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APA writing link

22 Sep

A nice link on writing paper

22 Sep

The link above is excellent on APA style. You can even download a powerpoint presentation. Check it out.

UPDATED: Grading rubric available – revised Oct. 31, 2010!

15 Sep

Soc Exp rubric rev

Writing in digital age

2 Aug

Sentence rewrite

4 May

Today we discussed more on writing a clear paper.  Here is the sentence in question. Practice writing

Even the youngest children could make style matches and could do so even when a subject matter match was also possible, suggesting that they are sensitive to artistic style and can focus on that dimension in the face of irrelevant variation on other dimensions.

How to give a research powerpoint presentation

1 May

*stick with topic.

*relevant points and references that are accurate.

* Building up a story (What the question, why important, what new?)

* Remember to describe methods in order they happen.  Before I care about what the stimuli looked like, I want a feeling of where the participant was seated. How far from the screen, etc etc.   LIKE YOU ARE DIRECTING A MOVIE!

* Make slides more visual, pretend your audience is a subject in the study, what did they see, for how long  etc.

Writing Clear Concise Sentences. Reading the literature

22 Apr

As a top researcher, you must be able to write up your papers quickly and effectively.  One way to do this is to write in a direct and active way. Here is a sentence that I received  today. It makes me want to cry.  (: Luckily I can blog about my pain instead!  Yes, I’m in pain…but that is why I call my BLOG….. YES!!  NO PAIN. NO GAIN!

OLD:  It has been shown that infants younger than six months of age are capable of following their caregiver’s direction of attention and by the first year, typically developing children are competent non-verbal communicators (Trepagnier, Sebrechts, Finkelmeyer, Stewart, Woodford, & Coleman, 2006).

Here is my problem with the sentence:  If it has been shown that infants younger than 6 months follow attention – why don’t we state at what age infants do  it?  Why is the author here focusing on 6 months?  Is there a rationale?    Do we care that it has been shown that.. ? Or do we care that infants follow gaze?   What is with all of the clauses?   Avoid clauses. Write in an active way.

Write in short active sentences. Before I even begin to process this sentence I can tell it is too long and that I will be lost.  As someone who studies infants in the first days and months –  I want to jump out of a TALL building when I read something like the above… Maybe that is the aim of some… But let’s assume it is not the case in this example!   “By the first year, infants are competent non-verbal communicators”  Where did  we get this idea?    There is evidence that newborns are excellent non-verbal communicators. Are we just going to ignore the first 6 months of postnatal human  development? Even by 3 month infants pick up upon 1 second delay in interaction…. is this not a non verbal cue?  My point here is that if you become an excellent writer, people will remember what you write… and maybe even believe it!

Back to the sentence… Infants are sensitive to faces, voices, touch… is this not non-verbal communication?   All of this makes me wonder if the students read papers from my  lab – not to mention other labs.  I’m not even going into all of the evidence that infants are sensitive to joint attention in the first year (see Hoehl, Striano, etc.).

NEW: I would write the sentence as:  Three month old infants follow gaze…. Or..

Young infants follow gaze..   Young infants follow other’s attention… or or..  Give it a shot!