The Learning Resource Centre, Knowledge Campus organised a one day national level faculty development programme in collaboration with Digital Information Research Foundation (DIRF), Chennai and UK on Scientific Writing in Research Publishing on January 25, 2019.
The objectives of the programme were to learn new approaches and to solve research – related issues, the ways of producing good research and the different ways of writing scientific reports as well as to learn to write a research report, its review and revision. The programme was open to researchers, academicians, librarians, scientists and administrators from colleges, universities, research laboratories and scientific agencies.
Dr. Sandeep Shastri – Pro Vice – Chancellor, Jain (Deemed – to – be University); Dr. Vasu B A – Director, School of Commerce, JAIN; Dr. Pit Pichappan – Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Digital Information Research Labs, Chennai; and Dr. M Krishnamurthy – Associate Professor and Research Guide, DRTC, Indian Statistical Institute, Bengaluru attended the programme. Dr. M Meeramani – Librarian, Learning Resource Centre, Knowledge Campus welcomed the gathering.
The programmes discussed ways to optimise research publication activities and the structure of research publications, review and indexing process, methods of generating good publications, demonstration of global indexing databases, research networks and other citation and evaluation metrics. Dr. Sandeep Shastri, who delivered the keynote address, shared 5 ground rules of research writing from a scientific perspective. Considering the discipline that is required for writing as the first rule, he said, “The skill of writing is not a gift that is conferred but a habit that needs to be acquired. It is something you own over time. This habit of writing should start the day you register for your Ph.D. and take up a research project.” He also added that one can improve his/her writing skills and expand their vocabulary only if they keep on writing. “It is something you need to hone and develop steadily over the years,” he said.
The second rule Dr. Shastri found necessary for research writing is to focus on the three words – clarity, relevance and intelligibility. “Your writing should have nothing more than what is necessary and nothing less than what is necessary.”
According to him, the most difficult part of the research is the third rule that is relevant across domains. “Is your writing theory-grounded and theory-guided? You may analyse your data, discuss your key points, reflect on your findings, but the question is, is it grounded on existing theoretical knowledge or not?” He also reminded the audience on keeping up-to-date with whatever has been written on a particular theme. “As a researcher, you are not inventing the wheel; instead you are riding on the shoulders of other experts.”
Rule four, which is balancing three things in your writing – description, analysis and interpretation. “Many writers and researchers do not do the building up which is so important; they focus on the issue. You can have neither a descriptive overload nor an analysis overreach. There must be a fine balancing between description, analysis and interpretation.”
The writing should have a natural flow and narrative logic and that brings us to the fifth and the last rule. “In an ideal research paper, the various sections and subsections should talk to each other. Narrative logic, and this applies to all writings, means ‘does the writing tell a story?’ Also keep in mind you progress as a researcher over years of writing, does your research writing see the use of research language?”, he said.
The first session was conducted by Dr. Pit Pichappan on Strategies and Tools for Quality Publications. He spoke about the various strategies that can be adopted while writing scientific papers. In his second session on Standards in Scientific Reporting, he laid emphasis on the style of writing and the connectivity between paragraphs. Dr. Pichappan also discussed several other aspects of scientific writing.
Session 3 on Publication Quality, Citations Measure and Plagiarism was handled by Dr. M Krishnamurthy. He spoke in detail about the importance of the quality of content, the proper use of citation, how to obtain permission to use the work of other writers, plagiarism and the tools that can identify it. The concluding session was by Dr. Pichappan on Practical Illustrations for Quality Publications.