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Scientific Writing Course

January 29 January 31

This course offers students guidance and instruction in scientific writing. Over three days we will cover a number of topics divided between the following segments: (1) The fundamentals of academic discourse and scientific communication; (2) Writing an effective scientific abstract; (3) Research articles.

In segment (1), we will cover the essentials of scientific writing, including how to construct clear and readable sentences, how to organize paragraphs, and how to engage an academic readership. We’ll discuss matters of language and style, common writing problems and how to avoid them, and introduce several tips to help you produce polished, professional-looking documents. Segment (2) centers on how to write an effective abstract for either a conference presentation or journal article. We will cover the basics elements of the abstract and how to organize them. We’ll then analyze and critique selected abstracts from leading publications to determine what makes an abstract most effective and impactful. In segment (3) we discuss the basics of the IMRAD format used for most journal articles, i.e. Intro, Methods, Results, And Discussion. Our particular focus will be on the two most challenging sections for writers, namely Introductions and Discussions. We will look closely at the fundamental elements of these sections and learn the principal strategies for crafting them effectively. For introductions, specific topics include: how to present background information, how to establish credibility with your readers, and how to apply the “story structure.” For discussions, we will cover how to establish scientific relevance, how to situate your study in context of other published research, and how to handle unexpected or negative results.

Participants are encouraged to bring a sample of their own writing, either in-progress or recently written —although this is NOT required. Either abstracts or excerpts from research articles or dissertations are welcome, so we can “workshop” these samples, using what we’ve learned to determine how to strengthen, sharpen, and improve them. In doing so, students may see first-hand how the techniques discussed in the course may be applied directly to their own writing.


29.1.2020 (W)                     9:30-16:00            \\\

30.1.2020 (TH)                    9:30-16:00            (Break for Lunch @12:30)

31.1.2020 (F)                       9:30-16:00            ///


Dr. Jonathan Ewell (Ph.D. 2008, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) has been teaching academic writing at the university level in the USA since 2001. He has worked as a freelance editor for individuals publishing in various STEM journals in Neuroscience, Mathematics, and Bioengineering and since moving to Germany has been teaching specialized courses on scientific writing and communication.

If you would like to join this course, please email IMPRS Coordination Office (imprs.info@caesar.de). There will be max. 12 participants.