Effective Writing for Defence

Please confirm if this course is available in current course offerings.

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Expression of Interest form

Contact information

For further information or to request a quotation, please contact the Professional Education Courses Unit on:

Enquiries Phone: 02 5114 5573

Enquiries Email: ProfEdCourses@adfa.edu.au

In-house delivery

UNSW Canberra Professional Education Courses may be available for in-house delivery at your organisation's premises. In-house courses allow maximum attendance without the additional travel costs. Courses can be developed to suit the specific staff development and training needs of your organisation. Recommended for groups of 10 or more.

This two-day course introduces advanced techniques for writing arguments and explanations that are well-reasoned, well-supported, psychologically-compelling and strategically-aligned with an organisation’s mission and priorities. The course uses argument mapping, deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning as tools for planning to write in the argument structure.

Four main features of this approach are brevity, clarity, readability and persuasiveness. These planning techniques encourage brevity, not by ‘dumbing down’ but by focusing in on what is logically-necessary and strategically-important. They achieve clarity by providing a structure that helps readers to understand the writer’s intent. Above all, they enhance persuasiveness by combining logical and psychological approaches to persuasive communication. Readability is also improved by applying some cognitive research findings on how readers read.


“James has a very well rounded approach and delivers information in an effective and easy to follow manner.” 20/05/2016.

“Great course…Great Examples.” 20/05/2016.

“Would definitely recommend this course to others. The examples used for mapping arguments were defence related and were excellent." 20/05/2016.

“Well delivered and great knowledge." 20/05/2016.

“The course was aimed at higher level staff but James’ style of education allowed me to fully understand the contents of the course and I came out feeling really confident.” 20/05/2016.



James Hanson

Dr James Hanson teaches strategic management and organisational leadership at UNSW Canberra.  His research focuses on the use of structured analytical techniques to develop the decision making and strategic communication skills of people who work in large organisations.  In 2009, James, Vice Admiral (retired) David Shackleton and Emeritus Professor Peter Hall shared a national teaching award for their innovative work in developing students' strategic thinking skills.  James has an MBA in strategy and an MA in economics from Yale University, as well as an EdD in adult learning and cognition from the University of Sydney.  The Effective Writing course combines practical techniques and research insights from across James's broad academic background.  He has been delivering this very popular course to members of the Australian Defence and Intelligence communities, for over a decade.

Course Information

Course Outline:

Planning: Argument Mapping
Deductive Reasoning: Deep Analysis of Logical Structure
Inductive Reasoning: Using Evidence Effectively
Strategic Alignment with Mission, Values & Priorities


Dissecting Counterarguments
Structuring a Document for Clarity
Writing for Readability
Beyond Reasoning: Some Rhetorical Techniques for Writers

Courses will be held subject to sufficient registrations. UNSW Canberra reserves the right to cancel a course up to five working days prior to commencement of the course. If a course is cancelled, you will have the opportunity to transfer your registration or be issued a full refund. If registrant cancels within 10 days of course commencement, a 50% registration fee will apply. UNSW Canberra is a registered ACT provider under ESOS Act 2000-CRICOS provider Code 00098G.