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Writing Resources

Writing Worshops hosted by FAES

This four-week, writing-intensive workshop is designed for NIH trainees and scientists at all levels. Participants will write a draft of a research paper based on data generated from their current, or previous, study for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. More information at: https://faes.org/content/scientific-writing-workshop

Scientific Writing from the Reader's Perspective

George Gopen, JD, PhD

The approach used by Gopen is based on a single idea: to improve your writing, learn how readers go about their reading. Readers know where to look for what. Learning what readers do allows a writer to control what readers learn. Dr. Gopen's workshops have changed participants' writing habits permanently, often resulting in improved grant writing success. This workshop is appropriate for anyone in the NIH community who has an interest in writing effectively. Note that the second session builds upon the first.

Here is what Dr. Gopen has to say about his presentations:

In the working world, the writer is usually the expert (however momentarily), writing for an audience that has a need to know something. We call that rhetorical act "communication." No one cares how hard the writer tried or how much progress has been made since the last effort. In the professional world, the important person, where prose is concerned, is not the writer, but rather the reader. The bottom line question where writing quality is concerned is simple: Did the reader actually get delivery of that which the writer intended to send? If the answer is yes, the writing was adequate; if the answer is no, the writing was inadequate.

View the Videocast of Day 1 (HHS Only) [RAM, Total running time, 6:34:05]
View the Videocast of Day 2 (HHS Only) [RAM, Total running time, 5:57:34]

You can read about Dr. Gopen's approach to writing in:
Gopen, G.D., and Swan, J.A. (1990) The Science of Scientific Writing External Link , American Scientist 78: 550-558.

Grammar and Punctuation Resources

  • Eggenschwiler, J., Biggs, E.D., and Reinhardt, C.L.W. (2011) CliffsNotes Writing: Grammar, Usage, and Style Quick Review, 3rd Edition
  • Strunk, W., Jr. and White, E.B. (1999) The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition [or the 2008 50th Anniversary Edition]
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Fellows Editorial Board

The NCI/CCR Fellows Editorial Board offers NIH and FDA trainees a free, confidential scientific document-editing service.