New workshop on scientific writing

This module offers participants the opportunity to improve one of the most important – yet often neglected – skills required for a successful scientific career: communicating research. Designed for PhD candidates with an intermediate level of English (CEFR B1) or above, the course requires students to consider how professional scientists construct their texts (not just their experiments) in order to identify communication strategies and linguistic characteristics that make academic writing convincing and clear. Students will then turn a critical eye on their own texts, revising in light of the features identified. We will focus on two text types: 1) a research article abstract, and 2) a thesis or article introduction.

Course participants will learn how to:

  • use a simple starting structure to ‘create a research space’ and generate reader interest
  • make their sentences and texts ‘flow’
  • write concisely to communicate within word limits
  • identify and create a register appropriate for academic audiences.

Over three days, participants will analyse examples, conduct peer editing and write and revise texts with the instructor on hand to discuss drafts as they develop. Each participant will also receive written instructor feedback on both texts, including grammatical corrections tailored to ESL writers’ concerns.

Please submit a 1-page abstract of a research project 1 week prior to the course start date (Thursday, March 24), and be prepared to outline a introduction to your thesis research during the course (first draft to be submitted by Sunday, April 3). All work must be submitted as a Word .doc or Open Office .odt file (no pdfs!!) to:

KButkus_work photo

Instructor Bio: Kate Butkus is a Lektorin für Sprachpraxis at the Institute for English and American Studies at Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, where she teaches courses on academic writing, essay writing, English pronunciation and oral presentation skills at the graduate and undergraduate level. She has been teaching ESL and English for Academic Purposes at universities, private language schools and public institutions in Vancouver, Canada, and Cologne and Düsseldorf, Germany, since 2001. Kate holds an MA in Education (specialization in Applied Linguistics), a BA in History and the University of Cambridge’s CELTA language teaching certification. In addition to teaching, Kate is a free-lance editor and proofreader for academic publications. She approaches texts as “a good-natured stickler”, bringing the same good humour and attention to detail to her courses.