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How to write a paper

Me pēhea te tuhi rangahau

Please note this course is now full. If you would like to go on a waiting list please email

Thursday 11 February 2021

Are you an emerging researcher, or clinician who would like to start publishing your own peer-reviewed manuscripts?

How to Write a Paper will demystify the publication process, and guide you through it – from planning a paper, through to writing it effectively, and finally dealing with the occasionally-brutal peer-review process. In this interactive course, you will come along with an idea for a paper you would like to write, and then work on throughout it the day as each session progresses.

Topics covered  

In this course, we will cover the following:

  • Planning and structuring your publication
  • Habits of highly-effective writers
  • Crafting a solid Introduction
  • Communicating your Methods succinctly
  • Effectively communicating your Results
  • Bending and shaping your Discussion and Conclusion sections
  • Choosing (and using) referencing tools
  • Picking a journal to submit your paper to
  • Approaching and dealing with the peer-review process

Style of course

This is an interactive course comprised of multiple short presentations, group and individual workshops, and opportunities for discussion. We ask that you bring along an idea for a paper that you would like to write, which you will work on throughout the day during our workshop sessions. We will finish with a panel session comprised of the most experienced writers from within the Department of Public Health, who share tips from their own writing process.

Who should attend?  

This course is aimed at emerging researchers who are developing an interest in writing academic papers. We will use examples from public health/epidemiology during the day, but the principles of the course will apply to all medical and health science contexts.

COVID-19 contingency plan

If COVID Alert Level restrictions prevent in-person/face-to-face delivery of this course, it will be delivered online the same day, and a credit of $100 given ($50 for those paying staff/student rate).

If the course is able to be delivered in person, but a participant cannot travel to Wellington due to COVID Alert Level restrictions, the course fee will be refunded in full.

Draft timetable

Time Session Presenter(s)
8:30am Registration
9am Welcome, organisation, housekeeping
Overview of today
Why do we publish?
Group Discussion – questions you would like answered in this course
Group Discussion – introduce individual writing projects
Before you begin: some simple questions you must know the answer to
Jason Gurney
10:30am Morning tea
11am Planning for publication: Beginning with the end in mind
Planning for publication: Structuring your paper
The Introduction
Workshop: The Introduction
The Methods
Workshop: The Methods
Jason Gurney
12:30pm Lunch break
1:30pm The Results
Workshop: The Results
The Discussion
Workshop: The Discussion
Titles, abstracts and authors
Workshop: Titles, abstracts and authors
Jason Gurney
3pm Afternoon tea
3:30pm Referencing tools
Choosing a journal
Submitting your paper
Surviving the peer review process
The Writing Wizards Panel Session:
• How panellists choose a topic
• How panellists write
• How panellists choose a journal
• How panellists deal with reviewers
• Other questions from participants
tbc/ Jason Gurney
5pm Finish

Teaching staff  

  • Dr Jason Gurney is a Senior Research Fellow and the Research Portfolio Leader of the Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington. He has a deep, slightly-peculiar passion for both academic and non-academic writing.

Course cost and registration

$300 early bird, $400 after Tuesday 22 December 2020.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

Note COVID-19 contingency plan above. Any questions please see FAQ page or email