NeuAge Institute (NAI)

Technical Writing Best Practices for Clinical Research Training Graduates

A male clinical research training graduate writing a technical document in an office.

Clinical research involves uncovering essential data for the benefit of key professionals in the pharmaceutical or medical industry. However, just as important as the data itself is the way it is presented. Technical writers in clinical research shoulder the responsibility of documenting and communicating medical materials and findings while ensuring strict adherence to relevant regulations.

As graduates stepping into the world of clinical research, mastering the art of technical writing is a skill that will set you apart. This blog post delves into the significance of technical writing in clinical research and outlines key best practices to ensure your documentation is clear, concise, and impactful.

The Importance of Technical Writing in Clinical Research

Technical writing is used in various fields and is distinct from other writing styles. Technical writing proficiency lays the groundwork for the efficient and open communication of vital medical information. In clinical research, where precision and clarity can mean the difference between life and death, the importance of technical writing cannot be overstated. 

A skilled medical writer is excellent at demystifying complicated medical information so patients, regulators, and healthcare professionals can easily understand and use it. The documents you create are pivotal in conveying complex information to diverse audiences, from research protocols and regulatory submissions to patient information sheets.

Here are some technical writing best practices for clinical research training graduates: 

Consider and Adapt to Your Audience

As our clinical research courses emphasize, technical documents are not just read; they are relied upon for critical decision-making. To ensure your audience can readily comprehend your content, embrace simplicity in language. Avoid jargon where possible and opt for plain language that enhances understanding.

A good policy for writing technical documents is to tailor the content to your audience. Since technical writing aims to inform and educate, it’s critical to ascertain the end users’ prior knowledge level. The language you use and the strategy you employ will vary greatly depending on who your intended audience is.

For instance, “The patient exhibited a proclivity towards anomalous physiological reactions” is appropriate for healthcare professionals. However, if you’re writing for members of the general public, consider using more straightforward sentences, such as “The patient showed unusual physical reactions.”

A smiling female clinical research training graduate writing a technical document in an office.
Use insights from your clinical research training to tailor your documents to your audience.

Write to Maximize Speed and Save Time

Clinical professionals often navigate through documents quickly to extract essential information. To accommodate this, use the inverted pyramid method. Place the most critical information at the beginning of your document—front load it. Use bulleted lists for key points and numbered lists for step-by-step processes.

Example: Begin a protocol summary with the primary objectives and anticipated outcomes. Use bullet points to highlight inclusion criteria and numbered lists for the sequential steps of the research procedure.

Clinical Research Training Emphasizes the Use of Appropriate Visuals

Enhance the comprehension of your technical documents by incorporating relevant visuals. Whether you’re drafting a research protocol or compiling patient instructions, visuals such as diagrams, charts, and graphs can significantly aid understanding. Ensure that visuals serve a purpose and aren’t merely added for aesthetic reasons.

Example: When detailing the steps of a clinical procedure, include a flowchart with clear symbols to illustrate the sequence of actions. This visual aid can be instrumental in simplifying complex processes.

Test Your Instructions to Improve Efficiency 

Before submitting your documents, assume the role of the end-user. Follow the instructions precisely as you’ve outlined them, and critically evaluate the clarity and coherence of your content. Add clarifications where necessary, and be bold in substantial edits to enhance the document’s clarity.

A male clinical research training graduate preparing clinical trial documentation in a laboratory.
Clinical research training stresses audience empathy in technical writing.

Example: If your document includes instructions for administering a medical treatment, simulate the process as if you were a healthcare professional or a patient. Identify potential areas of confusion and revise accordingly.

Are you interested in our clinical research certification?

Contact the NeuAge Institute for more information.

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