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***This course is fully booked*** This online interactive course for MSD postgraduate research students and early career researchers provides insights on how to structure and write a research paper for peer-reviewed journals. This course consists of pre-work in Canvas before a live online session.


Canvas course completion deadline (to ensure you can attend the Zoom session): Tuesday 25 May 09:00

Zoom session: Tuesday 1 June, 10:00-11:30

To forge a career in medical science, you need to write research papers for peer-reviewed journals. This online course will give you insider insights from a former journal editor who knows journals from many angles. It will show you how to structure and write your research paper to give it the best chance with a journal. You will learn how to describe your results, their meaning and their context more clearly and precisely. You will discover the conventions for research paper style, including how formal it should be. You will gain insights into structuring your paper and its abstract and get some tips on writing the title. You will have a chance to draft your own abstract and an outline of your paper, and get feedback on it from other participants, while giving feedback on theirs. Guidance for planning the writing process and getting into the writing habit will also be included.

Note that this course does not teach English grammar but instead focuses on common errors made by authors of medical journal articles and on getting the correct level of formality and precision in your research papers. If you need help improving your general academic writing skills, contact the University Language Centre.


On this course you will learn how to:

  • Get motivated to write and get the paper finished
  • Organise your paper to help readers find the information they need
  • Structure your abstract to get as many readers as possible for the whole paper
  • Write in a style best suited for journal papers.




This course consists of materials and exercises to work through (on Canvas) plus a Zoom session with Cofactor trainers to help you digest the material and ask questions about it. There will be a quiz on Canvas that you will need to pass before you can book for the Zoom session (you can retake it multiple times). To participate in the live session, you will need to pass the quiz in Canvas by a week before the scheduled Zoom session (no later than 25 May). You can take the Canvas course without the Zoom session if you wish, but not vice versa.


No preliminary work is needed before you start the course on Canvas. The course requires 5-6 hours of independent study to complete (not including the Zoom session), though you can take longer if you want to.

To attend the Zoom session, you must have completed the course on Canvas, as assessed by the quiz. The Zoom session will not be useful if you have not watched the videos, looked through the handouts and attempted the exercises on Canvas. We also ask you to submit a question before the Zoom session that you would like answered in the session. You will also need a good internet connection and some uninterrupted time.


It is now a requirement that you complete the three short questions in the survey you receive after attending the course. Once you have submitted the survey, you will be sent an email with a link to your attendance certificate. This is to ensure we receive the feedback we need to evaluate and improve our courses. Survey results are downloaded and stored anonymously.

Please be aware that Cofactor also send out their own feedback survey in addition to the one from MSD Skills training.


Where no cost is indicated in the shopping trolley, no deposit is required. However, two or more non-attendances or late cancellations without good reason will be logged and may mean you cannot attend any further MSD training that term. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for further information.


Cofactor on behalf of MSD Skills training.


This course was developed by Cofactor founder Anna Sharman, an experienced researcher trainer who has been a postdoc, an in-house biology journal editor and a publishing consultant. The interactive session will be facilitated by two of Cofactor’s experienced associate trainers. Cofactor is an inclusive and environmentally friendly company. See