Archive for the ‘Medical Writing’ Category

How Authors Can Cope With the Burden of English as an International Language: Take-Home MessagesIn order for the revision process to move beyond the simple goal of “fixing” a text to a process in which EIL authors are developing their writing skills on the way toward becoming independent writers, input from both a language professional and an experienced peer is important. The language professional should ideally be a schooled and experienced applied linguist, and the peer a specialist in the subject matter of the manuscript. This ideal is difficult to achieve, in part because EIL authors may only have access to native English-speaking “amateurs.” Also, peers who are specialists in the discrete subject matter may be difficult to find. However, making the ideal available to a significant number of EIL authors is a realistic goal for the future. In the meantime, the following is our “take-home message.” other

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Background: We reviewed the patients who underwent tricuspid valve replacement (TVR) to compare the long-term clinical results of bioprosthetic valve with mechanical valve in tricuspid position.
Language Professional Draft
Background: The choice of a bioprosthetic vs a mechanical valve in tricuspid valve replacement (TVR) continues to be debated. We reviewed the long-term clinical results of TVR involving these two valves.
Peer Revision Draft
Background: Tricuspid valve replacement (TVR) has been accomplished with mechanical and biopros-thetic valves. The relative long-term merits of the two types of valves are incompletely known.
In the above, the EIL authors simply stated the nature of their research, while the language professional and peer thought that the background could be strengthened by highlighting a need for the research. In the peer’s draft, this was accomplished by stating that the relative merits of the two valves were unknown, while the language professional went so far as to suggest that the choice of valve, rather than the merits of each, was a source of debate. canadian healthcare mall

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How Authors Can Cope With the Burden of English as an International Language: Peer Revision DraftDespite improvements in the suturing method for closure of perimembranous ventricular septal defects (VSD), the postoperative incidence of complete right bundle branch block (CRBBB) has remained from 20 to 62%. Conventionally, stitches have been placed away from the posterior-inferior rim of the defect, hoping thereby to avoid the bundle of His in its left ventricular course.
The reformulation written by the language professional clearly differs from the drafts of the surgeons, who began by focusing on the unacceptably high incidence of the complication when the conventional suturing method was used. The language professional instead proposed beginning with the information given in the second sentence about the conventional suturing method because she assumed this was common knowledge. Her proposed strategy was to delay the statement of the problem until later in the introduction. She employed the often-used strategy of starting with information already known to readers. In the next sentence, she suggested that the author explain why the conventional method had been used, but she had to resort to queries to the author (in italics) rather than to a more concrete suggestion because she lacked subject knowledge. www.canadian-familypharmacy.com

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She has coauthored two books about academic writing and is on the editorial board of the journal English for Specific Purposes. She has worked as an EIL teacher for 22 years and has served as consultant for the US Department of State. Both authors brought different strengths to the audience during the interactive sessions of instruction, as indicated by the written evaluations provided by the audience.
During preparation of learning exercises, the language professional and the peer regularly worked independently to revise problematic sections of EIL manuscripts or publications, thereby creating the opportunity to compare the editing by the language professional with that of the peer. This process confirmed the contention of Parkhurst that “feedback given by… writing teachers… addresses… problems of form and/or presentation, whereas… the feedback of (subject) experts… focuses on ideas and content….” We further explore this difference through the example below. website

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How Authors Can Cope With the Burden of English as an International LanguageEnglish is the language of the most widely read and quoted medical journals. This poses a challenge for many authors whose native language is not English. Such authors struggle with the English language burden just as native English-speaking professionals are challenged by language barriers in countries where another language is spoken. Given these linguistic challenges, English as an international language (EIL) authors tend to believe that their manuscripts are significantly less likely to be accepted than manuscripts from native speakers. In reality, at least 50% of the publications in many of the best peer-reviewed journals are contributed by EIL authors. For example, from 2003 to 2005, the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery received 59 to 63% of its manuscript submissions from EIL authors (P. Fried, MBA; personal communication; January 2006) and the experience of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery was essentially the same (H. Pusztay, BA; personal communication; January 2006). For both journals, the acceptance rates of EIL-authored manuscripts is essentially the same as that for native speakers.

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