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Joint Medical Program Library Resources: Writing

Writing Guides, Manuals, etc.

Style Guides

Tame Your Inner Critic

UCB affiliates can access the resources at the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD), including lots of tips and workshops on writing, publication, and more. One thing they suggest is to tame your inner critic:

Inner critic: What you’re writing sounds stupid.
You: I’m just getting my ideas out on paper so they’re easier to sort out. I’m obviously rearrange everything later. Relax.

Inner critic: I can already see <insert Senior Scholar> tearing my work down.
You: Everyone knows that Senior Scholar is also a jerk who tears everybody’s work down. There are literally five other scholars in that same field who have told you that your work is not just good, but cutting-edge.

Inner critic: Someone’s already done this research. Don’t waste your time.
You: My angle to this research is totally different. Plus, it’s important to have different perspectives within the same research area.

NCFDD also produces the Dissertation Success Curriculum: a series of trainings to learn how to navigate around the common barriers to finishing the dissertation in the context of a supportive community.

The Politics of Citation

"One of the feminist practices key to my teaching and research is a feminist practice of citation."

From The Digital Feminist Collective, this blog post emphasizes the power of citing.

"Acknowledging and establishing feminist genealogies is part of the work of producing more just forms of knowledge and intellectual practice."

Here's an exercise (docx) to help you in determining how inclusive you are when citing.

Additional Resources for Inclusive Citation Practices:

  • BIPOC Scientists Citation guide (Rockefeller Univ.).
  • Conducting Research through an Anti-Racism Lens (Univ. of Minnesota Libraries).
  • cleanBib (Code to probabilistically assign gender and race proportions of first/last authors pairs in bibliography entries).
  • Balanced Citer (Python script guesses the race and gender of the first and last authors for papers in your citation list and compares your list to expected distributions based on a model that accounts for paper characteristics).
  • Cite Black Women Collective; in particular, their 5 Guiding Principles:
    1. Read Black women's work;
    2. Integrate Black women into the CORE of your syllabus (in life & in the classroom);
    3. Acknowledge Black women's intellectual production;
    4. Make space for Black women to speak;
    5. Give Black women the space and time to breathe.
  • CiteASista.

Writing Help @UCB

Here is a short list of sources of writing help available to UC Berkeley students, staff, and faculty:

Other Resources

The National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity has many workshops, webinars, blog posts, and more on writing, including Core Curriculum of writing trainings, and a Webinar Library, and more. Topics include:
- How to Write an Article in No Time;
- Five Tips for Making Your Writing Shorter;
- Daily Writing for Academic Scientists and Engineers;
- Making an Impact: Communicating Your Scholarship;
- Supporting Academics with ADHD;
- Writing for a Broader Audience: How to Convey Complex Ideas in Clear, Accessible Prose.

The PLOS Writing Center is a collection of free, practical guides and hands-on resources for authors looking to improve their scientific publishing skillset. It includes:

  • How to Write a Great Title;
  • How to Write an Abstract;
  • How to Write Your Methods;
  • How to Report Statistics;
  • How to Write Discussions and Conclusions;
  • How to Edit Your Work;

and more, as well as an option to subscribe to the free, biweekly PLOS Writing Toolbox.

The International Society for Disease Surveillance has recorded webinars on Strategies for Improving Grant and Scientific Writing (scroll down to view).

Pautasso M. Ten simple rules for writing a literature review. PLoS Comput Biol. 2013;9(7):e1003149. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003149.

Conducting the Literature Search.
Chapter 4 of Chasan-Taber L. Writing Dissertation and Grant Proposals: Epidemiology, Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics. New York: Chapman and Hall/CRC, 2014.

An expansive framework to go from idea to abstract to introduction to table of contents to full paper/dissertation/thesis/book.
This model presents a unified framework that can help writers develop their papers, book chapters, dissertations, etc. From the blog of Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega, which is full of excellent tips on writing. See also his post How to undertake a literature review.

Here are the PowerPoint slides from the September 26, 2019 Lit Review Session, presented by the Public Health Librarian.

Here are the PowerPoint slides from the May 9, 2019 Lit Review Review, presented by the Public Health Librarian.