Hosted by Dr. Kristin Sainani, this two-day workshop is for anyone who needs to write for the scientific literature, from novices to experts.

Day 1 will teach participants how to write in a more clear, concise, and engaging style by letting go of “academic” writing habits. Topics include cutting clutter; reducing repetition and gratuitous jargon; and using strong, active verbs.

Day 2 will break down the key elements of each part of an original research manuscript, including introduction, methods, tables,  figures, results, discussion, and abstract. 

Learning Objectives:  

  • Recognize the problem of poor writing in the scientific literature   
  • Differentiate well-written from poorly written prose  
  • Spot and eliminate clutter in scientific writing   
  • Recognize passive voice and replace it with active voice and strong verbs  
  • Understand the basics of the publication process   
  • Understand the structure of each section of a scientific manuscript   
  • Recognize the importance of constructing tables and figures that tell a clear story   
  • Use the correct verb tenses for scientific manuscripts  

Day 1: Principles of Effective Writing

1pm-1:30pm: Introductory exercise

Dissecting a paragraph from the literature

Discussion: what makes good writing?

1:30pm-2:15pm: Recognizing and cutting clutter from writing

  • Long words and phrases that could be short
  • Empty words and phrases
  • Unnecessary repetition
  • Unnecessary jargon and acronyms/abbreviations

2:15pm-2:45pm: Writing and editing exercises in groups

2:45-3:00: Break

3:00-3:30: Writing with verbs

  • Don’t turn verbs into nouns
  • Use the active voice
  • Use strong verbs
  • Keep subjects and verbs together at the beginning of the sentence

3:30-4:00pm: Writing and editing exercises in groups             

Day 2: The Writing Process, Scientific Manuscripts, Communicating Quantitative Results

8am-8:45am: The writing process

  • Discussion: How do you motivate to write?
  • Tips for avoiding procrastination
  • Pre-writing, writing the first draft, revision

8:45am-9:00am: Introduction sections

  • Known, unknown/gaps, aims

9:00am-9:30am: Exercise in groups: Introduction sections

9:30am-10:00am: Results, methods, tables and figures

  • Methods section tips
  • Results section tips
  • Tables versus figures
  • Telling a story with tables and figures
  • Formatting tables and figures for readability

10:00am-10:15am: Break

10:15am-10:45am: Exercise in groups: Tables and results

10:45am-11:00am: Tips on communicating quantitative results

11:00am-11:20am: Discussion sections

  • What was found
  • Context
  • Strengths and limitations
  • Take-home message/implications

11:20-11:45am: Exercise in groups: Discussion sections, quantitative results

11:45am-12:00pm: Wrap up  


Tickets may be puchased for one or both days.


Kristin Sainani (née Cobb) is an associate professor at Stanford University. She teaches statistics and writing; provides statistical support on projects in sports medicine; and writes about health, science, and statistics for a range of audiences. She serves as the statistics editor for the journal Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) and as an associate editor for the journal Research Quarterly in Exercise and Sport. She authored the health column Body News for Allure magazine for a decade, and she authors the statistics column Statistically Speaking for PM&R. She received Stanford University's Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award for the Biosciences in 2018. She provides online training in statistics through Stanford’s Medical Statistics Certificate Program, and she teaches the popular Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Writing in the Sciences on Coursera.



Scientific Writing Workshop

  • November 1 - 2, 2022
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick