How to publish and critically evaluate scientific articles

Pen and notepad on a yellow backgroundCourse code: RSDA6006 (Book through MyCampus)

RDF domain: A2.1, A2.2, A2.3, A2.4

Speaker: Dr Pasquale Maffia, Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation

Target group: Postgraduate research students in year 1

Credits: 2

Description: This session will discuss the publishing process of scientific articles and how to critically evaluate the quality of the scientific literature and is primarily aimed at those doing experimental, rather than clinical research.

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Successful writing

Pen and notepad on a yellow backgroundCourse code: RSDA6009 (Book through MyCampus)

RDF domain: A1.3, A1.4, A1.6, A3.2, A3.4, A3.5, C1.6, D2.1, D2.2

Speaker: Prof Marek Dominiczak and Ms Kathy McFall, School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing

Target group: Postgraduate research students in years 1 and 2

Credits: 2

Description: Good writing helps your career in science. It increases your chances of publishing in high impact journals, adds elegance to your thesis, and, generally, improves your image in the scientific community. In this workshop we first discuss the structure of a research paper and propose a disciplined approach to writing its different sections. We then discuss how to create visuals (tables, graphs, drawings and photographs) for a research paper. The final section has a practical element: we focus on writing style and give you several tips, which are likely to improve your writing straight away.

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Introduction to writing your thesis

Pen and notepad on a yellow backgroundCourse code: RSDA6010 (Book through MyCampus)

RDF domain: A1.3, A1.4, A3.2, A3.4, A3.5, C1.6, D2.1, D2.2

Speaker: Dr Helen Wheadon, Institute of Cancer Sciences

Target group: Mandatory for students in the final year of a PhD

Credits: 2

Description: Few people are naturally gifted writers and the task of marshalling the work of three years into a coherent and cogent text is daunting. There are numerous elephant traps along the way: boredom; lost notes; other more interesting projects, as well as more serious difficulties. If you are going to complete your thesis successfully (and on time), it is important to have a strategy to help you cope. This lecture will discuss:

  • how to get started
  • how to plan your thesis and discuss style, content and approaches to your write up
  • criteria for a PhD/MSc/MD/DDS
  • when to write your thesis
  • alternative ways of undertaking the writing process
  • the importance of a coherent theme
  • sections and what to include
  • issues about citing the literature and presentation.

Minimum number of students is 10. This course is best suited for those who are about to start, or have recently begun, to write their thesis. It should not be taken by first year students.

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How do I engage the public with my research? Getting started and developing practical activities (parts 1 and 2)

calendar iconCourse code: RSDD6009 (Book through MyCampus)

RDF domain: D2, D3.2, D3.5

Speaker: Dr Tansy Hammarton, Dr Vickie Curtis and Dr Claire Donald, Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation

Target group: All postgraduate research students and postdoctoral researchers

Credits: 2

Description: RCUK define public engagement as ‘a two-way process involving interaction and listening with the goal of generating mutual benefit’. This one-day course will explore the importance and benefits of public engagement with research. It will help you to identify who your ‘public’ are, how to make your science accessible to them, and it will introduce a number of approaches that will help you to plan and execute engagement activities with your audiences.

This course is aimed at anyone with an interest in finding out more about public engagement and how to get started, and has a focus on delivering face to face public engagement activities e.g. hands-on practical demonstrations.

In the morning, we will start with an introduction to public engagement – why, who and how? This session will provide an overview of public engagement – what it is, why it is important and the many ways in which you can get involved. We will discuss popular approaches and activities such as public lectures, discussion groups (e.g. Café Scientifique), science festivals, working with schools, and engaging with the media. Newer and more alternative approaches involving digital platforms, games, art-science collaborations and public participation in scientific research (e.g. citizen science) will also be explored. Finally, this session will consider the more practical aspects of public engagement such as how you can make your research accessible to different groups, the nitty-gritty of planning and organising your own activity, how to obtain funding, and how you can evaluate a public engagement event.

In the afternoon, we will move on to exploring how to tailor your activity and language appropriately for the audience you wish to reach. You will also explore ways to mock up your own experiments for the non-specialist, and will get to try out some pre-tested schools/science festival experiments to gain inspiration before putting all of what you have learned together and considering how you can apply it to your own research.

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How do I engage the public with my research? Using the written word and social media (part 3)

calendar iconCourse code: RSDD6086 (Book through MyCampus)

RDF domain: D2, D3.2, D3.5

Speaker: Dr Tansy Hammarton, Dr Vickie Curtis and Dr Claire Donald, Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation

Target group: All postgraduate research students and postdoctoral researchers

Credit: 1

Description: RCUK define public engagement as ‘a two-way process involving interaction and listening with the goal of generating mutual benefit’. This half-day course will explore how you can engage the public through the written word and social media. It is aimed at anyone wanting to use conventional media, social media and other digital tools to engage the public. Those new to public engagement may find it useful to attend ‘How do I engage the public with my research? Getting started and developing practical activities’ before attending this course, but this is not essential. This course will start by providing an overview of how the conventional print and broadcast media function and how you can engage with them. You will be given guidance on writing a successful press release and practice writing for non-specialist readers. We will then explore the growing importance and value of social media for communicating research and how to use social media applications (e.g. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) as well as other digital tools such as blogs, lay articles, podcasts and short films to engage the public.

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Viva, Preparing for the

Pen and notepad on a yellow backgroundCourse code: RSDA6011 (Book through MyCampus)

RDF domain: A3.4, A3.5, D2.1

Speaker: Professor Kevin O’Dell, School of Life Sciences

Target group: Mandatory for students in the final year of a PhD

Credits: 2

Description: Single two hour session: talk and discussion. This workshop will cover the regulations governing submission and the timescale for the examination procedure. It will include discussion on the structure of the viva and the type of questions which are likely to be asked. The workshop is designed for students who intend to submit within the next 6 months. The role of the convener and the internal and external examiners will also be explained.

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