Communication Skills

Scientific Writing

"After all, what are the chief differentiae between man and the brute creation but that he clothes himself, that he cooks his food, that he uses articulate speech? Let us cherish and improve all these distinctions." - Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, On the art of writing

The requirements for writing a report, essay and literature review have been provided in the First Year Skills booklet and you should be fairly proficient in these styles by now. In Intermediate courses you will need to further develop your mastery of these styles and take time to develop an appropriate scientific style of communication. Brief notes on writing a practical report, an essay and a literature review are given in the Scientific Writing (pdf) notes and in specific sections of the manual. The section on Scientific Writing is more related to the effective use of English and gives details on general scientific writing style, scientific conventions and grammar.

Using the English language to successfully communicate scientific findings does not come easily to most people. Choosing the correct words and using correct grammar are skills now rarely taught in schools, so many University students are at some disadvantage. The notes are designed to encourage you to think more carefully about how effectively you write and to give you an introduction to the format and conventions required for different types of written scientific works. There are a number of questions, written in italics, throughout the text. You should answer these as you work through the notes. Answers to certain questions are available at the Generic Skills Website.