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 an abstract (e.g., research article, conference, thesis), and receive feedback from the workshop facilitators and other participants. 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 an annotated bibliography and receive feedback from the workshop facilitators and other participants. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with an annotated bibliography underway.

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?

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.

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

The Graduate Writing Retreat is a three-day annual event typically held in the beautiful historic core of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

All graduate writers enrolled at UBC are welcome to register free of charge, whether they plan to work on a research article, a master’s thesis, a doctoral dissertation, or any other piece of writing relevant to their studies.

In addition to catered lunch, coffee, and snacks, the GWR features a number of pedagogical supports, including an opening panel discussion between faculty, staff, and graduate students across the disciplines; writing consultations with CWSC staff and trained doctoral-student consultants; and self-reflexive writing practices such as goal-setting and reflection. Most of all, the event offers a chance to write extensively in a relaxing, contemplative, and collegial setting.

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. Workshop participants will bring a draft lay summary to revise during dedicated writing time and receive feedback from peers and the workshop facilitator.

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.

Statements of Teaching Philosophy: Writing

Increasingly, faculty positions in both 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 in a particular context. Research shows that the central question the statement of teaching philosophy must address for readers is: Why do I teach? Furthermore, the statement of teaching philosophy must demonstrate how the pedagogical approaches are actualized in practice; that is, how concepts about teaching and learning are translated into action.

This workshop draws on research to introduce participants to some of the typical stylistic features of the teaching statement. As well, the workshop includes dedicated time for participants to revise a statement of teaching philosophy and receive feedback from the workshop facilitators and other participants. Therefore, the workshop is most useful for those with a draft of a 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 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. Workshop facilitators and writing consultants from the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication are available for peer feedback on a draft. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a research article underway.