Effective Scientific Writing

Umair bin Waheed

This course will develop participants’ expertise in the writing process and provide insight into the readers’ expectations.


The purpose of a scientific article is not the mere presentation of information and thought, but it is actual communication. An article describing a great scientific discovery may mean nothing unless a large majority of the reading audience accurately perceives what the author had in mind. Therefore, to improve writing, we must understand how readers go about reading and interpreting texts. Such an understanding is vital for researchers to ensure their articles are well-received by the scientific community.

Length of Course

One-day short course/eight hours

Pre-requisites (Knowledge/Experience/Education Required): 

The course is designed to be followed by anyone with broad scientific knowledge. However, experience in written critical analysis of the scientific literature in English will be useful. The course is an ideal opportunity for participants who have completed sufficient research to begin writing an article for publication.

Course Description

In this course, participants develop their expertise in scientific writing by drafting part of a research article based on their original work. Participants learn the elements of successful writing in science: 1) To recognize and use the persuasive aspects of conventional written structure; 2) to use analysis, feedback, and revision to develop and maintain a strong collaborative writing process; and 3) to craft clear, concise, and compelling arguments to establish new scientific knowledge.

More specifically, this course will develop participants’ expertise in the following areas:

Writing process: Writing well forces writers to devote attention and energy over extended periods of time.  We will consider how to develop an effective writing process and how to manage its various steps, including soliciting helpful feedback and responding effectively to works in progress.

Readers’ expectations: In the real world, nobody cares about the writer; they care only whether the readers received from the document the information they needed and wanted.  We will examine readers’ expectations by analyzing our own responses to one another’s writings.

Revision: Effective scientific writing is composed, condensed, and concise, but almost no one writes that way on a first draft.  We will develop numerous strategies to demystify the revision process at all levels, from sentences through to documents.  We will consider how to evaluate a draft for revision and how to ensure that each subsequent draft moves closer to the most effective final draft.

Learner Outcomes:

At the conclusion of this course, learners will:

  • Understand the structure of scientific and technical documents
  • Develop an effective planning process for manuscripts
  • Motivate and persuade a scientific audience
  • Revise sections of research articles effectively

Instructor Biography

Umair bin Waheed