Writing workshop for the Norwegian Research School in Climate Dynamics
06.06.2011 - 11.06.2011
The Research School in Climate Dynamics, ResClim, is inviting PhD candidates to Dallas Murphy's writing workshop. Dallas has been conducting this annual workshop to great success for the last four years at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, and during the last two years he has added workshops at the University of Hamburg and at RSMAS at the University of Miami.
In it, students will be asked to submit a scientific paper before the workshop begins, and all papers will be disseminated to each student. Then, in proper workshop fashion, each paper will be examined one by one, while student participation will be expected. Dallas' experiencehas shown that the central writing problem for young scientists involve matters of structure, the clear and concise statement of ideas. As he states in the proposal, part of the objective is to improve the submitted paper. However, he continues, it is equally important to offer the students a set of composition principles that can be applied to the next paper and the next.
Because it is practical to consider three papers in each of the five workdays, the workshop must be limited to fifteen students. Faculty members are welcome to sit in the workshop and are encouraged to contribute to discussions.
Workshop Principle and Objective:
Participants will submit a technical paper or related piece of science writing, which will be collected in packages containing all submitted papers and distributed to the students prior to the workshop start date. Students will read each others' papers and be prepared to discuss them one by one in class. The operative concept, then, is that we're in this together each working to help the other improve his/her science writing. This "peer-review" system is efficacious in various ways, not least of which because there is usually a very clear and shared response. Students find the lesson compelling when, for instance when eight people all say that they lost the logical strain somewhere around paragraph three of the introduction. The objective, however, is not solely to improve the particular piece of submitted work, but to use the papers as springboards to introduce general writing principles.
Reading List :
- Strunk, William & E.B. White: The Elements of Style. Macmillan, 1979, rev. 1992. (Required).
- Montgomery, Scot L.: The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science, University of Chicago Press, 2003.
- Parker. E. N.: The Martial Art of Scientific Publication, EOS 78, 737, 391-395, 1997.
- Williams, Joseph M.: Style. University of Chicago Press, 1990. Can be applied to subsequent papers as well.