Scientific and Technical Writing

Date & Time

Friday, 02 October 2015
09:00 to 16:30


Graduate Student Centre, 6371 Crescent Rd, UBC, Point Grey campus

Offered by

Graduate Pathways to Success and Mitacs Step

Registration Closed / Past Event


Please note this is a 2-day workshop, scheduled for Friday, October 2 and the following Monday, October 5.

* This session is being offered in collaboration with the MITACS Step program. Mitacs Step offers a holistic, inter-disciplinary approach to professional skills development. The workshops that are offered provide practical tools in business, communications, and project management through experiential learning from industry professionals in an interactive environment, arming graduate students for success within or beyond academia.

Workshop Objectives

Expand your knowledge of the necessary editorial, grammatical and structural conventions to create quality, impactful writing.

Learning Outcomes

You will learn to:

  • Analyze your audience and tailor your writing to them
  • Identify the components of a technical report
  • Make effective use of writing and editing techniques
  • Use graphics effectively

Key Topics

The Writing Process

  • Audience analysis
  • Purpose, tone and genres
  • Document organization
  • Using standard forms (i.e., theses, journal papers, poster presentations)
  • Persuasive, informative writing techniques
  • Components of technical reports (i.e., abstract, introduction, results, conclusion)
  • Staying motivated and dealing with procrastination

Grammar and Editing

  • Principles of punctuation
  • Ordering sentences and ideas
  • Sentence clarity (i.e., avoiding general language, vague subjects, noun strings and prepositional phrases)
  • Constructing concise sentences (i.e., descriptive verbs, avoiding empty sentence openers)
  • Creating connections (i.e., paragraph structure, sentence transitions)


  • Types of graphs
  • Incorporating graphs in text
  • Colour and layout

Facilitator: Michael Sjoerdsma has taught in the School of Engineering Science at SFU since September 2003. He teaches a number of courses encompassing various aspects of technical communication. Because of his technical training as an engineer, Michael has firsthand knowledge of the requirements needed for effectively communicating technical material. Michael has taught technical writing for the Management Skills and Advanced Technology program. He also provides writing and editing services for graduate students, professors, and private companies. Michael is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and several other professional associations.

Refreshments: Beverages and light lunch will be provided. Please bring your own mug.

Information about upcoming Graduate Pathways to Success events can be found at:

Registration Information

Please note this is a 2-day workshop, scheduled for Friday, October 2 and the following Monday, October 5. Participants must commit to attending both days.

NO SHOW FEE: This is one of our most popular workshops and we must run a full session of 24 students. No shows are costly for our program and, most importantly, leave students on the waiting list. Students who register and do not show up will be charged a $25 no show fee. To avoid this fee, please cancel at least 48h in advance by e-mailing This will allow us to add someone from the waiting list and run a full session. If we are able to fill your spot from the waiting list, you will not be charged. 

Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from all BC post-secondary institutions are eligible to register. If you are a postdoctoral fellow or a non-UBC student and would like to register, please send an email to: For UBC graduate students, the workshop registration form will appear at the bottom of the event page on If you do not receive a registration confirmation or waitlist e-mail from or within 2 working days of registering we recommend e-mailing us to follow up as this indicates we have not received your registration submission.


If you have a disability or medical condition that may affect your full participation in the event, please email, 604-827-4578, well in advance of the event.