Improving scholarly writing at RAND

by Constance U. Greaser

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Rand's Publications Department believed that improving the prose entering the production process would reduce costs. To that end, the Department decided to enhance the research staff's writing skills by organizing an Effective Writing Workshop. A project director joined with the Department in designing the first course and offered his researchers as subjects; the experimental course was so promising that the Workshop is now offered regularly. The Workshop presents basic principles for writing effective sentences and paragraphs and organizing documents. Particular attention is paid to shaping documents for specific audiences. All examples and assignments are drawn from the writing of the class participants. The present form of the Workshop includes two sessions on designing effective briefings. A waiting list for the Workshop and requests for advanced instruction attest to the success of this experiment in improving communications skills.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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