Scientific Communication for Natural Resource Professionals

Chapter 3: Guidance for the Successful Preparation and Submission of Scientific Manuscripts

Michael L. Brown and Jonathan A. Jenks


Communicating study results, in oral and written formats, to one or more target audiences is the final step in the scientific method. Well-planned and executed research results are communicated regularly in oral presentations at scientific conferences and as written articles in peer-reviewed journals. The research process (i.e., from defining the problem to interpretation and synthesis) leading up to presentation is typically the most enjoyable, but communicating information that results from rigorous study is most critical to the advancement of science (Brown and Guy 2007). Accordingly, effective communication of research results is a common responsibility that all scientists share (NAS 1995).

Students are often timid or apprehensive because they have the perception that they are not well trained in scientific writing, and therefore, they struggle with the writing task. Even veteran writers occasionally succumb to the mental phenomenon called “writer’s block” (Boice 1990), which is a situation in which, regardless of effort, the words and thoughts do not flow easily. Every writer has his or her own pet method to contend with writer’s block. Simply working on another section and coming back to the difficult section later is a common strategy for many writers.