Overview

The Scientific Writing Resource is hosted by the Duke University Graduate School. It contains three self-paced, on-line lessons designed to improve the quality and readability of scientific writing. Scientific writing is defined as technical writing by scientists to communicate with their peers, for example, in a journal article. Although the lessons focus on scientific writing, the principles of clearer and more cohesive writing can also lead to better communication with non-scientific audiences.

The lessons cover subjects/actions, cohesion/emphasis, and simplicity. One lesson takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Each lesson presents three or four principles. The author illustrates each principle with examples of poorly-written scientific prose and suggests ways to make the examples clearer. After reading the lesson, the learner can download a worksheet and try their hand at revising awkward writing.

From the Web Page

The goal of writing is communication. These lessons do not put forth absolute rules. If the intent of the writer is communicated, the writing was effective, regardless of rules kept or broken. Instead of rules, these lessons provide principles of communication and writing from the reader’s perspective…. If you know what readers expect, then you can fill that expectation. Approaching writing like this will help you improve your written communication.

This resource addresses competencies targeted by the Speaking for the Resource module of the Career Academy for Natural Resources.

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