Scientific Writing

Font Size  SML

Cross Jeffrey Scott 
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, conference abstracts, course/lecture notes, business letters, CV/resume, research paper, thesis and patent. The course will also use video lectures in place of lecture during class time using the blended or flipped classroom teaching model.

Purpose of lecture

The purpose of teaching this course is for non-native English language speaking science and engineering graduate students to learn basic technical English writing skills needed for research activities and technical communications in Energy and Environmental Science as part of ACEEES leading doctoral program.

Plan of lecture

1. Course introduction, self-introduction, course sign-up, syllabus, course questionnaire and Canvas LMS.
2. Written personal communications and conversational strategies for group work
3. Touch typing trial and drills (how many words per minute can you type?), taking notes from lectures and letter writing group work
4. The written case study and research question approach vs. scientific method
5-6. Academic publishing縲(mpact factors, and online searching strategies of the published literature
7-8. Writing papers for top tier journals and academic journals including exercises
9. Plagiarism, publishing ethics, retractions, and case studies of academic misconduct
10. Peer review, rubrics, and groupwork including self-assessment vs. peer assessment differences
11. In class, peer evaluation of student workshop extended abstracts and feedback (MISW)
12. Writing a research proposal and thesis
13. Writing a resume (online-linkedin), biosketch or CV
14. What is intellectual property, how to write a patent and patent claims.
15. Course evaluation survey, course feedback and MOOC comments

Textbook and reference

An outline of lecture notes will be made available on the course Canvas website and students working in groups will be assigned to prepare the detailed course notes of each lecture.
Reference books from which course material was taken are listed below.
1. "Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students", Stephen Bailey, Routledge, 3rd ed. 2011.
2. "Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded", Joshua Schimel, Oxford University Press, 2011.
3. "Science Research Writing: A Guide for Non-Native Speakers of English", Hilary Glasman-Deal, Imperial College Press, 2009.
4. "The Craft of Research (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)"
Booth, Wayne C., University of Chicago Press, 3rd ed., 2008.
5. "A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers", Kate L. Turabian, 8th Ed., University of Chicago Press, 2013.
6. Academic and Business Writing, edX MOOC from UC Berkeley,

Related and/or prerequisite courses

An advanced conversational English ability (TOEIC score > 700 points or equivalent) is required for taking this class and for participating in groupwork discussion in-class. Please bring a notebook PC, tablet PC, or IPad preferably with a keyboard/internet browser and Wi-Fi (titech-pubnet) or WiMax capability beginning the third week and every week thereafter. Class attendance is limited to 20 students and if more than 20 students are enrolled, preference is given to ACEEES leading doctoral program students and students with highest English ability.


Course Grade Assessment: 30% attendance/participation, 70% writing assignments and quizes. Three or more unexcused absences from class will result in an "incomplete" as the course grade i.e. attendance is compulsory. 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 to receive a final grade for this course. Optional homework writing assignments will be given for extra credit. No excused absence are given for missing class due to research activity.

Comments from lecturer

This class is being taught as an ACEEES leading doctoral program core course. This course will be taught on the Ookayama campus in the EEI-211 classroom with video linkage to the Suzukakedai G115 classroom. The class dates, topics, and classroom location may change in order to accommodate classroom observation by visitors. Twice during the semester the instructor will be in Suzukakedai instead of Ookayama.
The course will use online media extensively and a restricted access open source Canvas learning management system. Although the course basic syllabus is available on OCW, the course website on Canvas will be the main depository. Touch typing (typing without looking at your fingers 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.
Students who are ready to submit a paper to a journal for publication or present their results at an international conference will benefit the most from enrolling in this class.

Contact Information

Jeffrey S. Cross, e: cross.j.aaツシ, t: x3723

Office Hours

After class or by appointment


The instructor is a native English speaker with a USA Midwestern accent (standard).

Page Top