Starting in September 2014 I will be running workshops on research communication skills in the Sydney area.
The first one will be a 3-hour workshop: Write your research paper or thesis smarter and faster, and it will be held at UNSW, Law 302, 4-7pm, Thursday Oct 23.
The focus of the workshop is described below.
Do you dread the idea of writing up your research?
Most early-career researchers love doing research – and living! Having to write up your work is a bother. In this two-hour workshop you will learn how to reduce the time you spend on writing, so you can get back to doing what you really love. Working with hundreds of postgraduate students just like you has helped me to find the strategies that actually work, not the ones that might or ‘should’ work. This isn’t just some rehash of the stuff you can find in the dozens of books on research writing on Amazon. Helping students like you has been my full-time passion for the last 9 years.
“What will I learn?”
Papers and theses often take many months, sometimes years, to write. Why? (1) Your supervisor is probably a great writer (and if they say something is wrong it surely is) but it’s the rare supervisor who is also even a half-decent writing coach. I know, I’ve seen enough of the misguided advice students routinely get. So odds are you’re basically on your own. (2) Students rush to write, to get that precious first draft to their supervisor a.s.a.p., and ironically, thus doom themselves to a seemingly endless series of rewrites – because of (1). It’s like trying to build a house without a blueprint. Bad idea.
In this workshop you will learn (a) the research writing equivalent of a blueprint, and how to create one; and (b) how to go from blueprint to paper, thesis chapter – or even a proposal or literature review. The ‘research blueprint’ – a nested series of justified questions and answers – is my personal baby, born in one of those eureka moments you dream about as a researcher. It explains the fundamental backbone of a research project better than any other system I’ve come across.
Deceptively simple, but extremely powerful, it will help you to clarify the major waypoints of your communication journey before you set off. So you won’t get lost later. The system you will learn has been field-tested with hundreds of researchers and their projects, in disciplines as diverse as biology, engineering, sociology and mathematics. It’s simple, it’s fun and it works.
Once you know the ‘blueprint’-first approach, that first draft you give to your supervisor will read like an intellectually mature document, not the confused write-up of a brainstorming session. Of course, your supervisor will still want some changes, but not as many, and they are also going to look at you in a slightly different way – more as an equal. They might even smile.
How the workshop works
This two-hour workshop is primarily for anyone doing a research project at the Honours level or above. It is limited to 33 people so I can give personal feedback on the exercises you do during the workshop. I will also follow this up by devoting all of the next day (Friday) to reviewing your own research blueprint and providing further feedback for each and every attendee. The workshop will consist of two parts of an hour each:
Part 1 Talk
- The research blueprint and how to create one
- Convert your research blueprint into a paper, thesis chapter, proposal -or even a seminar!
Part 2 Exercise and feedback
- You create a blueprint for your own project (it can be one that is completed, ongoing, or proposed)
- Feedback from me on selected blueprints done during the workshop, discussed with the group as a whole.