Scientific Writing

Font Size  SML

Cross Jeffrey Scott 
Fri3-4(W833 G311)  
Lecture1  Exercise1  Experiment0
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Access Index
Spring Semester

Outline of lecture

This course uses a task-based learning approach to teach scientific writing skills to science and engineering graduate students. The classroom time is divided into lecture, group discussion/work on lecture topics, and student-student peer review/editing of written assignments. The tasks covered in the course consist of writing e-mail messages, course/lecture notes, business letters, CV/resume, research paper, thesis and patent.

Purpose of lecture

To teach basic technical English writing skills needed for research activities at the graduate student level specifically for non-native English language speaking science and engineering majors.

Plan of lecture

1. Course introduction, self-introduction, course sign-up, your desired learning outcomes & course questionnaire.
2. Touch typing trial and drills (how many words per minute can you type?), taking lecture notes using the wiki (pbworks)and ESL conversation strategies.
3. Plagiarism, publishing ethics and case studies of academic misconduct
4. Peer review in-class, rubrics, and groupwork including self-assessment vs peer assessment differences
5. Writing letters of inquiry, e-mail messages, texting/social media, journal submittal etc.
6. Types of research journals and writing styles used in academic journals vs. prestigious journals
7. What is an impact factor and why is it important for academics
8. The written case study and research question approach
9-10-11. Writing a thesis based upon research papers using a story telling approach, argument development, communications with journal editors including writing manuscript revision rebuttals
12. Writing a resume or CV based upon your skill assessment
13. What is intellectual property and how to write patent claims.
14. Course evaluation and learning outcomes

Textbook and reference

An outline of lecture notes will be made available on the course wiki and students working in groups will be assigned to prepare the detailed course notes of each lecture.
Reference books from which course materials was taken are listed below.
1. "Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students"
2. "Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded"
3. "Science Research Writing: A Guide for Non-Native Speakers of English"
4. "The Craft of Research (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)"
Booth, Wayne C.
5. "A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers" (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing) Turabian, Kate L.

Related and/or prerequisite courses

A conversational English ability (TOEIC score > 650 points or equivalent) is essential for taking this class and for participating in groupwork exercises in-class. Please bring a notebook PC, tablet PC, or IPad preferrably with a keyboard/internet browser and Wi-Fi capability beginning with the 4/19 class.


Course Grade Assessment: 30% attendance/participation and 70% writing assignments (group/individual). Attendance (compulsory), in-class participation in groupwork, course note taking, and completion of homework assignments. Late homework will be accepted after the submission deadline but assessed after taking into account a 30% point reduction or penalty. All homework assignments must be submitted in order receive a final grade for this course.

Comments from lecturer

This class is being taught as a ACEEES core course. This course will be taught on the Ookayama campus in classroom W833 with video linkage to the Suzukakedai campus G311 and G1-820 classroom. The course dates, topics, and classroom location maybe subject to change in order to accommodate for observation and other factors.
The class scheduled on April 26 will be canceled and the April 30th class will be rescheduled to May 2nd in W9 bldg. collaboration room with the start time TBD. No lecture is scheduled on June 21st. A make-up class is tentatively scheduled for 7/26.
The course will use online media extensively and a course specific wiki with restricted access ( Although the course basic syllabus is available on OCW, the wiki will be the main depository for this course. Touch typing (typing without looking at your fingers touching the keys on the keyboard) is an important skill that is needed for this class, since real-time in-class group writing and discussion will take place.

Contact Information

Jeffrey S. Cross, cross.j.aaツシ

Office Hours

After class or by appointment


About half of the course content is taken from a discontinued Technical Communications course (# 99322) previously taught by the instructor from 2002 to 2012. The instructor is a native English speaker with a USA Midwestern accent (standard).

Page Top