Principal Investigators Association


Scientific and Medical Writing for Investigators


Scientific and Medical
Writing for Investigators

By: Nancy Parmely
Foreword by: William E. Russey, Ph.D.

Overview -
“…the skill of writing well is a skill that can be developed, and for those in
a profession that demands a considerable amount of painstaking writing
(as with virtually every scientist or medical professional engaged in
research, for example), time invested in improving one’s writing is
time very well-spent indeed.”

- From the Foreword by William E. Russey, Ph.D.
A fundamental purpose of writing is to be understood. To be truly understood, however, the writer’s message must be clear. Therefore, the goal of all good writers is to meet this demand for clarity by making their message as well-defined and understandable as possible.
The writer of science and medicine, however, faces an even greater demand. The expectation generally held out for scientific writers is that all discussion will be presented with an impeccable clarity that reflects their professional pursuit of scientific precision. In other words, it is expected that, for work that is precise, reporting on that work must be equally precise.
Though learning to express yourself with such true precision is demanding, acquiring this skill is well worth the effort– precision adds unique dimension to the value of clarity. Like a diamond cutter who uses precision to increase the clarity of a beautiful stone, scientific writers can use precision to highlight the value and relevance of their work. Those who successfully do so stand to benefit greatly from such high-quality writing and the endorsement that it will invariably receive.
This 159-page guide describes a focused effort to rapidly improve your ability to write with precision and style.
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  • Nancy Parmely is a freelance writer living near State College, Pennsylvania. She attended the University of Iowa, and has been involved in the writing and editing of both technical and non-technical projects for over 30 years, maintaining a flair for original and expressive wording, instructive illustrations and detailed explanations. Nancy continues to write and edit extensively in the sciences, working not only with individuals but also with several professional organizations as well, including the Gas Research Institute, Polished and Professional and, more recently, with the Principal Investigators Association. She can be reached at [email protected]


  • Dr. William E. Russey, who wrote the Foreword to this report, is a Professor Emeritus in Chemistry at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. While pursuing his PhD at Harvard University, he was awarded grants from both the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He currently serves as an editorial consultant and translator for VCH Publishers, Germany (now a division of John Wiley).

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