Writing in the Sciences

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Overview

This course teaches scientists to become more effective writers, using practical examples and exercises. Topics include: principles of good writing, tricks for writing faster and with less anxiety, the format of a scientific manuscript, peer review, grant writing, ethical issues in scientific publication, and writing for general audiences.

Syllabus

1
-Unit 1 introduces the course and reviews key principles of effective writing. In particular, you will practice cutting clutter from writing.

2
-Unit 2 focuses on writing with strong, active verbs. Lessons include how to: write in the active voice; avoid turning verbs into nouns; choose strong verbs; and get to the main verb of a sentence quickly.

3
-Unit 3 reviews how to vary sentence structure and write strong paragraphs. You will practice using the dash, colon, semi-colon, and parentheses, as well as writing well-organized and concise paragraphs.

4
-Unit 4 reviews the writing process. I will give you tips for making the writing process easier, more efficient, and more organized.

5
-Unit 5 reviews the sections of a scientific manuscript. You will learn how to format tables and figures, and how to write results, methods, introduction, and discussion sections.

6
-Unit 6 discusses the peer review process, as well as ethical issues in scientific publishing. You will learn how to avoid plagiarism, determine authorship, submit a paper, write a peer review, and avoid predatory journals.

7
-Unit 7 reviews types of writing beyond original research manuscripts. You will learn how to write review papers, grants, letters of recommendation, and personal essays.

8
-Unit 8 reviews communication with broader audiences. You will learn how work with the media, be interviewed, conduct an interview, and write about science for general audiences.

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