Workshops and Retreats

CWSC evidence-based workshops are open to graduate students from across the disciplines and professions, at any level of study (unless otherwise specified).

Upcoming Workshops


Workshop Roster


Abstracts: Writing

Research article, conference, and thesis abstracts play a vital role in the communication of research. Studies show that abstracts are the most frequently read part of a research article, and that abstracts help researchers determine whether or not to read the entire study. But how do writers communicate the relevance and legitimacy of their research to members of the discipline?

This workshop introduces researchers to two typical structures of abstracts, while accounting for differences in disciplines and purposes. Participants will write or revise a draft abstract during dedicated writing time and receive feedback from facilitators and peers. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a research project underway.

Annotated Bibliographies: Writing

This workshop introduces researchers to the typical structure of an annotated bibliography, while accounting for variations in purpose. Typically, the annotations synthesize multiple studies, help develop a discussion of the current field, and help identify a potential knowledge contribution. Research shows that annotated bibliographies across disciplines typically consist of 3 parts: the full bibliographic citation; a relevant academic summary; a critical evaluation. But how do authors determine relevance? What does it mean to write critical annotations?

Workshop facilitators draw on research to address these questions, while discussing this text as a type of literature survey with its own distinct patterns of organization. Participants will write or revise a draft annotated bibliography during dedicated writing time and receive feedback from facilitators and peers. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with an annotated bibliography underway.

Citing to Communicate: Who, What, When, Where, Why

Citation is the infrastructure of contemporary scholarship. This means that citations are not merely surface features of a text; rather, they are integral to the text itself, providing the context and facilitating the forum for scholarly conversation. In this workshop, we demystify the who, what, when, where, and why of citational practices, encouraging participants to explore citation as an intellectual pursuit in its own right. Participants will come away with a greater understanding of the rhetorical purpose behind citation, as well as a pragmatic conception of how to apply that understanding in their own academic writing.

The workshop includes opportunities for one-on-one writing consultations with staff from the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication, and extensive dedicated writing time

This workshop is appropriate for upper-year undergraduate and graduate students writing in any citational style.

Conclusions in Research Articles: Writing

The research article is the most privileged form of publication in which academics present their intellectual contributions. As such, conclusions offer writers several final opportunities to engage with readers in this high-stakes writing situation.

With conclusions in mind, facilitators explore some of the macro-level organizational patterns of research articles written in English, for example, standard sections and section headings, while accounting for disciplinary norms and differences. Questions of interest include the following: what is the relationship between the introduction and conclusion sections of a research article? How do writers move from results to conclusions in a research article? Participants will write or revise a draft conclusion section during dedicated writing time and receive feedback from facilitators and peers. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a research article underway.

Doctoral SSHRC Workshop: Writing the Program of Study

This workshop is for doctoral students applying for SSHRC funding (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). Drawing on evidence-based research about successful SSHRC proposals, and with reference to SSHRC selection criteria, facilitators discuss particular elements of this written academic genre: audience, purpose, competence claim, and more.

The workshop includes opportunities for one-on-one writing consultations with staff from the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication, and extensive dedicated writing time

Doctoral Writing Retreat

Doctoral students from across the disciplines are invited to participate in a daylong writing retreat in the beautiful historic core of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. The retreat will feature an opening panel discussion between graduate students, CWSC staff, and faculty, as well as one-on-one writing consultations with CWSC staff and dedicated writing time. Lunch, coffee, and snacks will be provided courtesy of the CWSC and the Graduate Student Society.

Graduate Writing Retreat

Graduate students from across the disciplines are invited to participate in daylong, Zoom-based Retreats. Each Retreat will feature an opening instructional component in the morning delivered by CWSC professional and student staff. This will then be followed by two simultaneous sessions: dedicated, facilitated writing time with peers, and optional one-on-one Writing Consultations with CWSC student staff. The Retreats are an excellent opportunity to mitigate social isolation while also making progress towards the completion of your writing project in the virtual company of other graduate students.

Lay Summaries: Writing

Lay summaries offer researchers opportunities to increase the visibility and accessibility of their scientific studies and thus invite public dialogue. As a way to promote science communication, many open access journals, public policy institutes, and granting agencies require researchers to provide summaries of their studies for non-specialists. But how do experts communicate specialized research to non-specialist audiences, and why?

This workshop introduces graduate researchers to some of the ways in which lay summaries differ from scientific abstracts, the multiple purposes of lay summaries, and how lay summaries enhance science communication. Participants will write or revise a draft lay summary during dedicated writing time and receive feedback from facilitators and peers. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a research project underway.

Literature Reviews: Writing

Literature reviews accomplish several purposes for scholars. In the introduction to a research article or thesis chapter, for example, writers review relevant research in order to establish a research gap or articulate a problem or need that the current study addresses. But how do writers summarize the scholarly conversation already underway and, then, join that conversation?

This workshop introduces researchers to the typical structure of the literature review in research article introductions and theses, while accounting for variation in communicative purposes, audiences, and disciplinary differences. Participants will write or revise a draft section of a literature review during dedicated writing time and receive feedback from facilitators and peers. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a research project underway.

Master’s Writing Retreat

Master’s students from across the disciplines are invited to participate in a daylong writing retreat in the beautiful historic core of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. The retreat will feature an opening panel discussion between graduate students, CWSC staff, and faculty, as well as one-on-one writing consultations with CWSC staff and dedicated writing time. Lunch, coffee, and snacks will be provided courtesy of the CWSC and the Graduate Student Society.

Personal Statements: Writing

The personal statement is written for admission to graduate and professional programs at academic institutions like UBC. But what does personal mean in an academic context? How do writers construct an appropriate professional identity? Research shows that personal statements must reflect the values of the profession, and that the personal self you construct in the statement must be a relevant self. That is, relevant to the chosen profession or discipline.

This workshop draws on research to introduce participants to some of the typical stylistic features of the personal statement, such as personal narrative, identity construction, and self-promotion, and includes dedicated time for participants to revise a statement and receive feedback from the facilitators and other participants. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a draft of a personal statement underway.

Professional Communication: From Classroom to Workplace

In both the classroom and the workplace, the ability to communicate professionally is a valuable skill. This is especially true today, when so many of our interactions take place digitally through print and video. This workshop applies empirical research on “real-world” classroom and workplace scenarios to teach participants how to make informed decisions about their communicative choices and represent themselves in an appropriate, professional manner.

Public Humanities Writing

In 2019, UBC’s Faculty of Arts founded a Public Humanities Hub. In 2014, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies launched the Public Scholars Initiative. These and similar developments at comparable institutions suggest that humanities scholars— and indeed, scholars from across the disciplines—are envisioning new audiences and new purposes for writing in the 21st century, ones which broaden their reach beyond traditional academic forums. This daylong workshop will investigate the phenomenon of the public scholar and consider the audiences she addresses, the avenues to publication which are available to her, and the various genres through which she speaks to laypeople. The workshop will discuss how to pitch pieces to editors; it will examine authentic examples of op-eds, essays, and popular book reviews by academics; and it will consider some stylistic and ethical dilemmas which face the scholar who writes to the public.  

The morning will feature a lecture and conversational session, while the afternoon will feature dedicated writing time and optional peer-to-peer Writing Consultations with CWSC graduate student staff.

Please note that while this workshop is intended in the first instance for graduate students in the arts and humanities, UBC graduate students studying in any discipline are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Statements of Teaching Philosophy: Writing

Increasingly, faculty positions in research and teaching streams require a statement of teaching philosophy as one component of a teaching portfolio or dossier. Teaching statements reflect personal beliefs about teaching and learning, but also reflect disciplinary cultures and institutional structures and norms in a particular context. Research shows that one of the central questions the teaching statement addresses for readers is, why do I teach? Furthermore, the teaching statement must demonstrate how the pedagogical approaches are actualized in practice, in the classroom.

This workshop grounds the discussion of typical organizational and stylistic features of the teaching statement in several real world examples from diverse disciplines. As well, the workshop includes dedicated time for participants to revise a statement of teaching philosophy and receive feedback from facilitators and peers. Therefore, the workshop is most useful for those with a draft teaching statement underway.

Writing in the STEM Disciplines

This workshop introduces researchers to the typical organizational structure of a research article in the STEM disciplines, while accounting for variation in disciplinary differences. That is, some conventions and features of English academic writing remain constant across STEM disciplines, while others vary to account for discipline-specific norms and expectations of community members. The workshop facilitators draw on evidence-based research to identify some of the similarities and differences in style at both the macro- and micro-levels of the text.

The workshop includes dedicated time for participants to revise a section of a research article and receive feedback from facilitators and peers. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a research article underway.