    • Contains too little information and detail that refereed journals expect

Abstract/extended abstract

  • Informative abstract (like in paper)
    • It shows the reader very quickly whether the full report is valuable for further study
    • To be extracted from the full paper for separate publication
    • To furnish terminology to help literature search

Abstract/extended abstract

  • Informative abstract
    • Short, concise, but completely self-explanatory, often submitted on beforehand
    • Includes:
      • Research objectives, rationale for conducting the research
      • The basic methods used
      • The results and significant conclusions that can be drawn
      • No literature review or discussion; no visuals
      • 200 – 250 words; 3 – 5% of text: one paragraph

Abstract/extended abstract

  • Start with motivation or justification
  • State the objective, aim, purpose
  • Summarise essential methods
  • Summarise important results
  • End with important conclusions and impact

10. GROUP COMMUNICATION

Group Communications

  • Round-table discussion
  • Board or committee meeting
  • Standing committee
  • Ad hoc committee
  • Task force
  • Decision making involves alternatives
  • Problem solving no obvious alternatives
  • brainstorming

Group Communications

  • Group communications with no audience
  • to make plans for research projects
  • to decide policy
  • to evaluate a fellow employee’s progress

Group Communications

  • Procedure for group problem solving
  • the problem is clearly defined; objectives are set forth and understood by all members
  • members of the group plan their individual and collective actions. They may devide responsibilities for gathering information and offering options
  • As individuals and as a group they devise a plan of action
  • They act on the plan and analyse outcomes
  • They evaluate the results of their actions and determine whether the solution was acceptable

Group Communications

  • Group communication with an audience
  • Panel discussion
  • Symposium
  • Forum

Group Communications

  • Set a specific goal, but keep plans simple
  • Start on time ! End on time !. Each issue an appropriate time
  • Every participant should know the format and what goal is pursued
  • Think individual
  • Work toward the prescribed goal, summarize along the way, and avoid digressions
  • Maintain a professional attitude
  • Sustain equitable participation
  • The physical situation should be comfortable for everyone and conducive to good communication

11. THE PROPOSAL

The proposal

  • Types
    • research proposal
    • grant proposal
  • Distinction:
  • - different audience
  • - different purposes
  • - different guidelines

The grant proposal

  • Be sure you are ready to write
    • The idea must be good and must fit what the funding agency wants (see colleagues)
  • Proposal must be scientifically sound – study the topic
  • Outline a plan and review it carefully
  • Consider what personnel, money, equipment, time is needed and how it fits into the rest of your work load

The grant proposal

    • Prepare for questions and answers related to:
    • Originality and scientific merit or benefit to the grantor
    • Importance to the discipline or the immediate problem
    • Feasibility
    • Rationale and methodology
    • Ability and experience of the investigators
    • Budget, facilities, and time required
    • Appearance and adherence to guidelines

The grant proposal

    • Almost any proposal contains the following:
    • Title page and executive summary
    • Purpose or hypothesis and specific objectives
    • Justification
    • Review of work done or being done (literature)
    • Materials and methods
    • Discussion of possible outcomes (conclusions)
    • References
    • Time frame, budget, biography of the investigator(s)

The grant proposal

    • Justification is based on:
    • Reason and logic
    • Preliminary research
    • Scientific principles
    • Previous research (literature)
    • Feasibility of methods
    • Use of or benefit from the results

The grant proposal

    • Additional considerations
    • Many proposals are rejected
    • Reduce your frustration by recognizing the beneficial side effects:
    • writing skills, knowledge on the subject, literature, colleagues, resubmission

The written research proposal

  • Helps to plan the work in advance
  • To review what is done
  • To foresee the pitfalls ahead of you
  • To remain on the right track (objectives – goals)
  • Can serve as ‘draft’ for thesis or papers

Project Cycle Management (PCM)

  • Problem tree
  • Objective tree
  • Logic framework matrix
  • Indicative operational plan
  • Detailed budget
  • Project Cycle Management (PCM) Problem tree

Project Cycle Management (PCM) objective tree

Project Cycle Management (PCM)

  • Project description
  • Overal objectives
  • Objectively verifiable indicators
  • Sources of verification
  • Assumptions and preconditions
  • Specific objectives
  • "
  • "
  • "
  • Intermediate Results
  • "
  • "
  • "
  • Activities
  • Means
  • Costs
  • "
  • logical framework matrix
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • PROJECT DESCRIPTION
  • INTERVENTION LOGIC
  • OBJECTIVELY VERIFIABLE INDICATORS (OVIs)
  • SOURCES OF VERIFICATION
  • (SOV)
  • ASSUMPTIONS AND PRE CONDITIONS
  • 1
  • Overall objectives (if both are applicable) (OO)
  • To improve food security and human nutrition of rural populations in the two provinces while sustaining the natural resource bases (Developmental).
  • To strengthen human and equipment capital through training and services provided by the project (Academic).
  • By 2015, Millenium Development Goal assessments show positive trends for the indicators related to rural livelihoods in the target areas.
  • By December 2010, at least 2 researchers at the partner institute, trained in the framework of the current project, are taking up leading roles in projects on soil fertility management and writing proposals on ISFM to get extra funding.
  • National, provincial, and district-level statistics.
  • Poverty assessment reports.
  • Draft project proposals written by national partners.
  • Political stability.
  • 2
  • Specific objectives (if both are applicable) (SO)
  • Developmental:
  • 1. To arrest resource degradation and enhance food security and human nutrition through widespread adoption of sustainable resource management technologies for cassava-based systems based on improved varieties and system diversification.
  • Academic:
  • 2. To build local stakeholders’ capacity to apply and disseminate improved agricultural technologies with a special focus on strengthening research-for-development capacity at the target universities through degree-related training and improved laboratory capacity.
  • By December 2005, universities, international scientists, NGO partners, and farmers are planning and working together on the implementation of the project.
  • By December 2007, extension services and NGO’s dealing with agricultural development and working in the target areas are aware of the ISFM interventions developed in the framework of this project and disseminating them to other areas not initially targeted.
  • By 2010, at least 20% farmers in targeted villages use improved proven ISFM technologies that arrest resource degradation and enhance their food security and nutrition.
  • Annual IARC and NARS, and NGO reports.
  • Newspaper articles
  • Peer-reviewed journal articles.
  • Quarterly report to VLIR.
  • Linkages maintained among research and development organizations.
  • Economic policies provide incentives for socially profitable agricultural diversification and resource conservation.
  • Effective systems for technology dissemination and demonstration.
  • Sufficient availability of appropriate
  • Sufficient regional scientific staff capacity.
  • PROJECT DESCRIPTION
  • INTERVENTION LOGIC
  • OBJECTIVELY VERIFIABLE INDICATORS (OVIs)
  • SOURCES OF VERIFICATION
  • (SOV)
  • ASSUMPTIONS AND PRE CONDITIONS
  • 3
  • Intermediate results (ideally 3 to 7 results)
  • 1. Farming system domains identified and characterized for developing ISFM options for cassava-based systems (Characterization) (Research-Capacity-Extension).
  • 2. New knowledge obtained on soil processes (e.g., restoration of depleted soils, improved nutrient use efficiency) for the efficient design of management practices that enhance soil productivity in cassava-based systems (New knowledge).(Research-Capacity)
  • 3. Appropriate field management practices based on ISFM for cassava-based systems developed and tested on farmers’ fields (Management practices). (Capacity-Extension)
  • 4. ISFM technologies for cassava-based systems validated and adapted on farm in benchmark areas (Adaptation and adoption). (Extension-Capacity)
  • 5. Capability of NARS to undertake ISFM research for development enhanced (Capacity building). (Capacity)
  • 1.1. By the end of 2005, at least two target villages in each of the two provinces are identified and bio-physically (soils, nutrient balances, etc) and socio-economically (farmers’ resource endowments, access to markets, etc) characterized.
  • 2.1. By the end of 2006, the potential role of at least two selected legumes to enhance the productivity of cassava-based systems is unravelled and their contributions quantified both at the biophysical and socio-economic level.
  • 2.2. Throughout the project life, strategic research issues are addressed, based on questions identified during activities under IRs 3 and 4.
  • 3.1. By the end of 2005, a basket of best-bet ISFM options for cassava-based systems is identified in collaboration with national scientists, NGO partners, and farmer organisations in the target areas.
  • 3.2. By the end of 2006, at least 2 most promising ISFM options for cassava-based systems are holistically evaluated under on-farm conditions.
  • 4.1. By the end of 2007, seasonal field days, associated with on-farm demonstration sites for ISFM, attract at least 200 farmers in each of the four target villages.
  • 4.2. By end of 2010, guidelines and recommendations for ISFM in cassava-based systems are developed and distributed to extension and research institutions, operating in the target areas and beyond.
  • 5.1. Each year, starting 2005, a planning and evaluation workshop is organised with the NARS.
  • 5.2. By end of 2010, at least 2 PhD and 6 MSc students obtain their degree within the project.
  • 5.3. By end of 2010, at least 5 technicians from national systems and NGOs receive on-the-job training in ISFM for cassava-based systems.
  • 5.4. By end of 2010, a national symposium on ISFM is organised.
  • Annual project progress reports.
  • Peer-reviewed scientific papers, at least two per DRC promoter at the end of the project.
  • University records.
  • VLIR-documents.
  • Annual Planning workshop reports.
  • Dissemination materials in local languages.
  • Sufficient secondary information available.
  • Best-bet options developed elsewhere have potential for adaptation to conditions in the DRC.
  • Effective participation of farmers and development partners.
  • logical framework matrix
  • PROJECT DESCRIPTION
  • INTERVENTION LOGIC
  • MEANS
  • COSTS
  • ASSUMPTIONS AND PRE CONDITIONS
  • 4
  • Activities (3 to 5 activities per result)
  • IR 1: Characterization
  • 1.1. Collection of existing geographical information and information related to nutrient dynamics in cassava-based systems.
  • 1.2. Diagnosis of farm level availability and current use of mineral and organic soil amendments, their effect on productivity of cassava based farming systems, and other constraints to enhanced and diversified crop production.
  • 1.3. Selection of recommendation domains, representative villages, farmer typologies, and participating farm households for targeting nutrient management technologies.
  • 1.4. Monitoring existing farm management and its results on nutrient balances, economic performance, and rural livelihood status.
  • IR 2: New knowledge
  • 2.1. Characterization of the current and potential sources of mineral and organic plant nutrients available to farmers in the areas and evaluate their short and medium term contributions to soil fertility.
  • 2.2. Quantification of the extent and elucidation of the mechanisms (direct nutritional or indirect mulch effects) leading to improvement in nutrient use in cassava based cropping systems after combining organic and mineral inputs.
  • 2.3. Biophysical and socio-economic evaluation of the benefits of legumes integrated in cassava systems to overall system productivity.
  • IR 3: Management practices
  • 3.1. Farmer-participatory construction of a basket of best-bet ISFM options to enhance productivity and diversification of cassava-based cropping systems.
  • 3.2. Researcher-managed, on-farm, holistic (biophysical, socio-economic) evaluation of best-bet options for the development of ISFM packages in cassava cropping systems.
  • IR 4: Adaptation and adoption
  • 4.1. Farmers managed trials in collaboration with farmers in selected villages in the target areas.
  • 4.2. Train farmers, NGO's, extension workers, and researchers in specific research for development approaches related to the development and dissemination of ISFM packages.
  • 4.3. Organize field days on ISFM in selected villages in the benchmark areas.
  • IR 5: Capacity building
  • 5.1. Develop manpower resources through country and in-province specialized and individual training and study visits to provide continuity of research on ISFM in collaboration with the two local universities.
  • 5.2. Enhance the scientific infrastructure of the local partner universities.
  • 5.3. Organize a national symposium on ISFM.
  • Lab equipment, GPS units, etc
  • Vehicles
  • Office furniture, computers, etc
  • Maintenance of material
  • Liquid substances
  • Consumer goods
  • Documentation and books
  • Small material, spare parts
  • Office supplies
  • Fuel
  • Communication
  • Topping up
  • Travel in Belgium
  • Local travel
  • Local experts
  • Long term local scholarships (one PhD and 3 MSc projects per region)
  • International travel expenses
  • Board and lodging costs (per diems and hotel rates for 8 weeks per year)
  • Shipment of samples for advanced analysis
  • 2000,- €
  • 24,000,- €
  • 11,600,- €
  • 14,900,- €
  • 9,400,- €
  • 23,400,- €
  • 1,900,- €
  • 20,600,- €
  • 11,350,- €
  • 39,500,- €
  • 6,000,- €
  • 31,500,- €
  • 500,- €
  • 7,500,- €
  • 4,500,- €
  • 20,000,- €
  • 10,800,- €
  • 23,350,- €
  • 3,250,- €
  • Pre conditions
  • All conditions are present to allow the project to go ahead as can be seen from the project document and the stakeholder meeting report.
  • logical framework matrix
  • Indicative operational plan
  • Detailed budget
  • 12. OTHER ITEMS

Other items

  • Ethics
  • Falcification, fabrication, Plagiarism
  • Issues: duplicate publication
  • conflict of interest
  • sensitive material
  • possibly unethical research
  • ownership of data
  • authorship

Other items

  • Authorship
  • earned (first) versus honorary (last)
  • who should be an author ?

13. NICE TO CITE ...

Nice to cite ....

  • “If it dies, it’s biology, if it blows up, it’s chemistry, if it doesn’t work, it’s physics”
  • John Wilkes
  • “...the greatest truths, poorly comunicated, remain unconvincing”
  • Lois Debakey
  • “Do not concern the opinion of another because it differs from your own. You both may be wrong”
  • Dandemis
  • “Traveler, there is no path; paths are made by walking”
  • Antonio Machado
  • “I don’t mind if you think slowly, Doctor; but I do mind if you publish faster than you think”
  • Pauli Wolfgang

Nice to cite....

  • “One can no more be a bit dishonest than one can be a little bit pregnant”
  • C. Ian Jackson
  • “Nothing clarfies ideas in one’s mind so much as explaining them to other people”
  • Vernon Booth
  • “Blessed is the man, who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact”
  • George Eliot
  • “To speak much is one thing, to speak well another”
  • Sophocles
  • “Only the composition as a whole determines the good or bad of a piece of graphic work”
  • Eduard Imhof

Nice to cite....

  • “The true spirit of conversation consits in building on another man’s observation, not overturning it”
  • Bulwer Lytton
  • “If all our commonsense notions about the universe were correct, then science would have solved the secrets of the universe thousands of years ago”
  • Michio Kaku
  • “If we ignore what other people are thinking, or have thought in the past, then rational discussion must come to an end, though each of us may go on happily talking to himself”
  • Karl R. Popper

Nice to cite....

  • “If you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain it to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your own mind. And the more slow and dim-witted your pupil, the more you have to break things down into more and more simple ideas. And that’s really the essence of programming. By the time you’ve sorted out a complicated idea into little steps that even a stupid machine can deal with, you’ve certainly learned something about it yourself”
  • Douglas Adams
  • “Science tell us what we can know, but what we can know is little, and if we forget how much we cannot know we become insensitive to many things of great importance”
  • Bertrand Russell
  • “Philosophy of science without history of science is empty; history of science without philosophy of science is blind”
  • Imre Lakatos

Nice to cite....

  • “Being a scientist is like being a musician. You do need some talent, but you have a great advantage over a musician. You can get 99% of the notes wrong, then get one right and be wildly applauded”
  • Dudley Herschbach
  • “The easiest way to grow as a person, is to surround yourself with people smarter than you”
  • “To know two, you must first know one”
  • The fires of heaven – Robert Jordan
  • “Sapiens nihil affirmat quod non probat”
  • “A wise man states as true nothing that he does not prove”

Nice to cite....

  • “Tout bien considéré travailler est moins ennuyeux que s’amuser”
  • Charkles Baudelaire
  • “The university operates on a basic principle of economics: everything has its costs. We pay to create our future; we pay for the mistakes of the past; we pay for every change we make ...and we pay just as dairly if we refuse to change”
  • Prelude to Dune – House Harkonnen
  • Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
  • “...it is afterwards that events are always understood ...”
  • Our Lady of Darkness – Peter Tremayne
  • “The first thing to writing is writing, not thinking”
  • Finding Forrester – Sean Connery

Nice to cite....

  • “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from" T. S. Eliot
  • Clarity is the main merit of speech
  • Aristoteles
  • Big people talk about ideas
  • Mediocre people talk about things
  • Small people talk about people
  • It’s nice to be …important
  • But it’s more important to be …nice
  • Poor soils make poor people and poor people make poor soils worse
  • Roseveldt

Nice to cite....

  • If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it ?
  • Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
  • Geen blind verzet tegen vooruitgang, maar verzet tegen blinde vooruitgang
  • Inspraak zonder inzicht is uitspraak zonder uitzicht
  • Wie zijn opleiding verwaarloost blijft zijn leven lang kreupel
  • Plato
  • Het verlangen is mooier dan de bevrediging – het kan wel lastig zijn.
  • Yesterday is history – Tomorrow is mystery – Today is a gift. Enjoy it

Nice to cite....

  • Timeo hominen unius libri – Vrees de persoon, die zweert bij één boek !
  • Thomas van Aquino (1225-1274)
  • Wedijver onder de geleerden speelt in de kaart van de wetenschap
  • de Talmud (500 B.C.)
  • An academic person is a person with his/her two feet firmly planted … in the clouds
  • Laat de geleerden nooit alleen beslissen; er zijn te veel verstrooide professoren bij
  • Ervaring is een kam, die de natuur ons geeft als we al bijna kaal geworden zijn.

Nice to cite....

  • We kennen nog steeds al de antwoorden, maar niemand stelt ons nog de vragen
  • De toelating tot het emeritaat is de enige benoeming aan de universiteit, die je in de wacht kunt slepen, zonder examen af te leggen, waarvoor geen concurrenten opdagen en het is zelfs een functie waaruit je niet kunt ontslagen worden.
  • M. Eyskens
  • Als alles lukt in je leven, dan heb je niet geneog geprobeerd.
  • Wijsheid vindt men in boeken; wijs zijn moet men verder zoeken
  • G. Gezelle
  • Professoren, die hun wijsheid alleen uit boeken hebben, moet men op de boekenplank zetten
  • Winnaars zijn verliezers die nooit opgeven

Nice to cite....

  • The best way to learn science is to write science
  • H.H. Janzen, Denmark, 1996

14. SUGGESTED READINGS

Suggested readings

  • Davis, M. (2005). Scientific Papers and Presentations. USA, Massachusetts, Academic Press, 356p.
  • Luellen, W.R. (2001). Fine-Tuning your Writing. USA, Madison, Wise Owl Publishing Company, 346.
  • Malmfors, B., Garnsworthy, P. & Grossman, M. (2002). Writing and Presenting Scientific Papers. Nottingham, UK, Nottingham University press, 133p.
  • Chicago (The) Manual of Style (2003). 15th Edition, USA, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 956p.
  • Ebel, H.F., Bliefert, C. & Russey, W.E. (1990). The Art of Scientific Writing. Germany, Weinheim, VCH, 493p.
  • Gibaldi, J. (2003). MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. USA, New York, The Modern Language Association, 361p.
  • Pollefliet, L. (2009). Schrijven van verslag tot eindwerk. Academia Press, Gent, 242p.
  • Thanks


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