Home > The Seminars > Scientific Writing

Scientific Writing

Core Skills For Scientists

Scientific Writing 2.0

Two and a half days

Minimum entry requirements
Graduate, Researcher 

Class size 
Optimum 16 participants 
Maximum 21 participants
A special version of this course is also designed for large lecture halls (300 participants - three days)
Your trainer
Jean-Luc Lebrun has managed research programs while working at Apple Computer in its Advanced Technology Research group for over ten years. He subsequently invested his energy in the commercialization of research. He teaches scientific writing at the following A-Star* research Institutes: BII, BSF, BTI, CMM, DSI, GIS, I2R, IBN, ICES, IHPC, IMB, IME, IMRE, NMC, SBIC, SIMTECH, SISC, and SSCC. He also provided this course at NUS (National University of Singapore) and SMU (Singapore Management University), and at medical research Institutes within SGH (Singapore General Hospital).

*Agency for Science, Technology And Research. Singapore

Course Synopsis
This course is based on the book Scientific Writing 2.0: a Reader and Writer’s guide. It helps identify and articulate the differences between efficient and deficient scientific writing. Through many in-class exercises, it promotes good scientific writing habits such as conciseness and clarity. The course material is mostly provided by the participants: they bring a published or draft paper (6 to 12 pages) to the course and learn how to evaluate and improve it. The book is given to each participant. It includes a DVD with a unique Java application (SWAN, Scientific Writing Assistant) to help assess the quality of writing at a structural level.

Career opportunities 
Good scientific writing skills open up many opportunities to the researcher: publications, conference or seminar attendance. They also lead to better patents, better research partnerships and better funded research. Clarity and efficiency in scientific writing bears witness to the quality of a researcher; it influences career promotion.

Target participants 
Graduates & postgraduates who recently joined a Research Institute. Researchers who wish to improve their scientific writing skills (seasoned researchers have indicated how much they have benefited from this course, even after writing more than 20 papers). Researchers whose native language is not English but whose English writing skills are average.

Course structure 
Introduction: Write to be read - a reader and reviewer perspective. How to avoid the writing pitfalls that make the memory-bound, attention-bound, and knowledge-bound reader stumble.

Module 1: 
The Why and the How of elements of the standard scientific paper structure: title, abstract, introduction, body (headings, subheadings, tables and graphs), conclusion, and references.

Module 2: 
Elementary principles of composition: reaching clarity, conciseness, organisation, precision and fluidity in writing to convincingly support the scientific contribution and be accepted for publication.

Module 3: Identification of writing problems: a walkthrough process to detect structural problems at the sentence, paragraph, and paper level 

Mode of assessment 
Participants bring their writing sample (not a review-type paper). At the end of the course, this sample is significantly improved.