The Fridays – the Introduction some more…

"certain angle, certain light"
“certain angle, certain light”

I know it has been a while, sorry about that. This application had to out, and a few nights in a row writing until 3 in the morning fries your brain a bit. At least it fried mine.

I promised to continue about the introduction, and maybe a funnel. Well that is still what the introduction should do. It sets the problem, and places that problem in a larger setting from the start. So instead of saying that the coffee was so expensive in the store, we rather talk about the rain problems in Brazil, which lead to bad harvest, which drove the prices up. You get the point.

Then slowly, or if you have a limited amount of words, you zoom in to the last paragraph where you summarise what you are about the talk about in more detail.

The aim of our study was to investigate the underlying paradigm shift in coffee prices world wide, and in Scandinavian roasters in particular. We found a strong correlation between rainfall and the quality of bean used in Sweden, however in Finland lack of compromise on the use of, and availability of lesser beans drove the prices up by 12%.

You see in this made up scenario the end of the funnel.

Now you may wonder why the picture of the angle. Well I was asked how to find your own voice in a scientific text. Often there is little room for a personal opinion, so how to stress your view in a review of the literature and while mapping out the problem? It seems difficult if you want to be comprehensive over selective.

In writing about the problem and during the selection of literature to represent there is always a key paper that gives you insight or inspiration or both. For example, in my doctoral dissertation I seemed at first all over the map. I did some protein engineering, then we ran out of funding, then we worked on a different enzyme I isolated from a hyper-thermophile, and I improved some methods to make more protein. Finally, some computation modelling was done on some of our proteins as well. What as mess right?

Then I found a paper, and its message can be summarised in three concepts: you either make it, find it, or improve the process. Eureka, my patchwork was sown together: I was engineering a protein: making it. We delved in the data-bases to find the enzyme I isolated: finding it. I improved methods (processes) to improve things. I put that candy shell around the rest and it worked.

The story, the literature, the funnel, all introduction (I ended up splitting the stories up in 4 chapters) were all the same. I just found a better angle, I just found my own voice…

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