GCAC Workshops

​​​​​​​​​The Graduate Centre for Academic Communication (GCAC) was formerly known as the Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS). No registration is required for GCAC workshops, and all members of the University of Toronto community are welcome to attend as many workshops as they wish. Space in the rooms is limited, so arrive on time to be sure of a seat. As a courtesy to other participants and to the instructor, we ask that you attend only if you are able to stay for the entire workshop.

While our courses provide students with individual feedback and ongoing help, our workshops target specific needs in a focused way. Students might choose to attend single workshops if their schedules prevent them from taking a course, or if they seek help with a specific challenge such as giving poster presentations or writing literature reviews.

Most of our workshops are organized into different series; each series includes three to five individual workshops designed for the specific audience indicated under the title of the series.

Go directly to our Annual GCAC Workshop Series.

Fall 2017 Workshops:

Getting Through Graduate Work
(for graduate students in all disciplines)

4:10 - 5:40 p.m., University College, 15 King's College Circle, Rm 161

Accessible entrance to the refectory at the northwest corner of University College: A downward sloping ramp leads to a powered door facing south. Entrance is not visible from any streets but a large sign along the pedestrian pathway to the west of University College marks the beginning of the accessible ramp.

Thurs. Oct. 5: Writing a Thesis/Grant Proposal - Dr. Jane Freeman

Graduate students write many proposals – federal grant proposals, travel grant proposals, thesis proposals – and every proposal has a potentially significant impact on a student's ability to carry out specific research. This workshop provides an overview of proposal writing designed to get students thinking about the demands of, and the predictable variations in, this important genre of writing. We will examine the similarities and differences between thesis and grant proposals, consider the main questions that most proposals must answer, and see examples of answers to those questions in successful proposals. We will also consider common pitfalls in proposal writing, and strategies for getting started on writing a proposal. (This workshop was previously offered on Sept 13, and is offered again in this timeslot for the benefit of those who wanted to attend the first workshop but were unable to do so.)

Thurs. Oct. 12: Effective Use of Scientific Illustrations, Graphs, and Tables - Dr. Peter Sabatini

It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. This is nowhere more true than in the realm of scientific research, where clear graphics are needed to summarize complex data, communicate difficult concepts, and to enable you to use fewer words in your publications. With the help of good, bad and plain ugly examples from the literature, we will learn how to produce effective scientific illustrations and tables. We will also explore the essential process of coupling your illustrations to text. For this workshop, students are encouraged to bring along some of their real illustration problems for classroom discussion.

Thurs. Oct 19: Writing Literature Reviews - Dr. Peter Grav

In various writing tasks such as research articles, course papers or the thesis chapter entitled 'Literature Review,' grad students need to construct a rhetorically effective overview of their field’s literature that involves more than just reporting what’s been done and who said what. This workshop will explore this genre of academic writing, identify common pitfalls and examine strategies to maximize the impact of your lit reviews.

Thurs. Oct. 26: Reading Efficiently and Effectively - Dr. Sara Osenton

All graduate students have the challenge of dealing with large volumes of reading material. In this workshop we will examine strategies for identifying your research and reading goals to help you effectively and efficiently make the most of your readings. We will discuss how to scan and skim text and where to focus your time. Learning to read strategically will help you to manage the volume of reading required of graduate students by helping to you to identify and prioritize what to read and how deeply to read it.

 

Thurs. Nov. 2: Developing Effective Note-Taking Strategies - Dr. Jane Freeman

This workshop will be jointly led by Dr. Freeman, Director of GCAC, and Jeff Newman, College Librarian, New College. In the workshop we will consider strategies for note-taking during lectures and in response to written texts, the varying benefits of different formats for note taking (by hand, in Word, and/or in a citation management software), and strategies for using spreadsheets to compare what you read in a range of articles. We will explore ways in which a citation management package like Zotero or Mendeley can be used to take, store, organize and manage notes and related materials for a variety of academic tasks. Using electronic tools can both solve and create problems, as can other formats of note taking. In the workshop we will encourage you to reflect on which of your current note-taking habits are serving you well and what new strategies might help you at your current stage of study.

Thurs. Nov. 9: Maximizing Your Poster Presentations - Marian Hettiaratchi

In this workshop we will identify the goals and benefits of presenting ongoing research in poster form. We will identify strategies for effective poster design, learn to organize and write poster text, and learn how to use tables and other visuals to present results. This workshop will also provide strategies for effective oral presentation—organizing material to make the most effective use of limited presentation time, preparing physically for 'the day' and poster competition, speaking clearly and persuasively to an audience, and handling audience questions.

Please note the different day/location for the workshops below: 

4:10 - 5:40 pm, Bissell Bldg, 140 St. George St., Rm. 205

Accessible entrance from Sussex Avenue to Claude T. Bissel Building: A long ramp leads to a powered door. The powered door to the left of the revolving door provides the only accessible entrance to the Bissel Building. The interior connection between Robarts Library and the Bissel Building is not accessible.

Mon. Nov. 13: Selecting an Academic Journal for Publishing - Christy Guthrie

While we often hear that publishing in peer-reviewed journals is important, the process of selecting the right journal for submission receives much less attention. Intended for students early in their publishing careers, this workshop explains how to assess fit between your writing project and journals in your field in order to increase your chances of success. We will identify key considerations of fit including a journal’s scope, prestige, and acceptance rate. We will discuss how to evaluate these factors in light of your career and CV goals to come to reasoned decisions about where to submit your work.

Mon. Nov. 20: Making the Most of Oral Presentations - Dr. Peter Grav

Whether you are preparing for a graduate seminar, an academic conference, a job talk or a thesis defence, this workshop is designed to help you improve your oral presentation skills. Topics discussed will include overcoming nervousness, designing effective visual support and handling questions.


Improving Your Graduate Writing

(for native and non-native speakers of English)
4:10 - 5:40 p.m., Bissell Building, 140 St. George Street, Rm. 205

Accessible entrance from Sussex Avenue to Claude T. Bissel Building: A long ramp leads to a powered door. The powered door to the left of the revolving door provides the only accessible entrance to the Bissel Building. The interior connection between Robarts Library and the Bissel Building is not accessible. 

All workshops in this series are taught by Dr. Rachael Cayley.

Wed. Nov. 1: Understanding Tone

For many graduate writers, finding an appropriate tone is a challenge. In this workshop, we will discuss how to evaluate and adjust the level of formality in your academic writing. Informality can come from a range of features in our writing: excessive generality, inaccurate verbs, imprecision, wordiness, and poor word choice. After looking at examples of how informality can weaken academic writing, we will introduce a collection of strategies that can help to combat these problems.

Wed. Nov. 8: Managing Flow

Managing flow in academic writing requires that we grasp the connections among our own ideas and that we provide readers with what they need to make sense of those connections. Because of the complexity of this task, many graduate writers find themselves relying on transition words instead of building flow into their writing. In this workshop, we will look at how to avoid this overuse of transition words before going on to discuss strategies for constructing cohesive sentences.

Wed. Nov. 15: Establishing Coherence

Academic writing can be dense, unwieldy, and confusing, even to its writer. Given the challenging nature of academic writing, graduate writers often struggle to construct coherent texts. Even if readers wish to engage with these texts, they may have trouble understanding the overarching structure and argument. In this workshop, we will consider how to plan and revise texts in ways that will enhance overall coherence.

Wed. Nov. 22: Achieving Correctness

In order to produce effective academic writing, we need to follow basic rules of grammatical correctness. Even if we have a good understanding of the importance of tone, flow, and coherence in academic writing, we may still be puzzling our readers with our grammatical choices. In the final workshop in this series, we will review a range of grammatical issues that we know to be challenging to graduate student writers.

Wed. Nov 29: Becoming a Productive Writer

Why does it seem like there’s never enough time to write? One of the key challenges of graduate study is balancing the many demands on your time; every graduate student needs to manage both increased workload and increased autonomy. One of the areas in which you're most likely to struggle is being productive as a writer. In this workshop, we will discuss how and why academic writing is so difficult and look at some strategies for establishing a productive writing practice.



Past Workshops:

Academic Communication Skills for Multilingual Graduate Students

​4:30 - 6:00 pm, Bissell Bldg, 140 St. George St., Rm. 205

Accessible entrance from Sussex Avenue to Claude T. Bissel Building: A long ramp leads to a powered door. The powered door to the left of the revolving door provides the only accessible entrance to the Bissel Building. The interior connection between Robarts Library and the Bissel Building is not accessible.

Mon. Oct. 16: Research-Based Strategies for Learning a Second Language - Dr. Art Babayants

Is learning a new language merely part of your degree requirements or are you trying to improve your English/French in order to communicate in your second language better? What exactly are your second-language learning goals? After providing a brief summary of current research in education and applied linguistics that pertains to second language speaking, this workshop will provide practical advice on the most efficient strategies for learning second language vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and pragmatics. Note: native speakers of English learning a second language are also welcome to attend.

Mon. Oct. 23: Active Listening and Speaking in Academic Settings - Dr. Art Babayants

This workshop aims to help students better understand and participate in academic conversations by focusing on the positive actions you can take both as a listener and as a speaker.  Topics discussed include the following: How do you interrupt someone for clarification or further explanation?   How can you change the topic? and How do you involve others if you’re leading a discussion?

Mon. Oct. 30: Strategies for Academic Vocabulary Acquisition - Dr. Art Babayants

This workshop addresses problems non-native speakers of English often have with vocabulary knowledge. In this session, you’ll learn practical strategies for developing an active-thinking process that will facilitate your acquiring academic, as well as everyday, vocabulary through listening and reading.

Mon. Nov. 6: Strategies for Clear Speaking and Pronunciation - Dr. Art Babayants

This workshop will touch upon techniques for making your oral delivery smoother and strategies to help your audiences comprehend your presentation content. Such strategies include making transitions between important parts of the presentation, using visual support material as a pronunciation aid and answering questions from your audience.  The workshop will also address common pronunciation issues affecting speech comprehension.

Academic Communication Skills for Multilingual Graduate Students

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., University College, 15 King's College Circle, Rm. 163

Accessible entrance to the refectory at the northwest corner of University College: A downward sloping ramp leads to a powered door facing south. Entrance is not visible from any streets but a large sign along the pedestrian pathway to the west of University College marks the beginning of the accessible ramp.

Tues. Sept. 12: Breaking the Ice: How to Start Conversations Effectively - Eleonora Maldina

Initiating and sustaining conversations in academic settings can be a challenging and stressful task for international students. This workshop will introduce a few basic principles and strategies to help you engage in successful verbal exchanges in both academic and social settings.

Tues. Sept. 19: Strategies for Making Requests in Academic Settings - Eleonora Maldina

This workshop aims to help students improve their request-making skills, particularly when interacting with superiors and peers in North American universities. The main goals of the workshop are (1) to raise awareness about what is considered appropriate and polite when making requests and (2) to provide students with strategies and language structures that will enable them to produce successful requests.

Tues. Sept. 26: Class Participation: Why, What, and How - Eleonora Maldina

Class participation is highly valued in many graduate courses and often constitutes part of the final course grade. In this workshop we will explore what participating involves, what benefits it brings to learning, and what strategies students can employ to participate in class successfully.

Tues. Oct. 3: Reading Efficiently and Effectively in English - Dr. Sara Osenton

All graduate students have the challenge of dealing with large volumes of reading material. In this workshop designed for non-native speakers of English, we will examine strategies for identifying your research and reading goals to help you effectively and efficiently make the most of your readings. We will discuss how to scan and skim text and where to focus your time. Special attention will be paid to developing strategies for reading in a second language, such as strategies for dealing with unfamiliar vocabulary items, for identifying an author’s strength of claim, and for prioritizing your reading when time is short.

 ​
Developing and Pitching a Research Project

(for graduate students in all disciplines)
4:10 p.m. – 5:40 p.m., Bissell Building, 140 St. George Street, Room 205

Accessible entrance from Sussex Avenue to Claude T. Bissel Building: A long ramp leads to a powered door. The powered door to the left of the revolving door provides the only accessible entrance to the Bissel Building. The interior connection between Robarts Library and the Bissel Building is not accessible.

All workshops in this series are taught by Dr. Jane Freeman.

The four workshops described below are designed for graduate students who are preparing to write, or who are in the process of writing, either a thesis or grant proposal. This workshop series is unlike our other series in two ways: all of the workshops will be taught by the same instructor, and the workshops will build on one another in order to allow students to get an overview of the proposal preparation process. Each workshop will function both independently and as part of the sequence, and students are welcome to come to any or all of the workshops. The material covered in each workshop is described below.

Wed. Sept. 13: Writing a Thesis or Grant Proposal: An Overview

Graduate students write many proposals – federal grant proposals, travel grant proposals, thesis proposals – and every proposal has a potentially significant impact on a student's ability to carry out specific research. The introductory workshop in this series provides an overview of proposal writing designed to get students thinking about the demands of, and the predictable variations in, this important genre of writing. We will examine the similarities and differences between thesis and grant proposals, consider the main questions that most proposals must answer, and see examples of answers to those questions in successful proposals. We will also consider common pitfalls in proposal writing, and strategies for getting started on writing a proposal.

Wed. Sept. 20: Strategies for Clarifying and Organizing Your Ideas Before You Write

This workshop is designed to help you clarify in your own mind the content and structure of your next proposal BEFORE you begin to write. Participants will be introduced to a range of strategies for organizing their ideas, and will be encouraged to consider which strategy works best given their own learning style and timeline. Drawing on techniques from classical rhetoric for developing and organizing ideas, the workshop will introduce strategies to help students investigate and organize their ideas at both the pre-writing and mid-writing stages. While most examples will be drawn from proposals, the material covered will also be relevant to research papers and theses.

Wed. Sept. 27: Writing a Literature Review that Demonstrates the Need for Your Research

Like research papers and theses, thesis and grant proposals require graduate students to situate their work within the context of other research in their field(s). A well constructed literature review will help you to clarify key points for your reader such as why your work needs to be done, how it is original, and why your proposed method is appropriate. In this workshop we will examine characteristics of both short and long literature reviews, common mistakes students make when reviewing research in their field, and strategies for increasing the effectiveness of literature reviews. The material covered will be relevant to the literature-review segments of proposals, research papers, and theses.

Wed. Oct. 4: Clear Thinking, Clear Writing: Communicating Clearly to Your Target Audience(s)

Grant proposals require you to communicate a lot of information, in a limited space, to multiple audiences, without ambiguity. Such communication demands clear writing and an active awareness of the needs of both specialist and generalist readers. In this workshop we will examine some of the most common stylistic and grammatical mistakes found in proposals, and consider the ways in which strategic proofreading can help you to identify not only the errors in your writing but also the errors in your logic.


Writing NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR Proposals

Mon. Sept 18, 2:30 - 4:00 p.m., SS1072: Writing NSERC Proposals - Dr. Daniel Newman

This workshop is designed to help graduate students in the sciences write the research proposal for NSERC applications. We will discuss how to pitch your proposal to the mixed audience of the selection committees, including strategies for balancing the need for clarity and accessibility with the need for specificity. We will also look at the basic structure of NSERC proposals, with particular emphasis on writing a strong opening paragraph.

 2:30 - 4:00 p.m., Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Rm. 1072

Thurs. Sept. 21, 4:30 - 6:00 p.m., MC254: Writing CIHR Proposals - Dr. Peter Sabatini

This hour and a half workshop aims to answer some of the most pressing questions about two components of CIHR applications: the Research Project Summary and the Training Expectations. The following questions will be addressed: What is the purpose of these two documents? What are the differences between them? How much space should I devote to my methods? How can I say everything I need to say in such limited space? Using examples from actual CIHR applications, we will examine qualities that make proposals persuasive and clear (as well as those that commonly make them less effective) and discuss some strategies for bringing these qualities out in your own proposal.

 4:30 - 6:00 p.m., Mechanical Engineering Building, 5 King's College Road, Rm. 254

Wed. Oct. 11, 4:10 - 5:40 p.m., BL205: Writing Master's SSHRC Proposals - Dr. Jane Freeman

This workshop is designed for students who are preparing to apply this fall for Master's scholarships from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Getting a start now on answering key research-related questions will help you increase the clarity and precision with which you can describe your work in your fall application. The workshop will help you prepare a strategic plan for writing your grant proposal. Both new and previous applicants are encouraged to attend. 

4:10 - 5:40 p.m., Bissel Building, 140 St. George Street, Rm. 205


 


Annual GCAC Workshop Series

These are the workshops that GCAC offers on an ongoing basis, sorted by series title or category. If we aren't offering a particular workshop or workshop series this term, please check back in a future term. As always, signing up for our listserv is the best way to find out what we are offering each week.

Developing & Pitching a Research Project: An Overview of the Workshop Series

The four workshops described below are designed for graduate students who are preparing to write, or who are in the process of writing, either a thesis or grant proposal. This workshop series is unlike our other series in two ways: all of the workshops will be taught by the same instructor, and the workshops will build on one another in order to allow students to get an overview of the proposal preparation process. Each workshop will function both independently and as part of the sequence, and students are welcome to come to any or all of the workshops. The material covered in each workshop is described below.

Writing a Thesis or Grant Proposal

Graduate students write many proposals – federal grant proposals, travel grant proposals, thesis proposals – and every proposal has a potentially significant impact on a student's ability to carry out specific research. The introductory workshop in this series provides an overview of proposal writing designed to get students thinking about the demands of, and the predictable variations in, this important genre of writing. We will examine the similarities and differences between thesis and grant proposals, consider the main questions that most proposals must answer, and see examples of answers to those questions in successful proposals. We will also consider common pitfalls in proposal writing, and strategies for getting started on writing a proposal.

Strategies for Clarifying and Organizing Your Ideas Before You Write

This workshop is designed to help you clarify in your own mind the content and structure of your next proposal BEFORE you begin to write. Participants will be introduced to a range of strategies for organizing their ideas, and will be encouraged to consider which strategy works best given their own learning style and timeline. Drawing on techniques from classical rhetoric for developing and organizing ideas, the workshop will introduce strategies to help students investigate and organize their ideas at both the pre-writing and mid-writing stages. While most examples will be drawn from proposals, the material covered will also be relevant to research papers and theses.

Writing a Literature Review that Demonstrates the Need for Your Research

Like research papers and theses, thesis and grant proposals require graduate students to situate their work within the context of other research in their field(s). A well constructed literature review will help you to clarify key points for your reader such as why your work needs to be done, how it is original, and why your proposed method is appropriate. In this workshop we will examine characteristics of both short and long literature reviews, common mistakes students make when reviewing research in their field, and strategies for increasing the effectiveness of literature reviews. The material covered will be relevant to the literature-review segments of proposals, research papers, and theses.

Clear Thinking, Clear Writing: Communicating Clearly to Your target Audience(s)

Grant proposals require you to communicate a lot of information, in a limited space, to multiple audiences, without ambiguity. Such communication demands clear writing and an active awareness of the needs of both specialist and generalist readers. In this workshop we will examine some of the most common stylistic and grammatical mistakes found in proposals, and consider the ways in which strategic proofreading can help you to identify not only the errors in your writing but also the errors in your logic.

Academic Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English: An Overview of the Workshop Series

This series of three workshops will provide a brief introduction to academic writing at the graduate level for non-native speakers of English. The topics covered in the first and second workshops are derived from our Academic Writing 1: Focus on Fundamentals course; those in the third workshop are derived from our Academic Writing 2: Focus on Grammar course. If you have taken either of those courses, you’ll find that the corresponding workshops cover familiar ground. Everyone is welcome to attend, either to learn something new or to get a quick refresher on material covered in the past.

Understanding Tone in Academic Writing

For many new graduate students, writing in a sufficiently formal tone is a challenge. In this workshop, we will look at a collection of strategies designed to evaluate and adjust the level of formality of academic writing.

Managing Transitions in Academic Writing

Creating flow in academic writing is an important issue. Unfortunately, many novice writers try to create transitions with transition words alone rather than with clear links between sentences. In this workshop, we will look first at how to avoid overusing transition words and then at strategies for constructing coherent flow between sentences.

Improving Grammatical Correctness in Academic Writing

This workshop on grammatical correctness will focus on three issues that cause particular difficulties for non-native speakers of English: articles, pronoun reference, and punctuation. Throughout, we will look at the principles of sound writing, focusing on representative example sentences.

Listening & Speaking in Academic Settings

The Listening and Speaking workshops in this series for multilingual students draw from the Academic Conversation Skills (ACS) curriculum. These workshops are open both to students who have not taken the ACS course, as well as those who have taken it and would like to refresh their oral communication skills.

Active Listening and Speaking in Academic Settings

This workshop aims to help students better understand and participate in academic conversations by focusing on the positive actions you can take both as a listener and as a speaker. Topics discussed include the following: How do you interrupt someone for clarification or further explanation? How can you change the topic? and How do you involve others if you're leading a discussion?

Strategies for Academic Vocabulary Acquisition

This workshop addresses problems non-native speakers of English often have with vocabulary knowledge. In this session, you'll learn practical strategies for developing an active-thinking process that will facilitate your acquiring academic, as well as everyday, vocabulary through listening and reading.

Active Listening and Note-Taking

In this workshop, we'll consider key assumptions made about various learning situations, as well as dominant learning styles in North American universities, such as learning through one's ears. The workshop also explores what it means to listen actively in academic situations (e.g. lectures, seminars, labs and tutorials), and discusses note-taking strategies that will help you get information down on paper, or onto your laptop, more efficiently.

Strategies for Clear Speaking

This workshop will touch upon techniques for making your oral delivery smoother and strategies to help your audiences comprehend your presentation content. Such strategies include making transitions between important parts of the presentation, using visual support material as a pronunciation aid and answering questions from your audience. The workshop will also discuss how to ask questions with clarity and confidence in a large group setting.

Getting Through Graduate Work

Writing a Thesis or Grant Proposal

Graduate students write many proposals – federal grant proposals, travel grant proposals, thesis proposals – and every proposal has a potentially significant impact on a student's ability to carry out specific research. The introductory workshop in this series provides an overview of proposal writing designed to get students thinking about the demands of, and the predictable variations in, this important genre of writing. We will examine the similarities and differences between thesis and grant proposals, consider the main questions that most proposals must answer, and see examples of answers to those questions in successful proposals. We will also consider common pitfalls in proposal writing, and strategies for getting started on writing a proposal.

Writing Literature Reviews

Whatever sort of writing you're doing at graduate school, in various writing tasks such as articles, course papers or the thesis chapter entitled 'Literature Review' you'll need to be able to review the literature of your field effectively. This workshop will explore this genre of academic writing, identify common pitfalls and examine strategies to maximize your lit review's effectiveness.

Five Principles to Improve Your Academic Writing

If you've ever worried that your ideas aren't flowing together on paper, that your reader might not be getting your message the way that you intended or that your prose style isn't dynamic enough, this workshop is designed for you. In it, we will examine five principles which can improve your academic writing and help ensure that the expression of your research is as accomplished as the ideas behind it.

Making the Most of Oral Presentations

Whether you are preparing for a graduate seminar, an academic conference, a job talk or a thesis defence, this workshop is designed to help you improve your oral presentation skills. Topics discussed will include overcoming nervousness, designing effective visual support and handling questions.


Becoming a Productive Writer

Why does it seem like there’s never enough time to write? One of the key challenges of graduate study is balancing the many demands on your time; every graduate student needs to manage both increased workload and increased autonomy. One of the areas in which you're most likely to struggle is being productive as a writer. In this workshop, we will discuss how and why academic writing is so difficult and look at some strategies for establishing a productive writing practice.


Editing Your Work Effectively

While everyone knows that they should leave time for editing, not everyone knows the best way to approach the task of editing. This workshop will offer concrete advice on improving the first draft of an academic paper. We will begin by discussing the need to clarify the different types of editing, before going on to some general strategies to improve the editing process.

Writing/Speaking in the Physical & Life Sciences

Thesis Writing in the Physical & Life Sciences

This workshop will give an overview of thesis writing in the physical and life sciences. Thesis writing is a unprecedented challenge in the life of a graduate student; the task of writing a full-length work based on one’s own research requires new and different skills. In this workshop, we will discuss the elements of a thesis, highlighting the specific challenges associated with each. We will also discuss approaches to productivity that can help during the thesis writing process.

Effective Use of Scientific Illustrations, Graphs, & Tables

It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. This is nowhere more true than in the realm of scientific research, where clear graphics are needed to summarize complex data, communicate difficult concepts, and to enable you to use fewer words in your publications. With the help of good, bad and plain ugly examples from the literature, we will learn how to produce effective scientific illustrations and tables. We will also explore the essential process of coupling your illustrations to text. For this workshop, students are encouraged to bring along some of their real illustration problems for classroom discussion.

Maximizing Your Poster Presentations

In this workshop we will identify the goals and benefits of presenting ongoing research in poster form. We will identify strategies for effective poster design, learn to organize and write poster text, and learn how to use tables and other visuals to present results. This workshop will also provide strategies for effective oral presentation—organizing material to make the most effective use of limited presentation time, preparing physically for 'the day' and poster competition, speaking clearly and persuasively to an audience, and handling audience questions.

Writing Grant Proposals in the Sciences

This workshop is designed to help graduate students in the sciences write brief research proposals, such as those required for NSERC, OGS, and CIHR-type studentship applications. The tips and strategies that will be discussed are also useful for students interested in applying for postdoctoral fellowships and other research grant programs. As well, many of the basic concepts covered are applicable for dissertation proposals.

Editing Your Work Effectively

While everyone knows that they should leave time for editing, not everyone knows the best way to approach the task of editing. This workshop will offer concrete advice on improving the first draft of an academic paper. We will begin by discussing the need to clarify the different types of editing, before going on to some general strategies to improve the editing process.

Writing a Research Article: The Fundamentals

This workshop will explore fundamental strategies for writing research articles written in the IMRD format (Introduction – Methods – Results – Discussion). This course is designed to help graduate student writers engaged in experimental work by increasing their familiarity with the established forms of such articles. We will consider the objectives of the four sections, what “moves” are typically found in each and discuss how you can best reach your communicative goals.

Writing/Speaking in the Humanities & Social Sciences

Thesis Writing in the Humanities & Social Sciences

This workshop will give an overview of thesis writing in the humanities and social sciences. Thesis writing is a unprecedented challenge in the life of a graduate student; the task of writing a full-length work based on one’s own research requires new and different skills. In this workshop, we will discuss the elements of a thesis, highlighting the specific challenges associated with each. We will also discuss approaches to productivity that can help during the thesis writing process.

Mastering Punctuation & Why It Matters

The role of punctuation in constructing meaning is a very important, but often forgotten, element of academic writing. This workshop will examine how the effective and proper use of commas, semicolons, colons and other punctuation helps readers to understand the ideas you are trying to communicate.

Editing Your Own Work Effectively

While everyone knows that they should leave time for editing, not everyone knows the best way to approach the task of editing. This workshop will offer concrete advice on improving the first draft of an academic paper. We will begin by discussing the need to clarify the different types of editing, before going on to some general strategies to improve the editing process.

Preparing to Publish

Whether ready to publish or not, every graduate student benefits from thinking about the publishing process. In this workshop, we will discuss the basic genres of academic writing (e.g., journal articles, books, textbooks, book reviews) and outline the ins and outs of getting your work published. The focus will be on the information that all students should have as they think about the eventual publication of their work.

Metadiscourse: What It Is and How to Use It to Improve Your Academic Writing

Because academic writing is often complex, expert writers must help readers negotiate their texts by going beyond the essentials of organizing material effectively and expressing it clearly. Metadiscourse is a key writing tool to help your audience grasp the ideas in your work. As opposed to 'content' information (i.e., what your research concerns) metadiscourse, by writing about your evolving text, guides readers in a way that both facilitates understanding and ensures that your work is read the way you intended. This workshop will look at the various types of metadiscourse and consider how to best use it to improve your writing.

Writing Literature Reviews

Whatever sort of writing you're doing at graduate school, in various writing tasks such as articles, course papers or the thesis chapter entitled 'Literature Review' you'll need to be able to review the literature of your field effectively. This workshop will explore this genre of academic writing, identify common pitfalls and examine strategies to maximize your lit review's effectiveness.

Making the Most of Oral Presentations

Whether you are preparing for a graduate seminar, an academic conference, a job talk or a thesis defence, this workshop is designed to help you improve your oral presentation skills. Topics discussed will include overcoming nervousness, designing effective visual support and handling questions.

Using Outside Sources in Your Work

Almost all graduate research and writing is built upon work that has come before. This workshop looks at how to best integrate the ideas of others into your work. Topics covered will include how to avoid plagiarism, the mechanics of paraphrasing, how to smoothly integrate quotations into your prose and how quote effectively and not lose your own “voice.

Improving Your Graduate Writing

This series of four workshops will provide an overview of key issues facing academic writers at the graduate level. In particular, we will look at four areas that often prove challenging: tone, flow, coherence, and correctness. This workshop series is appropriate for both native and non-native speakers of English.

Understanding Tone

For many graduate writers, finding an appropriate tone is a challenge. In this workshop, we will discuss how to evaluate and adjust the level of formality in your academic writing. Informality can come from a range of features in our writing: excessive generality, inaccurate verbs, imprecision, wordiness, and poor word choice. After looking at examples of how informality can weaken academic writing, we will introduce a collection of strategies that can help to combat these problems.

Managing Flow

Managing flow in academic writing requires that we grasp the connections among our own ideas and that we provide readers with what they need to make sense of those connections. Because of the complexity of this task, many graduate writers find themselves relying on transition words instead of building flow into their writing. In this workshop, we will look at how to avoid this overuse of transition words before going on to discuss strategies for constructing cohesive sentences.

Establishing Coherence

Academic writing can be dense, unwieldy, and confusing, even to its writer. Given the challenging nature of academic writing, graduate writers often struggle to construct coherent texts. Even if readers wish to engage with these texts, they may have trouble understanding the overarching structure and argument. In this workshop, we will consider how to plan and revise texts in ways that will enhance overall coherence.

Achieving Correctness

In order to produce effective academic writing, we need to follow basic rules of grammatical correctness. Even if we have a good understanding of the importance of tone, flow, and coherence in academic writing, we may still be puzzling our readers with our grammatical choices. In the final workshop in this series, we will review a range of grammatical issues that we know to be challenging to graduate student writers.

Working With Sources

Thinking about Citation and Sources

In the opening workshop we will consider fundamental aspects of working with sources including why we work with them before, during and after writing. We will also discuss how to find and assess source materials and how to read them critically. Other topics will include the rhetorical patterns in source use across disciplines and genres of writing and the reasons why we might choose to quote, paraphrase or summarize, dependant on the circumstance.

Writing Your Sources Into Your Work

The second workshop in the series deals more with the “nuts and bolts” of citation – i.e. how the work of others actually makes it into your writing. We’ll be looking at the various levels of citation (from short quotation to large generalizations), as well as the mechanics of quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing. We’ll also explore how to integrate the ideas of other and the reasons we might choose certain sentence or paragraph structures over others. Other topics that will be explored include endnotes/footnotes and the fundamentals of literature reviews. (If the latter is of particular interest to you, please note that ELWS offers a separate workshop dedicated solely to Lit Reviews that provides a more thorough overview. Please consult our schedule for when that workshop will be offered.)

Refining Your Use of Sources

The final workshop in the series tackles some higher-level concerns attendant to academic citation. Issues up for discussion include how much we should be citing, the consequences of over- and under-citing and how we can maintain our own voice in the midst of the experts we must introduce. We’ll also consider the idea of “common knowledge” and what needs to be cited, as well as how plagiarism can be defined and avoided. Finally, we will investigate some stylistic and technical elements of source incorporation such as choosing reporting verbs, conveying an attitude towards sources, using appropriate verb tense and avoiding common grammatical pitfalls associated with citation.​​