PH 5098-500 Foundations of Academic Scientific Writing for Public Health
This course, open to students in all departments, teaches students to write with the style, structure, and academic standards expected in American academic institutions.
Students will learn how to diagnose and revise their current writing. They will then learn to plan, research, organize, outline, draft, write, and revise persuasive documents. The documents will be the student's choice (e.g., research proposals, problem analyses, intervention plans, articles about a public health problem for a lay audience, management proposals, or policy statements).
About this Course: Learning to be an effective writer is a lifetime effort. None of your teachers in this class teach English. We are scientists who are often (though not always) effective writers. We think that every scientist is a “struggling” writer --- including us. This is because what constitutes effectiveness changes from one writing task to the next. Furthermore, for most of us, writing is not our specific career training or goal. It is something we have to do in order to present whatever does comprise our career training, goals and passions! Learning to write more effectively requires each of us to take a slight detour from pursuing the real content of our careers. Therefore, a class like this takes motivation, persistence, engagement, effort, interaction (with other writers), and practice. To achieve these improvements, you must attend class and interact with your colleagues --- including processing and applying the assigned and supplemental material so thoroughly that you become a co-teacher and coach in the class.
Learning to be an effective writer requires the application of tools – tools to figure out what is wrong with a sentence, a paragraph, a document – and tools to make a written product better. We have worked to find resources to describe a finite set of tools. We expect participants in this class to learn these tools so that they are available for every writing task. As participants learn and apply each tool, they should see immediate improvement in a written product. Each tool will build on the preceding tools. Our goal is that participants have a memorable and usable set of tools that will work for every writing task. These are not the only tools you will want, but they will allow you to create a good foundation for writing improvement in a one week intensive course.
The course is divided roughly in half with two modules of instruction: Module 1 Diagnosing and Correcting: Learning and Applying Six “Close-Up View” Principles for Clear and Compelling Writing; Module 2: Generating and Revising: Learning and Applying Six “Wide-Angle” Principles to Produce a Coherent and Persuasive Document.
Also involved in the course:
- Joseph Williams and Joseph Bizup, Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace, 5th(Pearson,
2015). ISBN-13: 978-0321953308
You should own:
- Kate Turabian: A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th (University of Chicago Press, 2013.) (Kindle version available). ISBN-13: 978-0226816388
You might find useful:
- Mimi Zeiger, Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers, 2nd (McGraw Hill, 2000).
- Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst, They say / I say: The moves that matter in academic writing, 2nd (W. W. Norton & Co., 2012). ISBN-13: 860-1401247128
Articles to Review:
- Gopen articles: http://georgegopen.com/articles/litigation/
- The Science of Scientific Writing, George D. Gopen and Judith A. Swan. http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/num2/the-science-of-scientific-writing/1
Writing Support Services
UTHealth School of Public Health offers writing support services, providing free writing instruction for all students attending the School of Public Health, at all stages of the writing process. The mission of the Writing Support Services group is to improve and enhance the public health communication skills, both oral and written, of all students to engage with diverse audiences through various media.