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Scientific Writing


Entry requirements

Open to MSc Psychology (research) students


If you are not able to write a compelling article, your academic career will be a constant uphill battle — no matter how excellent your ideas and research are. As a scientist, you need to be able to explain your work to other scientists, and do this clearly, effectively, and convincingly. Despite the fact that good writing skills are of crucial importance (both inside and outside of academia), very few courses in the Dutch educational system teach proper scientific writing. As a result, students are left to improve their writing skills largely by themselves, through trial and error. This is unfortunate, because anybody’s writing skills can be considerably improved with only a little instruction.

In this course, we will cover the basics of scientific writing by means of weekly plenary sessions, exercises and small-scale feedback sessions. All teaching materials are tailored to the needs of a psychological researcher in action. After completing this course, you will be on your way to becoming a better writer, and, perhaps, a better scientist as well.

Course objectives

Learn how to write a conference abstract
Learn how to structure and write the four sections of an empirical journal article
Improve your ability to write grammatically correct, clear, and effective scientific English


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis.
You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from early August. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December. The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC)

By registering for a course you are also automatically registered for the Brightspace module. Anyone who is not registered for a course therefore does not have access to the Brightspace module and cannot participate in the first sit of the exam of that course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

Six obligatory 3-hour meetings including an interactive lecture and in-class assignments; four optional 3-hour writing skills workshops; detailed feedback on home assignments

Assessment method

The assessment is based on four take-home assignments (weight 2/3) and a writing skills exam (weight 1/3).

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

  • English for Writing Research Papers by Adrian Wallwork
    Paperback: 377 pages
    Publisher: Springer; 2nd ed. 2016 edition
    ISBN-10: 3319260928
    ISBN-13: 978-3319260921

  • Reader with exercises

  • Lecture notes: selected articles.

Contact information

Prof. dr. S. Nieuwenhuis