Reasoned Writing / A Framework for Scientific Papers

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 broad understanding and technology development (Goldbort, 2006). Therefore, reasoning and communication are both important components of science and science education.


The overall goal of Reasoned Writing / A Framework for Scientific Papers (RW/AFSP) is to help content-focused curricula use scientific reasoning and communication for learning. Active learning can contribute to conceptual understanding (Freeman et al., 2014;Theobald et al., 2020; Deslauriers et al., 2019; Bando et al., 2019, Eddy and Hogan, 2017). Written and spoken communication contribute to active learning (Bangert-Drowns et al., 2004; Bean, 2011; Quitadamo and Kurtz, 2007). Specifically, scientific communication involves analyzing information, synthesizing arguments, and evaluating conclusions (Rochford and Borchert, 2011). Learning scientific content in the context of scientific reasoning can improve content learning and retention (Cannady et al., 2019). Therefore, using reasoned writing for learning can potentially improve communication skills, conceptual understanding, AND factual knowledge simultaneously (Mayer, 2002; Biggs and Tang, 2011, Rivard, 1994).


Many excellent textbooks review scientific reasoning (e.g. Cavender et al., 2018; Cleave, 2016; Giere et al., 2006; Layman, 2005; Moore, 2017). Many excellent textbooks also provide useful guidance for scientific communication (primarily writing; e.g. Booth, 2016; Moriarty, 1997; Lindsay, 2011; Williams and Bizup, 2017). However, including extensive instruction on scientific reasoning and effective communication, using multiple textbooks, into scientific coursework may seem overwhelming and infeasible. Consequently, scientific courses often focus on knowledge learning, with fewer opportunities for creativity, reasoning, and judgment (Zheng et al., 2008). As a result, traditional scientific curricula inadequately address scientific reasoning, methods, and communication (Brand and Huiskes, 2001; Coil et al., 2010; Turbek et al., 2016).


Using scientific practices is an integral part of both Inquiry-Based and Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) approaches to scientific education (Auchincloss et al., 2014; Corwin et al., 2015; Dolan, 2016). Scientific reasoning and communication are essential scientific practices, and potentially necessary for student success in experiences that involve research. Providing students with specific guidance for reasoning and communication is essential to strive for research experiences and assessments that are equitable.


Reasoned Writing / A Framework for Scientific Papers seeks to help courses and curricula use active learning through reasoned communication by concisely reviewing fundamental approaches to scientific reasoning and writing together. RW/AFSP uses an "explicit instruction" approach that seeks to be unambiguous, structured, systematic, and scaffolded (Hughes et al., 2017; Ping and Osman, 2020).


Specifically, the first module (Reasoned Writing) presents foundational arguments for the importance of reasoned frameworks, simplicity, and specificity for effective communication. Reasoned Writing is based on the observation that clear writing (and speaking) can naturally flow from strongly-reasoned frameworks.


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


UPDATE! (2020 Fall) I have also developed a companion module on statistics and research methods. Only a very brief description of module is included on this website... please contact me for more information.


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Please send feedback/comments to Devin Jindrich, djindrich@csusm.edu

Reasoned Writing / A Framework for Scientific Papers

A free website for scientific writing.

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