Research Writing Skills

Spring 2018 (3 credits)

Co-ordinator: Dr. Grace Wong
Dr. Grace Wong

Course Description

This one-semester course aims at enhancing the research writing skills of the postgraduates in Environmental Science, Policy and Management to help them meet the specific demands of their academic work. It particularly focuses on developing students’ abilities in writing a wide spectrum of research genres, including abstracts and proposals.

Rationale in introducing the course

The MPhil and PhD programs in Environmental Science, Policy and Management were created to tackle serious environmental problems by an interdisciplinary approach, since such problems are complicated in nature and caused by multifarious factors. This would present a great challenge to the students, most of whom have either a science or an engineering background. When they start the new PG program, they would find that the conventions of the writing of Environmental Studies are different from those of their former specialty. What is more, they have to ensure that they can write effectively to communicate their ideas with researchers coming from a diverse background, including those experts from the disciplines of Business and Management, and Social Sciences. It is therefore very important to introduce this course, to provide timely help to the students to enhance their writing skills.

Course Objectives

To help students

  1. understand the specific discourse features of the writing of their discipline and individual research interest,
  2. internalize the specific features into their research writing
  3. write research documents clearly and succinctly
  4. write research documents convincingly for different purposes, including getting accepted for publications and research grants

Intended Learning Outcomes

After completing the course, students will be able to

  1. identify the overall structure of a thesis or research paper, as well as the functions and conventions of its different sections (Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Method, Results, Discussion and Conclusion)
  2. meet the linguistic challenges in writing Research Proposals based on quantitative data, in describing experimental designs, and in formulating research questions and hypotheses, and engage readers right from the start
  3. include citations and quotations seamlessly in the Literature Review of Research Proposals, and effectively synthesize different viewpoints to form a coherent argument
  4. use language effectively to write succinct and persuasive abstracts according to their specific purposes, particularly for acceptance by conferences
  5. present results accurately and clearly, and discuss their essence by making use of linguistic devices such as hedging