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Abstract

Written and oral communications and the processes of writing and reading are highly valued within the scientific community; scientists who communicate well are successful in gaining recognition and support from members of their own communities, the research funding agencies, and the wider society. Yet how do scientists achieve this proficiency? Are expert scientists equally expert writers in and of science? Do scientists' perceptions of the nature of science influence their writing strategies and processes, and their beliefs about the role of writing in knowledge construction? This study used a questionnaire and semistructured interviews to document these perceptions, strategies, processes, and beliefs in a nonrandom sample of Canadian university scientists and engineers. The results indicate that the scientists subscribed to a contemporary evaluativist view of science, used common writing strategies, held similar beliefs about scientific writing and nonscientific writing, and agreed that writing generates insights and clarifies ambiguity in science. The engineers held a different view of technology than the common views of science or technology as simply applied science. These findings were slightly different than those found for American scientists from a large land-grant university. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 41: 338–369, 2004