CB 399: The Art of Scientific Storytelling: Transform Your Research Manuscript Using a Step-By-Step Formula Spring 2015

The Art of Scientific Storytelling:  Transform Your Research Manuscript Using a Step-By-Step Formula

Nanocourse Director: Dr. Fred Winston
Curriculum Fellow: Emily Gleason, Emily_Gleason@hms.harvard.edu and Joya Mukerji

Lecturers: Dr. Rafael E. Luna, Instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of The Art of Scientific Storytelling.

Research manuscripts are written to have an impact on the scientific community and to be cited by others. However, there are thousands of research articles published in our respective fields each year. Is it possible to distinguish one’s research paper by communicating science in a clear and compelling fashion?

This interactive nanocourse provides instruction on how to write a scientific manuscript using the structural aspects of storytelling, i.e. dramatic arc. We will explore the logic of narrative craft and adapt it to writing a scientific manuscript. Dr. Luna will introduce his Scientific Storytelling method for writing research manuscripts. During the first session, instruction will be provided on the implementation of the Scientific Storytelling method into the basic components of a research manuscript: Title, Abstract, Figures, Results, Introduction, and Discussion. Registered students will then apply these concepts towards writing a title and an abstract for their own research, which will be critiqued and revised during the second and third sessions. Registered students must attend all three sessions and write and revise a title and abstract (see assignment) to receive credit for this course.


First Session: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 2 – 4 PM
Location: TMEC, Rm. 209
Second Session: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 2 – 4 PM
Location:TMEC, Rm. 448

Third Session: Friday, April 24, 2015 2 – 4 PM
Location: TMEC, Rm. 448

Assignment: After the first session, registered students should prepare and submit a title and abstract of their current graduate research or research of their respective laboratory. The title (115 character limit including spaces) and abstract (200-250 words) should incorporate aspects of the Scientific Storytelling method discussed in the first session. Please send your documents (either Word or pdf files) to Emily Gleason (Emily_Gleason@hms.harvard.edu) by 5pm on Sunday April 19th.  Emily will then compile these documents and share them with the class prior to the second session. Please come to the second session prepared to critique your peers’ work (see guidelines below). A subset of the titles and abstracts will be discussed in class.

At the end of the second session, Dr. Luna will return comments on the titles and abstracts to each participant in the class.  Students will then revise their work in response to the feedback they received.  Revised abstracts will be due prior to the start of the third session. Please send your documents (either Word or pdf files) to Emily Gleason (Emily_Gleason@hms.harvard.edu) by 12pm Thursday April 23rd.  We will workshop the remaining titles and abstracts that were not discussed in the second session and discuss some of the students’ revisions.

Guidelines for critical analysis:

Your critique should be divided into two halves: 1) the areas that worked well and 2) the areas that may need improvement. One must remember that the focus is to improve the scientific writing abilities of each participant. If there are grammar mistakes, please note them on the title or abstract.  However, please keep the emphasis of the critical analysis on the content and clarity of the work. We will consider major aspects of the Scientific Story in your analysis. Finally, let’s write our commentaries in a positive and helpful manner.

Registered students will receive a complimentary book: The Art of Scientific Storytelling: Transform Your Research Manuscript with a Step-By-Step Formula.



DROP DEADLINE: Tuesday, April 7, 2015