We specialize in scientific writing applied to the pharmaceutical industry and offer directed instruction in pharmaceutical research writing. Below is a description of the following:

  • Who should participate
  • Why the course is valuable
  • What the course objectives are
  • What the course format is
  • How the course can be adapted to the needs of your group or department
  • How participants have evaluated the course

Who should participate

The course is designed for all individuals in preclinical and clinical research for whom writing is a regular part of their job responsibilities. Participants in previous courses have included scientists from Discovery, Process R & D, Analytical R & D, Genetics, and Toxicology as well as clinical researchers, CRAs, biostatisticians and data managers.

Why this course is valuable

The course has been taught since 1989 and has evolved into a comprehensive treatment of writing entirely in the context of pharmaceutical research. Principles of rhetoric, audience, revising and editing strategies are presented; numerous examples are drawn from departments and disciplines in pharmaceutical research.

The course places emphasis on prewriting, or organizing the document before drafting a paper begins. This approach is a time-saving strategy that improves writers' productivity by helping them to begin drafting a document quickly, organize their ideas clearly, and check the logic of the document once it is drafted. Past participants have been successful in applying this strategy to a range of technical and scientific documents--from internal memos and reports to scientific research publications.

Course Objectives

Improving one's writing requires practice and ongoing effort. The goal of this course is to provide the tools that students need to continue improving their own writing.

Planning and organizing are critical to successful writing. In the first part of the course, we will examine useful strategies for developing a logical structure for memos and reports using the "organization tree" (an improvement over the traditional outline) as a prewriting tool. We will also practice writing introductions to attract the reader's attention and forecast the rhetorical structure of the report.

Essential to all effective writing is the revising and editing process. This process requires that writers assume the role of careful reader and editor of their own writing. In the latter part of the course, we will learn techniques for editing to improve style (jargon and scientific terminology) and improve organization (paragraph logic, sentence structure, and punctuation). Participants will undertake several in-class exercises designed to provide practice using these editing techniques

Course Format

The course consists of 12 hours of instruction as well as individual writing conferences. The schedule is flexible and can be adapted to the needs of the participants. The instructor also provides detailed evaluation and review of participants' writing projects both during the course and via E-mail after the course is completed.

Course Development

The course can be directed to both preclinical and clinical research personnel or can be tailored to specific departments. To customize the course, the instructor meets with appropriate personnel to discuss their needs and examine samples of memos and reports. These examples would be used to develop specific writing exercises, especially as applied to the first part of the course, where emphasis is placed on logic and organization. Thus, exercises could be tailored to a particular type of writing, such as a scientific research report, clinical research paper, methods paper, or protocol. The instructor also requests writing samples from each participant in the course before the program begins.

Comments from Course Participants

Response to the course has been overwhelmingly positive. Many participants take the course because they were referred by a colleague. Most notable among the answers to evaluations of recent courses (conducted at Pfizer Global R&D) was the response to the question "Would you recommend this course to a friend or colleague?" Among the comments in response to this question were these:

"Others have [recommended the course] and I will, too. It was recommended as a great course."

"I highly recommend it!"

"I have already made recommendations."

"Yes, definitely a must!"


(All comments are from course participants at Pfizer Global R&D.)

Please contact us by E-mail to discuss your training needs.

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