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Scientific Writing


Important Note

  • All Semester II bachelor and master psychology courses and examinations (2020-2021) will be offered in an on-line format.

  • If it is safe and possible to do so, supplementary course meetings may be planned on-campus. However, attendance at these meetings will not be required to successfully complete Semester II courses.

  • All obligatory work groups and examinations will be offered on-line during Central European Time, which is local time in the Netherlands.

  • Information on the mode of instruction and the assessment method per course will be offered in Brightspace, considering the possibilities that are available at that moment. The information in Brightspace is leading during the Corona crisis, even if this does not match the information in the Prospectus.

Entry requirements

Open to MSc Psychology (research) students


When 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 might be. 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

Learn how to write a conference abstract
Learn how to structure and write the four sections of an empirical journal article
Improve your ability to write grammatically correct, clear, and effective scientific English


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in: Psychology timetables




Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions. Master’s course registration


Students are automatically enrolled for the exam

Mode of instruction

Six obligatory 3-hour meetings including an interactive lecture and in-class assignments; four optional 2-hour writing skills workshops; detailed feedback on home assignments

Assessment method

The assessment is based on four take-home assignments (weight 2/3) and a grammar 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. 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