• NEW: Practice Plain Language: Video Presentation
    Dr. Crystal Herron, a board-certified Editor in the Life Sciences, offers these tips to improve the readability of your writing.

    1. Shorten words.
    2. Shrink sentences.
    3. Stick with periods.
    4. Avoid jargon.
    5. Favor active voice.

    Check out a recording of Dr. Herron's recent presentation to VUMC here.

    Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
    Does every paragraph need a topic sentence? Is that modifier dangling? Are you confident when it comes to subject-verb agreement? If these questions give you even a little pause, visit Purdue University's OWL resource. This flexible, self-guided refresher course covers the fundamentals of good writing. Dig deep and start at the beginning.
    ...or jump to the OWL exercises page to quickly review some important basics:

    Don't miss these OWL essentials:

    The Vanderbilt University Office of Biomedical Research Education & Training (BRET)
    Beginning a new manuscript? Ready to revise?
    These detailed, self-guided lessons will help you improve organization, logical flow, and sentence structure.

    Daily Writing Tips
    The articles here can further refine your skills. Topics covered recently include "the use of 'they' for gender identity" (now accepted by the AMA Manual of Style) and "How to write concise, active sentences." The site's short quizzes are also instructive.

    Grammar Girl
    How does i.e. differ from e.g.? If you are wondering about this or some specific aspect of grammar, consult Grammar Girl.

    Recommended Books

    • Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Writing, 4th ed. (Springer, 2018)
      Rent it from Amazon for $8.50:\ Note: Eskind Biomedical Library has a copy of the 3rd edition (1996), but the 4th edition has been updated to reflect significant changes in medical publishing.
    • AMA Manual of Style: A Guidebook for Authors and Editors, 11th ed. (Oxford University Press, 2020)
    • Available online from the VUMC Eskind Biomedical Library


  • CARE-Writer is an online application that helps authors organize and format the information necessary to write systematic and transparent case reports while following the CARE case report reporting guidelines. Case reports written with CARE-writer can be downloaded as a first draft for articles to be submitted to scientific journals.