Effective Writing in the Biological Sciences, Summer 2021 Workshops

Session 1: Friday, June 25, 2021 from 10am-12pm on Zoom

Session 2: Friday, July 2, 2021 from 10am-12pm on Zoom

*Registration is now closed.*

Session 1.  Clarity and focus in scientific writing. Friday, June 25, 10AM-noon. As a writer, you may feel that you are often forced to choose between clarity and precision. If you include the details that your argument needs, your writing may seem overstuffed and cumbersome. But if you omit details, the keys to your argument disappear. In this workshop we’ll learn how to focus arguments without sacrificing complexity. The true origin of the problem lies not in the complexity of your data, but in the structure of your sentences. We’ll learn concrete techniques to build sentences and paragraphs that can adequately house your ideas and your data, without leaving your readers behind.  

Session 2.  Grant proposals, abstracts, and introductions:  communicating the value of your work. Friday, July 2, 10AM-noon. During the course of your career you will write many documents that boil down to some version of one of the following sentences: “Give me money because ” or “Read this article because.” This workshop will focus on what comes after the “because.” How can you make sure readers understand how your work contributes to knowledge in your field? How can you do this without claiming too much about your work — or too little? We will practice writing techniques in grant proposals, abstracts, and introductions that make clear why your work is valuable — and that help you to focus the rest of an article or proposal on the most important aspects of your research.   

We’ll ask that you submit a short (1-5 page) writing sample to the instructor by Friday, June 18, 2021. You need not write anything new; you may submit a section of a grant proposal or article that you have already written. You’ll email your sample directly to the course instructor, Tracy Weiner, at tweiner@uchicago.edu.

About the instructor

Tracy Weiner is Senior Associate Director of the University of Chicago Writing Program.  She’s a lecturer in the Writing Program’s “Little Red Schoolhouse” (aka Academic and Professional Writing), a quarter-long intensive course that helps advanced writers meet the demands of writing as an expert in a profession or academic discipline.  She has led writing seminars and mini-courses for University of Chicago graduate students, postdocs, physicians, and faculty in the social sciences, humanities, physical sciences, and biological sciences. 

Please RSVP below. A Zoom link and reminder to submit your writing sample will be sent to you in advance of the workshops.