Professional writing skills are essential non-technical skills in academia and industry. May it be for an article publication in a scientific journal, a grant application, or a project proposal, writing is part of a professional's every-day activity.
A well-written article or grant has a higher chance of being accepted. In industry, writing internal and external project reports and proposals is a common task. Again, a well-written report or proposal will help you achieve your goals. Unfortunately, the process of writing can be problem-prone, time-consuming and dissatisfactory.
To teach post-graduates how to write papers for scientific conferences.
After the course, the students will know what makes a scientific paper
clear. The students will also be able to write more clearly, being more
confident about their writing ability and therefore looking forward to
write their scientific abstract of the meeting down for a manuscript.
1. General principles of information transfer
How do we read, and how does this influence the text, sentence length and the importance of writing in a simple way. Why is it important that we,
who do not have English as our first language, write simply?
Our lack of knowledge of nuances easily makes us do mistakes.
The importance of thinking about the readership one is writing for.
The difference between writting for a scientific audience and the interested
amateur, or the common public. Scientific results can be transferred
in three different ways: in a scientific article, as a poster, and as
a lecture. What is the difference between these?
2. When and why to publish
Discussion of large articles, pre-publication reports, etc. When is a
scientific study ready for publication? Does it have to do with
completeness? Are there too many peripheral questions still unanswered?
Should these be removed and turned to later?
3. How to choose the right journal for your report
Can your study be regarded as being of international interest? Or perhaps regional? Or perhaps national? This influences both the choice of journal, and perhaps the language. Do you regard your results as being of interest to the specialist only, or are there general findings that can be of interest to scientistst working in other fields and with other organisms? Are there other considerations? Is the impact factor of the journal important? Well known, has existed for a long time? Well known Editors? Wide distribution? Available to members of a scientific society only? Publishes colour pictures? Etc.
4. General outline of a manuscript. Important overall considerations
Structure of paper and essay. The research report.
5. The different parts of a manuscript
Title - important to think about this, because this is the part that first catches potential readers. Informative, not too long.
Abstract - informative, background, hypothesis, main results, no discussion, no references. Written differently for specialists and generally interested readers (that is, in journals of different kinds).
Introduction - short, to the point, outlining the general area and the special subfield
where your study belongs. Not too many references. Outlining the hypothesis you are going to test. If the journal allows, you may present the main conclusions here.
Material and methods - enough details so interested colleagues can repeat your study/experiment (this is important). No description of methods etc. that can be found in standard textbooks on the subject - a reference to such books is enough.
Results - indicate the trends in your material rather than data itself or statistical significances. Refer to tables and figures and do not repeat data reported there. Your main thinking should appear here (since you indicate trends).
Discussion - do not repeat your results here. Place them in a larger context and discuss them against what is already known in the field, so that your results supplement earlier knowledge. Indicate perhaps what lines further research could follow (if the journal allows this). Do not criticize previous researchers in the field unduly for their mistakes/misunderstandings/bad data, but discuss in a neutral way.
References - check them! This is he part of a manuscript where most mistakes and errors occur and this irritates editors in their work.
6. Figures and tables. Posters
What to include in figures and what to include in tables. What is the difference between these and how do you choose between them in your presentation (also think about the difference between a written article and a poster, for example). Technical run-through of important details to think of.
What parts and results of the paper are the most important and should be stressed in the title
and the abstract. Participants are also asked to write a popular abstract
of the work for the interested public.
8. Authors, editors, referees
Relationship between these groups and how authors should behave in this relationship.
9. Internet publishing
10. Business Writing
Poorly written documents can produce confusion, conflict or even losses of
productivity. For many people, the day is filled with e-mail messages,
reports, internal memos and letters to customers or constituents. This part
is designed to help you become a more precise, skilled business writer.
Discover how to compose clear, accurate and grammatically correct messages
to improve your ability to communicate effectively with others.
Background of the students
Have written a scientific abstract
Have knowledge about designing and performing studies
The book of the instructor will be provided, and is therefore included
in the course price.
This is an exceptional book. It walks the reader through all stages
of writing an abstract. Even after having written perhaps 100 papers and abstracts, we found this book an eye-opener.
We have worked with some excellent writers and re-writers on
papers, but this book lays out for all of us what some top writers
may do by instinct. Following our rules, from
sentence to paragraph to section, creates a paper that invokes an instinctive sense of clarity in the reader. The book should be very useful for all kinds of clear
writing, including the grant letters. We never took one of those "scientific
writing" classes because we felt smart and fluent and the classes
seemed pedestrian. If those classes had used this book, we would have
been way ahead to have discovered this information many years ago.
Course Statement & Objectives
This course aims to demystify the writing process and teach the
fundamentals of effective scientific writing. Instruction will focus
primarily on the process of writing and publishing scientific
manuscripts but grant writing will also be addressed. The course will
be presented in two parts: Part (1) teaches students how to write
effectively, concisely, and clearly and part (2) takes them through
the preparation of an actual scientific manuscript or grant. Moreover, new projects for improving writing skills of Tomsk IEEE
members will be held this year.
The course covering the writing process from start to finish. This informative course will cover the skills required for scientific writing but you will find that the same methodology can be applied to the writing in a project management environment.
Learn about the backbones of an article, overcoming writer's block and other methods to improve your writing, and preparing your manuscript for editor review.
Dr. Oleg Stukach
Tomsk Polytechnic University
30 Lenin Avenue, Tomsk, 634050, Russia