This chapter on writing also emphasizes that design and analysis are part of scientific communication. An article is a package of information. Design-analysis and exposition go hand in hand. Good design and good analysis facilitate good writing.
Writing skills, as essential as they are, are utterly neglected in most graduate schools. I have for many years included one lecture on writing in my design-analysis course, but one lecture can barely sensitize students to the issues. A graduate course in scientific writing would be far more effective than any book that relies on self-study.
The conception of sentences as units is integral to language structure, especially written language. Each written sentence has a beginning, indicated by a capital, and an end, indicated by a period. The capital prepares your mind to receive an idea; the period signals that the idea has now been presented. If the sentence is well-written, enough of that idea will have been communicated to allow you to proceed. Capital and period are basic inventions for organization of thought.
Sections as units are prescribed in the standard format for experimental reports: Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, and References. Further section levels may appear within each of these main sections, indicated by headers. Typical Method and Results sections contain two or three levels of header.
Section unitization has a twofold function. It helps the writer organize the exposition. Similarly, it guides the reader in assimilating the material. The importance of both functions is recognized and formalized in the standard use of headers and sub-headers in scientific communication.
One objection to first-person style is that most writers become self-conscious and awkward with “I” and “we.” Their self intrudes between the reader and the material. With “I think that, ” the writer's opinion begins to displace objective content.
My own objection is that first-person style is just a cosmetic device. It diverts attention from more basic writing problems. Not one of the foregoing principles and tactics has any essential relation to first-person style. By removing your self from what you write, you can better understand what your words will be saying to your reader.