EconScribe's mission is to help people communicate knowledge efficiently.
Although we began as a copyediting service in 2010, we found that the most crucial writing issues that research writers faced related to the underlying structure of communication rather than to style or language; and that without fixing those structural issues, improving style or language would make little difference to what others understood of a researcher's work.
So in 2012, we piloted a training course to help PhD candidates learn specifically about structure, which is perhaps the most understudied aspect of writing. The course showed graduate students how to build a first draft with sound structural fundamentals: a coherent argument, a logical set of sections to support this argument, and paragraphs that would allow readers to learn as they read. Columbia University's economics PhD program very graciously hosted this pilot course for a small, self-selected group of 10 students who were writing or preparing to write a job market paper. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Since then, our courses have traveled to many departments, both physically and virtually. While our courses and methods are not for everyone, we have continued to receive the sort of reviews that suggest that, for some, they offer a boost at the right time. By pushing students to pay a little extra attention to argumentation and writing, and by using an approach that is different from the traditional academic model, our courses seem to be helping students in a way that existing resources at universities do not.
That's the story so far. We hope to continue offering our courses, and to make versions of our flagship course available to more and more students. Our introductory textbook is now available to everyone. If you would like to learn more, please get in touch.
In the meantime, happy writing!
Varanya founded EconScribe in 2010. She designed the RAP method, and has taught it at various schools, including Berkeley, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Oxford, and Princeton. She has also taught professional writing courses at the World Bank and the IMF. Varanya studied economics as an undergraduate at Princeton and as a graduate student at UC Berkeley.
Our training courses have been taught at various institutions.
Our trainers have also taught at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Since 2010, we have provided project support to people from the following institutions:
Banque du Canada
Columbia University (Economics and GSB)
Facultad de Economía y Empresa Universidad Diego Portales
Johns Hopkins University
London School of Economics
Renmin University of China
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Universidad Catolica de Chile
Université de Montréal
UCLA (Economics and Anderson School of Management)
University of Maryland
University of New South Wales
University of Warwick
Yale School of Management
Universita degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata
Our trainers and writing consultants have advanced degrees in economics and receive specialized training in teaching writing.