How do I learn to write about antibiotics?

If you are trained as a scientist, and working in research, if you cannot write papers for publication, posters and talks for conferences and grant proposals for funding, you are dead in the water. You already know that.

So, how can you be taught how to write?

Simply, you are supposed to know how to do it. You passed courses in English and in English composition, you had to prepare lab reports even in middle school. You do know, but you have forgotten.

Before you start any research project, you need to understand what you are looking for, and why. This needs to be written on a white board in the lab or office or wherever you can see it every day, before you start work. If your goal changes because what you were looking for was not there, then you change your written goal.

Let us go through the steps of a simple experiment which we will do with a database.

Let us pick the ClinicalTrials.gov database. Our research project is to find out how many clinical trials are underway for antibiotics, and for which diseases. Why is because we want to know if our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have a chance of surviving antibiotic infections that are being treated now with antibiotics that are less and less effective.

Once we have collected the data with a search, we look at it, and see what these data tell us. Altogether, 186,727 clinical trials are listed, and of these, 7,598 clinical trials were concerned with antibiotics. Narrow the data down to diseases. Pneumonia: 356. Narrow it further. Community-acquired pneumonia: 108. Tuberculosis: 168. Malaria: 29. Strep: 50. Injury: 177.

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