Harvard Macy Community Blog

Fostering the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.

The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast S3 E4: Better Academic Writing with Lorelei Lingard

The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast aims to connect our Harvard Macy Institute community and to develop our interest in health professions education topics and literature. Our podcast is hosted by our Program for Educators in the Health Professions course faculty Victoria Brazil, and will feature interviews with health professions education authors and their research papers.

Most of us would like to ‘write better,’ but few of us make intentional efforts to improve. Lorelei Lingard is internationally known for her efforts to help health researchers and clinical scholars become better writers. In this podcast we talk about her Writers Studio courses and her book “Story, not Study”, 30 Brief Lessons to Inspire Health Researchers as Writers.

Lorelei Lingard has a ‘day job’ as Professor in the Department of Medicine, and Senior Scientist at the Centre for Education Research & Innovation, both at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in Canada. With a PhD in Rhetoric, she studies the communication practices of clinical teams, and evidence-based educational initiatives to improve teamwork. She received the Karolinska Prize for Research in Medical Education in 2018.

In this conversation, she shares details of her training in rhetoric, her transition to working in health professions education, and her joy she finds in coaching relationships as a writing mentor. We spoke about the Writer’s Craft - a transformative series of articles on better academic writing - written by Lorelei and her colleague Chris Watling (also an HMI alumnus). Each article offers a succinct pearl: Mastering the sentence, Enlisting the power of the verb, Get control of your commas, and many more. Building on this series and their coaching work, the duo has now produced “Story, not Study,” 30 Brief Lessons to Inspire Health Researchers as Writers. If you have never considered your writing voice, whether you paragraph strategically, or how you approach academic hedging, this is a great place to start. 

Lorelei also shared her thoughts on reading habits (she thinks Margaret Atwood is good, but not great), on writing for social media (check out @LingardLorelei), and on how speaking and writing are connected. She even had the temerity to point out the lack of coherence in one of the questions I asked her in the podcast!

For more on Lorelei’s work on writing, you might like her Academic Medicine Last Page on Story, not Study, and a wonderful talk she gave about coaching writing at a seminar at McGill University.

Please click here to listen to the podcast. 

Watch out for new episodes this year which will be announced on our blog and our Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook social media channels.

Did you know that the Harvard Macy Institute Community Blog has had more than 310 posts? Previous blog posts have explored topics including connecting scholarship to practice, inclusive teaching, and leading curricular change.

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Tuesday, 24 May 2022