Writing Science for Journals, Funders and Other Audiences

30th August - 1st September, 2015, Cyprus.

The workshop will be facilitated by:

Dr. Jean Adams (University of Cambridge, UK),

Dr. Stephan Dombrowski (University of Stirling, UK),

Prof. Martin White (University of Cambridge, UK)

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The 2015 workshop will facilitate the following:

  • Developing knowledge and skills in writing on scientific topics for a range of audiences;
  • Opportunities for focused writing of a manuscript or grant application of participants' choice;
  • Collaboration between early career researchers working in health psychology in Europe;

To develop skills in, and provide opportunities for, facilitated peer-review and feedback.

The form of the workshop will be interactive and collaborative throughout. Learning will be facilitated primarily through participants writing, reflecting on their own writing, taking part in facilitated peer review of each other's writing, and sharing their previous and developing experiences.

Detailed breakdown:

APPROACH

We will adopt an interactive and collaborative approach throughout. Formal presentations from facilitators will be kept to a minimum (around 20 minutes each). Learning will be facilitated primarily through participants writing, reflecting on their own writing, taking part in facilitated peer review of each other’s writing, and sharing their previous and developing experiences. Participants will work in small (max 5) groups. As far as possible, group members will not know or have worked with each other previously and groups will be organised to allow those working on papers and those working on grant applications to work together.
 

CONTENT

Participants will bring an idea for a paper or grant application that they have given some preliminary thought to, but not yet written; a very brief outline will be requested as part of the application process for attending the workshop. Throughout the workshop participants will focus on developing their own paper or application. 
 
Sunday morning: introductions, the elevator pitch and the lay abstract
All: Informal introductory session.
MW: Short interactive presentation on the general mechanics of publishing in peer-reviewed journals and obtaining grant funding. Including: overview of different types of scientific papers and funding sources; choosing a journal; reporting guidance; trial registration; protocol papers.
All: Discussion and setting of ground rules for facilitated peer review in the current workshop context.
JA: Practical session on writing an elevator pitch – identifying your main message and expressing it in a way that captures the audience’s interest and leaves them wanting more. Expanding the elevator pitch into a lay abstract. Facilitated peer review and feedback of each other’s work in groups of 2-3.
 
Sunday afternoon: writing actively and directly, the scientific abstract
SD: Short interactive presentation on direct and active writing. Introduction to the structured abstract.
All: Practical session on re-writing a badly written piece of text to improve clarity. Examples of good practice. Converting the lay abstract into the scientific abstract. Facilitated peer review and feedback of each other’s work in groups of 2-3.
 
Monday morning: identifying the narrative and structuring the argument
MW: Short interactive presentation on the value of compelling narrative and how to structure an argument. Focus on planning and breaking all ideas down into their simplest constituent parts. Structured discussion.
All: Practical session on re-ordering a badly structured, well-known, fairy story. Developing a detailed plan for the main text. Facilitated peer review and feedback of each other’s work in groups of 2-3.
 
Monday afternoon: dedicated writing time
All: Practical session to turn the detailed plan into a piece of crafted writing. Focus on ‘difficult’ parts of the manuscript/application – introduction/justification, discussion. Facilitators available to discuss problems.
All: Facilitated group discussion of generic problems encountered during the session and possible solutions - structuring the discussion.
JA: Short interactive presentation on dealing with peer review; Q&A; sharing of experiences.
 
Tuesday morning: writing for lay audiences
JA: Short interactive presentation on potential outlets for scientific content with lay audiences (e.g. blog posts, newsletter, press releases, web pages). Focus on the inverted pyramid.
All: Facilitated discussion on developing a CREATE blog and twitter account – what content might it include? Who would write it? Who would edit it? Who would the intended audience be? What would it be called? Who will set it up? Who will maintain it over time? How will it be advertised? What are the barriers to the blog being used? How can these barriers be overcome?
All: Practical session developing potential posts for the CREATE blog alone or in pairs.
 
Tuesday lunchtime: round up
SD: Facilitated group discussion of main take home messages from workshop and next steps - encouragement to establish supportive writing relationships; finding time & motivation to write; action planning and coping planning for completing writing tasks. Feedback from participants to facilitators; and from facilitators to participants. 
 
Conference: 
Principles of Behaviour Change in Health and Illness