Thinking Your Way Into Research Writing

IMpaCT Short-course 


Thinking Your Way Into Research Writing

online course


To communicate research effectively, we need to present a clear logic that takes us from an interesting question to a meaningful answer. We need to show people why our questions are of interest to them and how the work we present contributes to our understanding of a problem or our ability to do something. What anyone who has tried to do this understands, though, is that our own thinking is not so linear and clean. We need to go down many blind alleys before we can help other people to avoid doing so. It is important to realise, then, that it is our own explicit thinking that allows us to present our work clearly and make it convincing. Too often, we approach the challenge of effective research writing as a problem of presentation and documentation — but just as research design can be optimised by clear thinking, so research communication is dependent on it.

In this program, we will explore key principles of research writing and see how we can exploit them to link writing and research throughout the process. We will see how we can convince people that we have the ideal combination of researcher and proposed research in proposals, and how we can use this as a framework to critically review our own findings as we build towards demonstrating our contribution in research articles. Finally, we will explore how certain frameworks of thinking can be translated into different communication output by recognising the similarities and differences between a PhD thesis, a research article, a proposal and a review article.


The program will be organised into 3 online sessions:

i) Introductory session: 23rd of April at 16h00 (PT time)

Dr. Patten will offer a general presentation on frameworks for thinking and writing about research. This is open to researchers at all levels and provides an introduction to his work and thinking at the boundary between research and writing.


Link to the open session 

Meeting ID: 860 0525 2609
Passcode: 416326



ii) 2nd session - for 20 selected participants

      Dates: 10 May, from 13:30h - 16:30h (PT time)

                   11 May, from 9:30h - 16:30h (PT time)


Then, on the 10th and 11th of May, Dr. Patten will offer a training program for a group of up to 20 participants on practical approaches to writing about research. This workshop will introduce ways of understanding and engaging with the writing process, and how you can integrate writing more effectively into your normal research activities. He will show us how different writing tasks use similar frameworks, and how we can adapt our thinking to engage appropriately with each of them. The program will provide participants with the necessary framework to establish a more effective approach to writing and will show how this can be used to enhance the research itself.


Registration form

Registration will be open from April 23rd until May 5th.

Max. 20 attendees




iii) Closed session for selected participants

       Dates: 17th, 24th, and 31st of May, from 9:30h - 16:30h 


Finally, a select group of up to 8 researchers will be able to continue working with Dr. Patten in a 3-week program (1 day per week) designed to bring their work to an advanced level. The program will take the form of a masterclass retreat. Each day will begin with a presentation by Dr. Patten on an advanced topic, followed by individual writing time, tutorials and discussion throughout the day before participants come back together as a group to present their work. It is expected that each participant has a specific project to work on, such as a funding proposal, research article or review. The sessions will take place from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on Monday the 17th, 24th and 31st of May and participants will be expected to continue working on their writing project in between the weekly session.





About the course mentor


iain patten.jpg

The consultancy and training provided by Dr. Iain Patten is unique in its focus on developing researchers’ thinking at the boundary between research and writing. Unlike most writing support and consultancy services, which focus primarily on the presentation of an individual manuscript or grant proposal, Dr. Patten helps researchers to take a step back and think as clearly as possible about the research questions they are asking and how they are translated into meaningful contributions. This approach takes into account research strategy and implementation, while taking concrete steps to ensure that data and thinking are converted into clearly presented research stories that have the highest chance of making an impact on a field.

By working closely with Dr. Patten not only on the output of their research but also on the process of generating it, researchers have found lasting benefit that enhances the work done at all levels in their groups. Dr. Patten’s extensive experience as a scientific writer and editor also ensures that groups who work with him are able to obtain the most tangible benefit in terms of research publication.