Scientific writing course

  About the course
Our two-day scientific writing course is for those whose studies or employment involves the reporting of scientific comment or research. There are no public courses. It is only available on request.

Courses are presented by Dr Annabel O'Connor or Dr Bill Parker.

Dr O'Connor has a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Melbourne and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at CSIRO. She has published numerous academic papers and popular science articles and has worked for scientific journals as an editor. She has also worked as a technical writer.

Dr Parker has a PhD in bacteriology and more than 30 years experience working in academia and business (with more than 15 years in the resources and renewable energy industries as a writer and editor). His industrial writing background has had an emphasis on scientific and engineering operating protocols, product manuals and training manuals. He has also written many reports and briefing papers for governments, has been a feature writer for international magazines and a daily newspaper, and has contributed to the scientific literature. Dr Parker has also been a grant reviewer for the NHMRC.

  Where held

The course can be held anywhere in Australia, New Zealand or South-East Asia, on-site or off-site.

  Topics covered
The curriculum shown at the right is a sample curriculum. The actual curriculum delivered will be tailored to the client's specific requirements.

  Some recent clients
  Geoscience Australia (a number of courses)
  SA Water (a number of courses)
  Biota (a number of courses)
  Department of Primary Industry, Queensland
  Canon Information Systems Research
  Department of Microbiology, Latrobe University

A fixed flag fall fee dependent on location + $25 per participant. For details, call 1800 601 116 (a free call) or contact us by email.

  Typical 2-day curriculum
1: Introduction
Why good scientific writing matters: for others and for you
2: Fundamental attributes of good scientific writing
The legacy of Francis Bacon: communicative efficacy and objectivity; the five attributes of good scientific writing: clarity, familiarity, economy, neutrality and consistency; the problems of language flux
3: Professional style
Scientific and mathematical typography; numbers, symbols and measurements; tables and figures: conventions and templates; citing and referencing: methods and practices
4: The language of language
Parts of speech; the building blocks of language; writing effective paragraphs
5: Scientific documents: types, structures and content
The IMRAD structure and its offshoots; writing abstracts; grant applications; common faults of logic
6: The process of writing
Techniques; tips and tricks; overcoming writer's bock
7: Aspects of grammar
Old rules best forgotten; subject–verb agreement; the that-or-which dilemma; comparatives and superlatives
8: Obstacles to readability in scientific writing
Sentence complexity; conceptual density; misplaced jargon; nominalisation; noun clustering; poor use of voice; poor font choice
9: Troublesome words
Words easily confused; transition words; homonyms
10: Vital punctuation
Senseless fads; hyphens and dashes; commas; parenthetic markers; brackets; colons; semicolons; apostrophes; etc.
11: Ethical issues in scientific writing
Co-authorship issues; plagiarism; fabrication; undisclosed funding; ghost citations

Click here to see a list of the topics in the reference book participants receive at no extra cost.

  For more information, call 1800 601 116 (a free call).