Successful Scientific Writing

Learn how to communicate about your research findings more effectively and expedite publication of your manuscripts. Major components of the course include basic sections of a scientific article, principles of style for writing in public health, systematic approaches to the process of writing, and publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal.



July 1 - 31, 2024

RHEDI Format


Online (asynchronous)



2 Course credits

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Professionals/Continuing Education

Current Degree Seeking Students

Non-degree Special Standing

In this course students have the opportunity to interact with peers to learn how to communicate the findings of scientific research and investigation more effectively in writing to expedite the publication of peer-reviewed manuscripts. Over the course of four weeks, students will engage in problem solving and practical application of scientific writing skills. Specifically, students will critique actual published and unpublished manuscripts, including their own, and solve a wide range of exercises that exemplify the real-world challenges that authors face. Through discussions with other peers, students will learn from one another’s experiences. Students will have the opportunity to work on a draft thesis, study data, or a draft manuscript in development and to turn this material into a manuscript ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

No prerequisites required.

  • List the basic sections of a scientific article
  • Describe the purpose, organization and elements of each section of a scientific article
  • Describe the value of the abstract in communicating scientific information
  • Apply specific strategies to ensure that elements of the abstract are both internally consistent as well as fully consistent with the content of the body of the article
  • Apply a systematic process for developing a title for the article
  • Explain the value of preparing tables and figures before writing the text of the results section
  • Explain how applying the “new/useful” test can help an author decide when NOT to write a paper
  • Describe guidelines for effective use of the active and passive voices
  • Write and revise text from published and unpublished manuscripts in ways that improve clarity and brevity
  • Describe the value of and strategies for obtaining feedback from coauthors and colleagues in “chunks” and on a frequent rather than occasional basis
  • Describe the value of selecting a target journal before writing an article
  • Explain why it is essential to read the target journal’s instructions for authors before writing the article
  • Use digital resources to review the literature and publish
  • Discuss effective strategies for dealing with comments of journal editors and reviewers
  • Revise a manuscript based on the principles presented in class
  • Discuss ethical and professional issues in the writing and publishing processes


Scott JN McNabb, PhD, MS

Scott JN McNabb, PhD, MS
Research Professor

Thank you for your interest in this course. This course is no longer open for enrollment. Explore additional RHEDI course offerings that are now available >>

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