Pen - RW AFSP


Reasoned Writing and A Framework for Scientific Papers seek to use writing to support reasoning, and reasoning to improve writing.


Reasoning is necessary for strong scientific conclusions (Giere et al., 2006). Communication is necessary for using scientific conclusions to understand the world and create technology (Goldbort, 2006). Therefore, reasoning and communication are both important components of science education.


Many excellent textbooks review scientific reasoning (e.g. Cavender et al., 2018Cleave, 2016Giere et al., 2006; Layman, 2005Moore, 2017). Many excellent textbooks also provide useful guidance for scientific communication (primarily writing; e.g. Booth, 2016Moriarty, 1997Lindsay, 2011Williams and Bizup, 2017). However, traditional scientific curricula often do not include courses that adequately address scientific reasoning and writing (Brand and Huiskes, 2001Coil et al., 2010Turbek et al., 2016). Instead, scientific curricula and courses often (understandably) focus on content knowledge (Zheng et al., 2008). Therefore, learning and practicing scientific reasoning and communication, while also covering required factual and conceptual content, may seem challenging or infeasible in many science courses. 


The overall goal of Reasoned Writing / A Framework for Scientific Papers is to help content-focused courses use scientific reasoning and communication in the learning process. Written and spoken communication apply reasoning to content knowledge and contribute to active learning (Quitadamo and Kurtz, 2007). Applying scientific reasoning to specific problems involves analyzing information, synthesizing arguments, and evaluating conclusions (Rochford and Borchert, 2011). Therefore, using reasoning principles as a framework to structure simple, specific writing can potentially improve both reasoning and communication skills. Moreover, reasoned communication can also contribute to meaningful learning of content knowledge (Mayer, 2002; Biggs and Tang, 2011). 


Reasoned Writing / A Framework for Scientific Papers approaches reasoning and communication by concisely reviewing fundamental approaches to scientific reasoning and writing together. RW/AFSP is based on the observation that clear communication naturally flows from strongly-reasoned frameworks.


Specifically, the first module (Reasoned Writing) presents foundational arguments for the importance of reasoned frameworks, simplicity, and specificity for effective communication.


The second module (A Framework for Scientific Papers) applies the principles of Reasoned Writing to the specific objective of clearly communicating the results of hypothesis-driven scientific studies.


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Reasoned Writing

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Reasoned Writing / A Framework for Scientific Papers

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