Get started: Advanced Writing in the Sciences

Tackling a new topic?

If you are unsure of where to start, try looking for a review article first. Review articles attempt to summarize the state of research on a scientific topic. While lengthy and not generally including the very latest research, review articles can be a great way to start to get a handle on a topic. Many databases will allow you to limit your search to include only review articles or literature reviews. There are a number of approaches to searching:


  • Don't overlook the literature cited at the end of the article. The bibliography contains a wealth of information about the key discoveries and main researchers in the field.  

Key Resources

Find more databases of Key Resources by Subject

The subject guides are a rich source of information for research in the field, containing links not just to articles but to statistics and more. Databases specific to your discipline provide better access to articles, improved searching, and other additional services that can help guide your research.

Examples of what you may find in the subject guides:

Can't find an article?

To request a copy of a journal article that the library doesn't have, please use the ILLiad request form. Most often, an electronic copy of the article is emailed to you within 2-4 days.

Online Reference

Online references are typically sources of information that covers a broad range of topics, such as an encyclopedia. A selection of online reference are listed below. You can also browse the complete list on the library's web site.

What is the peer review process?

Research Tutorials

Writing Guidelines

Scientific Writing

PLoS  Writing Center

Craft of Scientific Writing webpage was designed to help students communicate their technical work---writing, presentations and with media. The guidelines include background information  and advice on Assessing the Audience, with guidelines for Correspondence and Report formats.

  • For engineering students, use this guide for additional help in technical writing.
  • For health sciences students, use this guide for additional help in technical writing.

Here are more books about writing in the sciences.

Need More Help?

Click on the name of the subject specialist below for their contact information and subject guides.

Boston and online students and faculty, please contact:

  • Jodi Bolognese (Engineering, Physics)
  • Philip Espinola Coombs (Nursing, Nutrition, Physician Assistant, Speech Pathology & Audiology, Communication Sciences and Disorders)
  • Lauri Fennell (Health Informatics, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physical Therapy, Public Health)
  • Kathy Herrlich (Behavioral Neuroscience, Linguistics, Physics, Psychology)
  • Alyn Gamble (Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Marine Science, Mathematics)
  • Rachel Landis (Computer Science and Information Science)
  • Alissa Link Cilfone (Biology, Biochemistry, Bioengineering)

Oakland students and faculty, please contact:

  • Robert Hamaker (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Health Science, Mathematics)