Internet Enduring Material Sponsored by the Stanford University School of Medicine. Presented by the Departments of Medical Education and Health Research at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Course Description

Many physicians and medical researchers have not had a formal training in scientific writing and have not had mentors in their professional setting to assist them with improving this skill. Scientific writing is an important skill enabling effective disseminating of medical knowledge, clear communication and obtaining grant funding. This course seeks to improve skills in scientific writing as it applies to publishing clear and effective scientific papers and reviewing clinical research.

This course was repurposed from the original MOOC titled Writing in the Sciences that was given over several weeks. This course is self-paced and provides all material at the same time.

Release Date:

May 1, 2015

Latest Review Date:

April 24, 2018

Expiration Date:

 April 24, 2021

Estimated Time to Complete:

20 Hours

CME Credits Offered:


Registration Fee:


Intended Audience

This course is designed to meet the educational needs of an international audience of physicians, residents and medical researchers in all specialties.

Table of Content

Module 1: Principles of effective writing (cut the clutter)
Module 2: Principles of effective writing (verbs)
Module 3: Crafting better sentences and paragraphs
Module 4: Organization; and streamlining the writing process
Module 5: The format of an original manuscript
Module 6: Reviews, commentaries, and opinion pieces; and the publication process
Module 7: Issues in scientific writing (plagiarism, authorship, ghostwriting, reproducible research) 
Module 8: How to do a peer review; and how to communicate with the lay public

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Develop skills to write clear and interesting research papers that demonstrate the ability to: develop the abstract, introduction, content including methods and the results using good style and grace.
  • Develop strategies to apply principles of effective writing as it pertains to reviewing and publishing peer review papers.


  • Review the information below and complete the entire activity.
  • Complete the CME Post-test, CME Assessment Survey, and CME Activity Completion Statement at the end of the activity.
  • You must receive a score of 75% or higher on the post-test in order to receive a certificate. You will have two attempts to answer each multiple-choice question (or one attempt for questions with only two options) to pass the post-test.
  • Once you attest to completing the entire online activity and have scored 75% or higher on the post-test, your certificate will be generated automatically and will be available on your Dashboard page.
  • Physicians will be awarded AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. All other participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

* Participation in content marked Optional is not certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Hardware/Software Requirements

  • Computer with Internet connection
  • Current version of Chrome, Firefox or Safari browser. You must have javascript enabled.

Commercial Support Acknowledgement

This activity received no commercial support.

Cultural and Linguistic Competency

California Assembly Bill 1195 requires continuing medical education activities with patient care components to include curriculum in the subjects of cultural and linguistic competency. It is the intent of the bill, which went into effect July 1, 2006, to encourage physicians and surgeons, CME providers in the State of California and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to meet the cultural and linguistic concerns of a diverse patient population through appropriate professional development. The planners and speakers of this CME activity have been encouraged to address cultural issues relevant to their topic area. The Stanford University School of Medicine Multicultural Health Portal also contains many useful cultural and linguistic competency tools including culture guides, language access information and pertinent state and federal laws.

You are encouraged to visit the portal: http://lane.stanford.edu/portals/cultural.html

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  • Mike McAuliffe 
    Stanford EdTech
  • Greg Bruhns
    Stanford Online

Course Director

Charles Prober, MD

Senior Associate Dean, Medical Education
Stanford School of Medicine
Course Director

Kristin Sainani, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor
Health Research and Policy
Co-Course Director

Course Contact Information

For further information regarding the content, CME credit, or if you experience any technical difficulties with this enduring material please contact us.

CME Online Support
(650) 736-9761

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