How to be an Efficient Science Writer

How to be more efficient at each stage of the writing process

Time management

Learn how to improve your time management and permanently develop efficient writing habits.

Document design

Learn how to efficiently produce a first-draft research paper or science report. Learn how to align your project design with your document outline. 

Prioritising what you write

Learn what to do before you start writing, how to get started and how to stay on track to produce a content-rich, first-draft document.

Are you an inefficient writer? 

The Problem:

The ability to communicate science effectively is often limited by a lack of education in writing skills.

When writing about science it is easy to drift away from your key topic when researching, planning and writing. This is especially true when writing reports or papers for large projects. 

The pressure of getting the science right often causes science writers to be too perfectionist in their approach, exacerbating inefficient writing behaviour. 

Inefficient writers commonly:

- take a long time to finish a document.

- are not happy with the final product.

- dread the prospect of writing.

- suffer from procrastination and writer’s block.

- don't spend enough time thinking about their central aim and key messages.

- lack confidence in their writing ability.

This often results in:

- Writing that lacks clarity and focus.

- Excessive time spent editing, writing and rewriting.

- Excessive, incorrect or untimely feedback.

- Poor appreciation of your hard work and talents.

- Lack of reader engagement.

The Solution:

Improving your writing efficiency will help you:

- reduce writer fatigue and anxiety.

- produce higher quality documents.

- improve your confidence as a writer.

Dr Marina Hurley shows you how to stay on track and be more efficient at each stage of the writing process.

Marina will show you how to:

     - get to the point, quickly and effectively.

     - avoid producing seemingly endless drafts.

     - think clearly about what you want to write.

    - decide who you are writing for.

Irrespective of your topic, background, level of writing experience or document type, you can implement these steps to develop your first draft or rework a current document.

By following the steps and writing exercises outlined in this course, Marina shows you how to permanently improve your writing behaviour.

You are given downloadable pdf worksheets that will help you to produce content for your first-draft documents. You can also reuse these worksheets for future projects or if writing different documents from the same project. 


Key Course Features

The course shows you how to efficiently produce a first-draft document that meets your needs as a science writer. You will be guided through Marina's unique approach of considering what to do before you start writing, how to get started and how to stay on track and produce a content-rich first-draft document. This course shows you how to permanently develop efficient writing habits.

Learn how to...

- Get your thoughts and ideas down quickly
- Manage your time effectively
- Avoid distraction and procrastination
- Effectively manage your writing projects

- Monitor your productivity
- Produce a content-rich first draft of a new document

- Thick critically about your writing and what you read 


- Pre-recorded lectures and course video guides

- Writing exercises and example answers

- Worksheets (planning, getting started, problem solving and producing content)
- Checklists, infographic and other educational handouts

- Course roadmap

- Additional resources and tuition for Premium members


Course Structure & Delivery

- The course is designed for incremental learning with each lesson (step) building on from the previous one.

- There are four modules delivered over four weeks for Premium members, while Self-Study members can complete the course sooner if they wish.

- All members will have 12 months access to the course. 

Skill improvement (topics covered)

Writing - planning - critical thinking - document design - identifying your audience - researching your topic - effectively capturing thoughts and ideas - correct use of essential science writing terminology - time management - seeking and receiving effective feedback - prioritising the writing process.

See the Course Outline for the module and lesson headings

Course Content

The course consists of four modules, with 3 - 4 lessons (steps) and 3 - 6 writing exercises per module.


Module 1: Introduction

Step 1: How the course works

Step 2: How to define or clarify your project aim

Step 3: The priorities of science writing

Step 4: How to effectively manage your writing time


Module 2: Getting started

Step 1: How to plan the stages of document production

Step 2: How to identify the target audience and purpose

Step 3: How to align project design with document structure

Step 4: How to produce a content-rich first draft


Module 3: How to manage the writing process

Step 1: How to prioritise the writing process

Step 2: How to critically evaluate your writing

Step 3: How to seek and respond to feedback


Module 4: Course wrap-up

- How to maintain effective document version control

- How to develop efficient reading, citation and note-taking habits

- How to monitor your writing productivity

- Course recap and additional resources

Benefits & Outcomes

Improve your time management

This course will help you deal with procrastination, distractions and writer's block. You will learn how to plan sufficient time for writing. 

Improve the way you write

Marina shows you how to avoid 'going down the rabbit hole', when researching your topic, designing your aim and objectives and producing your first draft. 

Improve your productivity

As you become more efficient at writing, you will be able to produce more documents within a similar period of time or have more time to devote to other tasks and activities.

Improve your confidence

Improving your efficiency, productivity and ability to stay focused when writing will reduce stress and allow you to feel more confident as a writer. 

What this course does not cover

How to be an Efficient Science Writer does not cover:

  • - How to write clear sentences and paragraphs, how to write concisely and document design are covered in face-to-face workshops. Also, there is also a new online course we offer: The Essentials of Sentence Structure. To find out more, go to www.writingclearscience/
  • - The Essentials of Paragraph Structure and How to Write Clearly & Concisely are the next courses due for release late 2022/early 2023. To be kept up-to-date with new courses and blogposts, please subscribe to the Writing Clear Science newsletter. 

(To request an invoice prior to booking, please email

Who is this course for?

The course is designed for both experienced and inexperienced writers

- If you are an experienced writer and want to improve your efficiency and productivity, this course will help you reduce the time you spend writing, editing and rewriting your work. 

- If you are new to science writing, this course will help you understand the essentials of clear, straightforward sentences, without needing an in-depth knowledge of grammar.

Research scientists

This course will benefit research scientists who regularly publish their work.

Non-academic scientists

This course will benefit graduate scientists who do not publish research and rely on their scientific investigation and reporting skills to solve environmental, economic, medical or social issues.

Postgraduate science students

This course will benefit postgraduate science students from any discipline: for example medicine, life and environmental sciences, engineering, chemistry and physics. The course will also benefit students from other academic disciplines.


This course will benefit science graduates who work as consultants or within consultancy firms and rely on their scientific investigation and reporting skills to solve environmental, economic or social issues.

(To request an invoice prior to booking, please email


Course Fees

with 20% discount for Alumni students*

*Any person who has completed any type of Writing Clear Science training.

Email for your 20% student alumni discount code.

Self-study enrolment

Bookings NOW AVAILABLE 2022

Immediate access to the course. Self-guided learning.

20% discount for Alumni students*



  • Immediate start.
  • Work at your own pace.
  • 1 year access to Course Library.
  • Writing Exercises (with example answers).
  • Downloadable worksheets & handouts. 
Premium Enrolment 

Next release: 19th September 2022

Four online modules released over five weeks, with live weekly tutorials (x4) and instructor feedback.

20% discount for Alumni students*



  • 4 modules released over 5 weeks. Next release 19/09/22
  • Tutorial Group & Live Tutorials
  • 1 year access to Course Library.
  • Feedback on Writing Exercises (with example answers}. 
  • Downloadable worksheets & handouts. 

20% Alumni Discount

Any person who has completed

Writing Clear Science training is eligible for the 20% Alumni discount

To request an invoice prior to booking, please email


Premium Member course release: 19th September 2022

Bookings close 16th September 2022


Premium versus Self-Study Enrolment

Self-Study Enrolment

- The self-study enrolment gives you 12 months access to the entire online course library. 

- All writing exercises have example answers.

- Budget-conscious students can work at their own pace and use the course roadmap to guide through the course. 

Premium Enrolment

- In addition to 12 months access, premium members have access to 4 x live weekly tutorials, where Marina answers your questions and gives further tuition on key topics.

- You will also receive written feedback on your writing exercise answers and access to the online tutorial group. 

(To request an invoice prior to booking, please email



Geordie Scott-Walker

Consultant Ecologist 

"I always found it challenging to balance efficient reporting with high-quality outputs. The How to be an Efficient Science Writer course has given me great confidence in this pursuit.

The course provided me with a robust toolset that is delivered within a clear and straight-forward framework, which emphasises key science-writing principles. I now take a more structured approach to writing tasks and have a much clearer idea of the time required to deliver high quality writing products. 

I recommend the course to both early and mature professionals looking to build their skills from scratch, and those looking to sharpen their current approach to science writing.  Marina, thanks again for providing such a great course."

Sherine Jansz

Medical Research

"Your workshop really helped me brain storm ideas before I started to write so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with the amount of thoughts and information I needed to incorporate into reports. A course well worth the time. No hesitation to recommend."

Clancy Hall

Research Scientist

"I completed ‘How to be an efficient science writer’ in the first year of my PhD. Prior to the course, I ticked every box for inefficiency and felt I needed help.

I credit Marina for teaching me, step by step, the skill of producing a scientific document in a time frame expected at a professional level. I am so grateful for the knowledge I gained and have continued to use for every writing project since."

Simone Haigh


Project Manager

"I have produced so many written materials after graduating in 2008, and I really wish I had done this course when commencing my career.

It has introduced me to many writing strategies and topics that I now realize I had previously taken a bit of an ad hoc approach toward. It has also been invaluable in helping me put a lot more structure and rigour around my approach to the current document I am preparing.

Thank you again for an excellent set of teaching materials, the course has really helped me up my game.."

Manjeeti Juggernauth

Marine Biologist

"...when I went through the course, I absolutely enjoyed it and I wished I knew about it earlier! Your teaching did so much good beyond what I believed it would.

Above all, your teaching has helped me develop my confidence and has been a huge transformation for me with my current working environment.

Writing has been an ongoing struggle for me but, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart that your teaching has been an invaluable tool, not only to help me with my writing, but also with my general communication. Life in the workplace has become less daunting and I will definitely recommend this writing course!"

Roxanne Francis

Research Scientist

"The How to be an Efficient Science Writer course has given me the tips I needed to get over that initial hurdle to just start writing.

I now use the things I learnt in the course almost everyday and I feel less dread when it comes to writing. Highly recommended."

Marina Hurley  

About the course Instructor, Dr Marina Hurley

Originally an ecologist and insect-plant specialist,  I received my PhD in  Zoology (Insect-plant interactions) in 1997 and then worked as an academic and researcher. I found that I loved giving students feedback on their writing and switched to teaching writing full-time in 2004. Since then, I have developed a unique approach to teaching science writing that I deliver through my Writing Clear Science workshops and online courses. I teach scientists, students and science professionals from all walks of scientific life and all science disciplines.

I always look forward to seeing what current projects my students are working on and find it immensely rewarding to see how my teaching has helped so many people. In this current online course How to be an Efficient Science Writer, I show you how to rapidly develop a content-rich first draft document.

You can read my blog here 

You can read more about my background here:

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time will it take to complete the course?

- The minimum time commitment is 2-4 hours per week, depending upon how much time you take to complete each writing exercise, what module you are working on, how much writing you do as you complete the course and whether you are a self-study or premium member. 

- While completing the course, you are encouraged to prepare a first draft of a document. How long you take to do this is up to you. 

- For premium members, during the 4 week course release, Marina hosts a live tutorial webinar every week. These tutorial last 25-30 minutes and the replays are posted in the course library in case you cannot attend.

Do I have to start the course immediately? 

Self-study students can enrol for this course at any time. You can complete the course at your own pace as you have 12 months access to the course library.

For Premium students: the next course release is Monday 19th September, with one module released per week. You can complete the course at your own pace as you have 12 months access to the course library.

Does this course include editing? 

No. However, in our new online course, The Essentials of Sentence Structure, Marina teaches how to improve your sentence structure and clarity.

Is the course taught by live online lectures?

No. All educational material is delivered through the online course library. All lectures are available as pre-recorded videos (each a maximum 10 minutes in length). The exercises and worksheets need to be downloaded and completed on your own computer. 

Premium members receive additional tuition and assistance via 4 weekly live tutorials where Marina discusses the exercises and key teaching principles in further depth and answers any questions. All tutorials are recorded if you cannot attend live. For Premium students, Marina also gives feedback on all exercise answers within 1-3 days after submission.

Do I need a background in science to complete this course? 

Marina Hurley primarily teaches scientists, science students and science professionals. While you do not need a science degree to complete this course, you will be expected to understand the basic principles of how science works.

This course is primarily designed for science writers producing peer-review science journal articles and science reports, including consultancy and client reports. However, if you are writing other types of documents you will still benefit from this course. 

Is this course suitable if English is my second language? 

Yes. However, you are expected to be able to write grammatically-correct sentences in English. If you are a Premium student and submitting your exercise answers for feedback, Marina may include additional feedback on how to improve your writing if the meaning is unclear.

How do you define 'science writing'?

Marina broadly defines science writing as writing about science. 

"...The key feature of all types of science writing is that the topic under discussion is a scientific topic:  that the information presented has been gathered, analysed and critiqued using accepted scientific methods. This is true whether you are presenting new science (e.g. research papers, theses), reviewing research by others (e.g. literature reviews, desktop reviews), reporting scientific approaches and methods to solve commercial or industry issues (e.g. reports, policy reviews) or writing about the astonishing world of science (e.g. news or magazine article)."

Read more from Marina's blogpost 'What is Science Writing?'.

Is being far away from Australia a difficulty for taking this course?

No. If you submit an exercise for feedback, Marina takes an average of 1-3 days to respond. If you have any problems with any aspect of the course, we will respond within 24 hours and aim to solve your issues in the shortest possible time. The live tutorialss (for premium members) are run at 1pm AEDT, so you would need to check your timezone to see if you can attend live. Otherwise, the replays are placed in the course library within 24 hours.

Do you teach grammar or how to improve my sentences in this course? 

No. However, if you are a Premium student and submitting your exercise answers for feedback, Marina may include additional feedback on how to improve your writing if the meaning is unclear.

Also, how to write clear sentences is now available as a different online course The Essentials of Sentence Structure. To find out more about this course, go to www.writingclearscience/sentence-structure

Can I do the exercises if I don't have a current project?

Yes. The writing exercises are designed to help you produce content for a current document. However, you can choose a completed project or design a hypothetical project to help you complete the writing exercises and achieve your learning objectives.

Are there other ways to pay besides going through the Trybooking link?

Yes. To request an invoice or other ways to pay, please download, then complete the pdf Registration Form, and return to

Are there any discounts available if I have completed other training with you? 

Yes. If you have ever completed any previous training with Writing Clear Science you are eligible for the 20% Alumni discount* on either course. 

(To request an invoice prior to booking, please email

Refund Policy

You can apply for a 100% refund if you are not satisfied with the course within 7 days of course commencement. Please note that you will not be eligible for a refund if you have progressed further than Step 3 Module 1.

Please also read our Terms & Conditions