Why another book on this topic? The author's experience editing leading journals in psychology suggests that publication manuals and books on writing about experimentation in psychology do not adequately address grammatical usage and style. Much of the advice published for scientific writers reads as if it had been written either by English teachers for writers who do not publish in scientific fields, or by scientific writers who think that the information already available in countless handbooks on grammar and style for student writers in English classes is enough. Unfortunately, such traditional handbooks do not offer the particular sorts of commentary that scientific writers need.
This book offers specific advice on a host of issues ranging from the appropriate use of abbreviations to wordiness -- and how to avoid it. Dr. Bellquist's expertise in both the English language and the language of scientific writing ideally positions him to offer guidelines on the use of the passive, the best wording for statistical presentations, and just how to describe experimental procedures, among many other topics. Complete with examples and principles to guide writing decisions, this book will assist both students and seasoned professionals in presenting their work clearly for maximum impact. This book is intended as a guide to grammar and usage for writers in scientific fields -- particularly in experimental psychology and all fields related to experimental psychology. Features of the book include:
* alphabetical entries and numerous cross references on grammar, usage, and style;
* numerous examples taken from scientific papers or based on actual cases;
* discussions of semantic problems of grammar such as modification, predication, and statement;
* and discussions of usage specific to experimental psychology, statistics, and related fields.
"Its alphabetical format - 'a' to 'wordiness' makes it perfect for easy reference….useful to experimental researchers in both psychology and other sciences."
—Science Books & Films
"John Bellquist clearly represents that increasingly rare species, a copy editor who really cares about the form and structure of scientific English….If more authors cared about their prose enough to consult a book like this, there would be fewer problems of confusion, ambiguity and obfuscation in the literature."
—British Journal of Psychology
"This guide is a must for anyone who publishes or hopes to publish in psychological journals. After you commit as much of it to memory as you can, you should keep it beside your word processor."
—Morton A. Gernsbacher,
University of Wisconsin, Madison
"Have you ever wondered what was going through a copy editor's mind as he or she prepared your manuscript for publication? Well, here's a chance to find out. Bellquist provides not only stylistic prescriptions for the experimental psychologist, but also interesting and informative explanations for them. Even if you don't agree with Bellquist's prescriptions, you may find that their conceptual bases force you to rethink your style and to rationalize it explicitly. As Bellquist notes, the best defense against a copy editor's prescriptions is an informed and carefully constructed argument for the style you wish to implement. Bellquist's book provides you with opportunities, first, to sharpen your knowledge of current stylistic conventions in experimental psychology, and second, to develop conceptual bases for going beyond them."
—Lawrence W. Barsalou,
University of Chicago
"Authors of articles appearing in the journals of the Psychonomic Society have benefitted for years from the advice of one of the Society's most experienced copyeditors, John Bellquist. John has now distilled his advice on many tricky aspects of scientific publishing and placed it between the covers of this book. Now all of us can benefit from his experience, wisdom and advice about the art of technical writing."
—Henry L. Roediger, III,