Communication Skills for the Biosciences: A Graduate Guide

ISBN : 9780199226351

Aysha Divan
288 Pages
189 x 245 mm
Pub date
Mar 2009
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  • An essential guide to communicating your work effectively using a range of media to different audiences.
  • Covers a broad range of communication skills, which are valuable not only during university, but which also increase employability.
  • Clear, straightforward text provides succinct guidance to help the reader excel, complemented by annotated examples throughout
  • Biological examples throughout demonstrate the clear relevance of the skills addressed to the reader, to increase motivation.
  • Coverage uniquely tailored to the more advanced student, includes guidance related to grant applications, and vivas.
  • Flexible style allows the reader to dip into specific chapters for reference, or to read in sequence to complement a taught course.
  • Online Resource Centre features additional resources for both lecturers and students, to enhance the educational value of the text.

Effective scientific communication is a skill highly-prized by potential employers, and is central to success during postgraduate study.
Communication Skills for the Biosciences is a straightforward, practical guide to the skills you should master to get the most out of your study and research, to pave the way to a successful career.
Focusing on the three key modes of communication - written, oral, and visual - the book also includes valuable advice on associated topics, including peer review, data sharing, data ownership, plagiarism, critical review of scientific information and the role of e-technology.
Uniquely, the book incorporates annotated examples, bringing to life the guidance and explanations presented in the text, and helping you to master best practice in all areas of science communication.


1: Essential communication skills
2: Recording and managing information
3: Ethics in communication
4: Introduction to the scientific literature
5: Conducting effective literature searches
6: Reviewing scientific literature
7: Writing a literature review
8: Writing a research proposal
9: Writing a research paper
10: Writing an abstract
11: Preparing tables and figures
12: Writing a Masters dissertation or a PhD thesis
13: Delivering an effective oral presentation
14: Preparing and presenting a research poster
15: Networking

About the author: 

Aysha Divan is a lecturer at the Faculty of Biological of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. Her research experience includes studying the role of p53 in retinoblastoma tumour progression and the molecular basis of chromatin remodelling during gene locus activation. She is currently managing (with a key role in developing) the new Masters Bioscience Programmes (encompassing 6 programmes) launched at the Faculty in October 2004. She has developed the transferable skills module of which scientific communication is a key component and produced a student toolkit which brings together guidelines and case material supporting the development of these skills. She is currently developing an interactive website to supplement the toolkit and trains communication skills to Masters Students in the Faculty. Other teaching includes practical core skills training and specialist cancer genetics module.

"This volume would be an ideal resource for developing and structuring a new graduate student course in the biological sciences. The information conveyed is up to date, well organized, and imperative for todays scientists, both young and established." - The Quarterly Review of Biology

"Divan has clearly used her experience working with bioscience students to write an organized strategy for communication success. The author's own communication skills as evidenced by this guide, are exemplary. Communication Skills serves up a no-nonsense approach to bioscience research with the aim of conveying that graduate work in the biosciences is important, and it is important that it be done right." - Karen L. Wellner, Arizona State University

"Aysha Divan has got the content of the book just right. The chapters go into the right amount of detail and provide lots of lovely references for further reading, the vast majority of which I have never been told about before. Many of the chapters would also be very useful to undergraduates gaining experience in a lab or writing up final year projects/dissertations. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone doing an undergraduate degree, masters or PhD; I would even say that most Post Docs would learn a thing or two!" - James Sleigh, Student, University of Bath

"Divan's book transforms oral tradition into a tangible 'how to' guide and teaching tool that supervisors would do well to share with their students. Rich in content but sensibly organized, Communication Skills would work well as the basis of a communications course for senior undergraduates or beginning graduate students. If students - and seasoned researchers - follow her strategies, they will undoubtedly find the process of preparing a research proposal, presentation or thesis more manageable and efficient - if not pain-free!" - Microbiology Today

"This is a very useful book for biosciences graduates and postgraduate students as it looks at communication at an advanced level, for example by explaining how to conduct scientific literary reviews or how to write research papers. This learning can complement a postgraduate biosciences course by boosting the grades of the readers and increasing their employability within academia and the private sector. I consider this book a highly recommended graduate guide." - Maria Duncan, University of Hertfordshire

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