Coursera - Writing in the Sciences - Week 7

Continue with week 7.

7.1 Writing a review article
Why you need to write a narrative review article or literature review? It lets you understand the current primary literature in your field of study. And by doing so, learn to read, organize, and summarize papers, and lastly write it out. By doing so, you will get an overview of the field of study. Furthermore, the review paper is a good resource for anyone to quickly dive into the the are of study.

There are three types of review articles.
(1) Non-systematic review. Also known as "narrative" review, not comprehensive, and is also a qualitative review.
(2) Systematic review. To summarize all relevant studies in a systematic way following pre-defined criteria. This is also a quantitative review.
(3) Meta-analysis. Basically a systematic review but using statistical techniques to pool data. This is something that I've never heard before.

What is the structure of a review articles?
(1) Abstract. Write this last as discussed in the previous week.
(2) Introduction. Define the aim.
(3) Method. Search strategy.
(4) Body. Main content of the review. Group it by methodology or theme. Upon this, analyze, interpret, critique, and synthesize these studies.
(5) Conclusion and future directions. Discuss recommendation and gaps. What's next for this field of study you've identified?

7.2 Grant I
Why you need to write research proposal? You're applying for grant for your research. Certain research need significant fund to proceed ahead. There are committee that review and approve this, learn the application and review process.

For successful application, you will need to identify the gap or niche in the area of research. Some questions to ask yourself.
(1) Is the question important?
(2) What is the overall goal?
(3) What specifically can be done?
(4) What is the expected payoff?

Note you're not a sole research. Research grant will be used and allocated for a whole research team. Build your team.

Plan your research. Ask yourself.
(1) Is there a need.
(2) How will be the specific aims be accomplished?
(3) How long will the project take?
(4) What is next?

Read the editorial post, "Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Postdoctoral Fellowship".

7.3 Grant II
Whole section focus on tips and strategies on writing Specific Aims document. Again, write the document follows these four key questions.
(1) Is the question important?
- Attention grabbing first sentence.
- Bring reviewers up to speed.
- Frame the knowledge gap/need.

(2) What is the overall goal?
- Big-picture goals.
- Objective of this proposal.
- Best bet / hypothesis.
- Supportive preliminary data.

(3) What specifically can be done?
- Aims.
- Working hypothesis.
- Methods.

(4) What is the expected payoff?
- Return on investment.
- Related to goals of the funding announcement.

7.4 Grant III
Further investigation and key questions to ask yourself before proceed ahead.
(1) Is there a need?
(2) How will the project be accomplished?
(3) How long will the project take?
(4) What is the payoff and what is next?

The outline of the research plan.
(1) Background/Significance.
(2) Aims.
(3) Timeline.
(4) Conclusion and future directions.

7.5 Writing letters of recommendation
When a student ask you to write a letter of recommendation, request below information from him/her.
(1) CV / resume.
(2) Information about the position / award.
(3) The dateline.
(4) Specific information on how to submit the information.

Note this is academic type recommendation letter, so the format of the letter should be following old-fashioned letter.

One interesting note. When you're asking for recommendation letter, you should avoid recommenders who ask your to draft your own letter. I wonder why?

7.6: Writing personal statements
Why we need this? Scholarship (usually), internship, or jobs.

Some tips.
(1) Make is personal (duh).
(2) Give specific examples and stories.
(3) Don't read your CV line by line.
(4) Avoid big words or cliches.
(5) Show interest in / flatter your readers. Do your homework!
(6) Explain gaps and failures.

Learning Objectives
(1) Understand how to write review articles.
Nothing much into the details of how to write review articles. The meta-analysis review article was quite new to me.

(2) Become familiar with the grant-writing process.
Always a long winding process. Lots of red tape.

(3) Understand how to write a strong letter of recommendation.
Both sides should prepare well. Rejection is understandable.

(4) Understand how to write a strong personal essay.

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