Speaking the Same Language ™

Writing Science in Plain English

Case Study

The Canadian Centre for Science Communication was hired by Health Canada to work with their environmental science team to improve their writing skills with a focus on science writing for a non-science audience.

Learning Objectives

Informed by the latest research in communication theory, we custom-designed the Writing Science in Plain English workshop to help scientists, policymakers, researchers, and communication professionals improve their science writing so that it’s read and understood by non-science audiences. In this two-day workshop, participants analyzed written work in their area of expertise and then experimented with writing for different audiences. The workshop focused on basic but important writing elements such as vocabulary choice, grammatical structures and stylistic features that will help participants craft more impactful scientific messages. By reading science that’s written in plain English, non-scientists can make informed decisions on scientific research.

Workshop Outline


Effective communication, overcoming barriers and biases;


Audience-centered writing, audience analysis, psychographics and demographics;


Writing for different audiences-expert, technical and novice;


Writing with cultural differences in mind;


Basic writing principles, grammar and structure, organization, passive and active voice;


Translating complicated science into easily understood language;


Technical writing skills and writing checklists;


Writing to be understood, information requests to policy makers;


Writing a briefing note;


Writing executive summaries;


Responding to difficult questions.

Workshop Participant Feedback

Loved this workshop and was custom-designed with our unique needs in mind.

Most helpful, especially the audience analysis and writing organization tips.

I will apply everything I learned in this workshop to my work.

Great job on what could have been a dry subject.

My writing has improved. I’ll always remember active vs passive voice.


Definitely a 10 for this workshop.