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: Communicating Research Findings With Brevity and Concision

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

Annotated Bibliographies: Synthesizing Multiple Studies

This evidence-based 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?

The workshop facilitator draws 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 entry and receive feedback from the workshop facilitator. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with an annotated bibliography underway.

CGS-Master’s Proposal: Crafting a Compelling Research Story

This workshop is designed for undergraduate and graduate students applying for funding from the Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s (CGS-M) Program. Drawing on evidence-based research about successful grant proposals, facilitators discuss particular elements of this written academic genre: audience, purpose, knowledge gap, competence claim, structure, style, and more.
The workshop includes examples of successful UBC CGS-M research proposals from several disciplines, as well as a facilitated discussion with UBC master’s students about writing their successful CGS-M proposals.

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

All too often, scholarly citation is approached by students as a frustrating obstacle on the path to completing a writing assignment, rather than as an intellectual pursuit in its own right. This workshop aims to reframe that mindset by demystifying the who, what, when, where, and why of citational practices. No matter the citation style they are being asked to engage with, participants will come away from this workshop with a greater understanding of the purpose behind citation, as well as a pragmatic conception of how to apply that understanding in their own academic writing. The workshop is designed for undergraduate and master’s students at any level.

Common Academic Expressions in English: Basic Functions

Did you know that 40% of language production in English is formulaic, that is, made up of common expressions? However, producing effective writing in English can be challenging for many non-native writers of English. The good news is, these formulaic expressions can be learned.

This workshop is designed for those who speak English as an additional language. In this workshop, participants are introduced to common expressions that perform a number of basic functions in academic English. Participants will walk away with a better understanding of how to use common academic English expressions in their writing, as well as the motivation and confidence to develop a larger repertoire of these expressions to further improve their academic English writing proficiency.

Common Academic Expressions in English: Making Connections

One of the major challenges that academic writers encounter is making connections within the text, for example, making comparisons and drawing conclusions. Rather than counting on readers to figure out the meaning of a difficult text, academic writing requires writers to make clear connections between ideas. In this workshop, we introduce a variety of academic expressions that are commonly used by academic writers to outline the overall structure of the text, or specify the relationships between sentences. At the end of the workshop, participants will walk away with an awareness of the writer-responsible nature of academic writing, and develop better facility with using academic expressions to improve clarity in their own writing practice.

Common Academic Expressions in English: Research Article Introductions

Writing an effective Introduction is not an easy task, especially for multilingual writers who speak English as an additional language. As a complement to the workshop “Research Article Introductions: Mind the Gap” this workshop introduces participants to common academic expressions characteristic of Introductions (e.g., background context, literature review, knowledge gap). Participants will walk away with a better understanding of common academic expressions that facilitate effective communication in the Introduction section.

Doctoral Tri-Council Proposal: Crafting a Compelling Research Story

This workshop is for graduate students applying for Doctoral Tri-Council funding: CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC. Drawing on evidence-based research about successful grant proposals, facilitators discuss particular elements of this written academic genre: audience, purpose, knowledge gap, competence claim, structure, style, and more.

The workshop includes examples of successful UBC Tri-Council proposals, opportunities for one-on-one writing consultations with doctoral peers from the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication, and dedicated writing time.

Lay Summaries: Going Public With Your Research

Lay summaries offer researchers opportunities to increase the visibility and accessibility of their research 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 scholars communicate specialized research to non-specialist audiences, and why?

This workshop introduces graduate and postdoctoral 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 the facilitator and peers. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a research project underway.

Literature Reviews: Mapping the Scholarly Conversation

Literature reviews accomplish several purposes for scholars. In the introduction to a research article, research paper, or thesis chapter, for example, writers review relevant research in order to establish a research gap, 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 literature reviews, while accounting for variation in communicative purposes, audiences, and disciplinarity. Participants will write or revise a section of a literature review during dedicated writing time.

Research Article Conclusions: Wrapping Up and Looking Forward

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, the facilitator explores some of the organizational patterns of research articles written in English, while accounting for disciplinary norms and differences. Participants will write or revise a research article conclusion during dedicated writing time and receive feedback from the facilitator. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a research article underway.

Research Article Introductions: Mind the Gap

Research shows that academic writers of research article Introductions typically establish a research space by pointing out a research gap that the current study addresses. The Introduction offers an opportunity for writers to begin to tell the research story by articulating the gap and, then, taking their own conversational turn. But how do writers persuade readers that the research gap is consequential? Participants will write or revise a section of a research article Introduction during dedicated writing time. Therefore, this workshop is most useful for those with a research article underway.

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 the facilitator. Therefore, the workshop is most useful for those with a draft teaching statement underway.

Writing in STEM: Common Academic Expressions in English

Writing in the STEM disciplines can be an especially challenging task for multilingual writers who speak English as an additional language, as it requires a high level of language proficiency to effectively use the English language with the appropriate level of accuracy, precision, and conciseness. Research shows that common academic expressions can greatly improve writing quality and fluency, therefore, it can be beneficial for multilingual writers in STEM to develop a large repertoire of these expressions. In this workshop, we introduce academic expressions that are commonly used in STEM research articles with authentic examples. Participants will walk away with a better understanding of common academic expressions in STEM, and be able to use them as a resource to improve their scientific writing competency.

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.

Writing Personal Statements: Crafting Your Professional Identity

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 draft or revise a statement.

Writing the Op-Ed: An Instructional Talk

The Public Humanities Hub and the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication present a workshop on writing the op-ed. The op-ed derives its name from traditional print media, where the op-ed is published on the page opposite the editorial. Hence, the op-ed section of the newspaper offers scholars opportunities to engage with new audiences and new issues, and to identify new purposes for writing in the 21st century, for example, using a public forum to influence public policy or judicial processes.

This evidence-based talk considers some of the typical linguistic features and characteristics of this particular type of text, while paying attention to audience and place of publication. The facilitators welcome questions and comments from participants throughout the interactive talk, whenever something sparks your interest.