The course on writing scientific papers shows participants how to master one specific type of document. The effective writing course takes a much broader view, and aims to show participants how to put their message across - and not just out - to a broad range of readers in a broad range of different documents.
At the start of the course participants identify their own writing problems. One of the most common is not having a clear idea on what makes writing effective. The course provides a measurable solution.
Other skills participants will learn on the course include:
We have been particularly encouraged by how many people told us that the course had increased their confidence, as well as their skills. One wrote : 'This was the singularly most useful course I have ever undertaken. It has changed the way I write, the way I plan presentations and my self confidence about the messages I am trying to convey. I have had two chapters of my thesis returned by my (normally highly critical supervisor) with no "corrections".'
'Writing effectively involves a series of steps. These can be taught and learnt like any other skill.'
My original intention, when I started to run this course in 1990, was to show health professionals (starting with doctors) how to write simple, clear English. But I soon realised that this was not going to work because many people throughout the health services clearly valued writing that was pompous and difficult to understand!
Over time the course started to change its focus: how to write rather than criticise what had already been written, how to undertake the task efficiently and effectively, how to measure whether a piece of writing worked – or failed.
Over the years we ran the course for many different groups: doctors, dentists, nurses, health authority workers, writers for the pharmaceutical industry, medical journalists and more. We also adapted the course for specific groups, such as medicines information pharmacists and public health doctors.
Clients for this course included: BMJ Publishing Group, Welsh School of Pharmacy, Sandwell Health Authority, London Public Health Medicine Training Programme, Medical Defence Union, NHS Executive, King's Fund.