Writing tips

Writing tips for the UCD Earth Institute blog series including the A-Z of Environmental and Sustainability Research, a new series of short essays or blog posts by UCD postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers, technical and research support staff, about their work.

 

Structure:

  1. Title / Topic: Chose a title or topic of your research connected environmental and sustainability, possibily include the A-Z blog series
  2. Summary: Include a short description or summary of 25-30 words and a longer description or summary of 50-60 words which should grab the readers’ attention, and can be used to promote the blog post on social media. Twitter has a 280-character limit including web address.
  3. Entries should be around 500-1000 words and include around 2-3 images related to the topic (see also below)
  4. Author name and biography: One paragraph including link(s)
  5. Further reading: around 3-5 pieces of further reading, preferably open access and available online

 

Content:

  • Try to write with a conversational, positive and friendly tone and keep sentences short and simple
  • Think about what makes your topic interesting – what facts and images will help grab the readers’ attention
  • Keep the blog post / essay succinct and interesting for those who may not be specialists – the audience is interested and intelligent but may not be familiar with technical terminology, jargon or acronyms (which should be explained)
  • Words or phrases referring to additional content need to include relevant links to reliable sources, e.g. Nature or a journal article etc
  • Blog posts or essays should be about one topic, and not a summary of an entire project – background and context should be summarised
  • Blog posts or essays should use an “inverted pyramid” structure which is opposite to a journal article: content should start with the main outcomes and conclusions in a way designed to catch the readers’ attention before moving onto the core story and concluding with the “take away” message and link to further reading

 Structure of a blog post from How to write a great blog post on your research topic? A brief guide in 9 steps by Simon A. Perth at https://www.doi.org/10.34834/2019.0002

Structure of a blog post from How to write a great blog post on your research topic? A brief guide in 9 steps by Simon A. Perth at https://www.doi.org/10.34834/2019.0002

  • Provide 2-3 landscape and high-res images, with credit and captions
  • Try to include at least one image which includes people – see below for further information about images and image permissions

 

Images and Image Permissions:

  • UCD Earth Institute staff can help with selecting and finding suitable images and how these should be credited and captioned
  • Images should be photographs you’ve taken yourself or ones you have permission to use from the person who took the photograph
  • GDPR: Only include people’s faces are visible if the person is you or if you have the subject’s permission
  • Most images from the internet cannot be used without permission from the person who took the image and sometime the subject unless the image is made available freely or licensed via Creative Commons, e.g. Unsplash, Creative Commons image search, Wikimedia Commons etc, and these need to be credited appropriately

 

Editing and publishing and what happens next:

  • UCD Earth Institute Associate committee members and staff will help with proofreading and editing the blog post and posting it on the UCD Earth Institute website
  • Blog posts are published on the UCD Earth Institute blog series and shared via the Earth Institute Twitter account
  • We encourage you to share your blog post via social media channels!

 

For UCD staff and students, the UCD Writing Centre provides free, one-to-one tuition and a range of workshops on all aspects of the writing process.  They also provide handouts and videos about various aspects of writing. They are based in Link Space 2 of the James Joyce Library and also offer a limited number of online sessions.

Further reading

Sarah Boon, Science Blogging 101: https://medium.com/@snowhydro/science-blogging-101-c4f232f6f99a

JSTOR Daily – engaging and accessible daily blog post based on one or more journal articles available via JSTOR: https://daily.jstor.org/

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), Berlin ‘feature stories’ series: https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/featurestories

Simon A. Perth, How to write a great blog post on your research topic? A brief guide in 9 steps: https://www.doi.org/10.34834/2019.0002

Anne Steenstrup-Duch, How to write a science blog: https://blog.sintef.com/how-to-write-a-science-blog/

UCD Institute of Discovery, Writing tips for The Conversation: https://www.ucd.ie/discovery/storiesofdiscovery/writingtipsfortheconversation.html

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