Writing your PhD: Quantitative Research in Social Sciences

This course is for PhD students in their final year.

It may, however, also be suitable for students in their second year if they are in process of writing research papers. Students will work on various aspects of what is involved in producing a thesis or article based on quantitative research, and receive feedback from their tutor on extracts from their writing.

 

Course Content and Unit Aims

Unit 1

How to Write an Introduction

  • To raise awareness of the way an Introduction is typically structured and the functions of the typical components; for example, establishing the significance of the study, identifying the research “gap”.
  • To explore useful language features that could be used in different parts of your Introduction: verb tense use, use of active and passive forms, signalling language.
  • To introduce typical vocabulary used when expressing the various functions of an Introduction.
  • To give you an opportunity to start drafting your Introduction

Unit 2

Writing about Methodology

  • To raise awareness of the way a Methodology chapter is typically structured and the functions of the typical components; for example, providing details of materials and methods, justifying methodological choices made.
  • To explore useful language features that could be used in different parts of your Methodology chapter or section: further work on choice of verb forms, article use, adverbs (including their location within a sentence).
  • To introduce typical vocabulary used when expressing the various functions of a Methodology chapter or section.
  • To give you an opportunity to draft an extract of your Methodology chapter or section.

 

Unit 3

Writing about Results

  • To raise awareness of the way a Results chapter is typically structured and the functions of the typical components; for example, revisiting research aims, comparing with findings of previous research, discussing implications.
  • To explore useful language features that could be used in different parts of your Results chapter or section: expressing time sequence, reporting frequency, referring to quantity, discussing causality.
  • To introduce typical vocabulary used when expressing the various functions of a Results chapter or section.
  • To give you an opportunity to start drafting your Results chapter or section.

 

Unit 4

Writing the Discussion / Conclusion

  • To raise awareness of the way a Discussion chapter is typically structured and the functions of the typical components; for example, reflecting on achievements and limitations, making recommendations.
  • To explore useful language features that could be used in different parts of your Discussion chapter or section: the use of modal verbs to discuss possibility, likelihood, capability, recommendation, and so on.
  • To introduce typical vocabulary used when expressing the various functions of a Discussion chapter or section.
  • To give you an opportunity to start drafting your Discussion

 

Unit 5

Writing the Abstract

  • To raise awareness of the way an abstract is typically structured.  
  • To explore useful language features that could be used in your abstract.
  • To introduce typical vocabulary used when expressing the various functions of an abstract.

In week 5, you will also be offered an online one-to-one tutorial with your tutor.

Course Dates

This course will run for 5 weeks, commencing the week of 19 February 2024.

 

Teaching Methods and Learning Outcomes

You will be using the book Science Research Writing by Hilary Glasman-Deal. This book is primarily aimed at scientific researchers seeking to publish articles in English, but we believe it should be very appropriate for students writing a PhD based on quantitative research. An on-line version of this book is available from the University Library, through Discovered. If you are allocated a place on this course, further instructions will follow.

At home, you will listen  to a brief introductory lecture  and work through a series of tasks related to different chapters of a PhD or sections of a research article. Your tutor will provide you feedback on the weekly extended writing tasks. The feedback will focus on overall clarity, style and organisation. Any systematic language errors will also be highlighted. 

You will also have the opportunity to meet your tutor for an individual on-line tutorial to discuss your writing.

By the end of the course, you should have a better understanding of:

  • ways of structuring the chapters of your thesis, or the sections of a research article.
  • appropriate language for the different chapters or sections, and how to use that language accurately
  • any specific language areas that you will need to work on further

 

Eligibility

PhD students in their final year (It may, however, also be suitable for students in their second year if they are in process of writing research papers).

Apply