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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

At the end of the course, the student can:

  • write a conference abstract

  • write an introduction section, results section and discussion section of an APA-style empirical journal article

  • write grammatically correct, clear, and effective scientific English


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. You cannot take an exam without a valid registration in My Studymap. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

Six obligatory meetings including interactive lectures and in-class assignments; four optional writing skills workshops; knowledge clips to be watched prior to class meetings; 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. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. 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