Training researchers to write academic articles: another string to your bow


The authors’ editors among us are well aware that researchers may lack the skills required to produce quality articles. We also know they can benefit from academic writing courses, but we may not be sure how to go about adding this service to our portfolio, or we may have never considered this option in the first place. In either case, this workshop facilitated by Susan Frekko showed us the way to go.

Susan started us off with a quick round of introductions and asked us what we hoped to get out of the workshop. She then explained that in the first part she’d “teach” us her Introduction to the research article module while we played the role of students, an ingenious approach that showed us both sides of the classroom experience and prompted us to think about teaching strategies. She moved into demo mode and put us into small breakout groups to discuss what research actually is. Back in the main room, Susan elicited our groups’ reports and pulled them all together to draw some conclusions backed up with theory and references from the literature. We then moved on to the research article. In small groups we identified elements of the structure of the articles we had been asked to read prior to the workshop. After we’d reported our ideas to the main group, Susan again drew some conclusions and wrapped up with more useful theory. 

In the second part we put our language professionals’ hats back on to analyse the module and discuss how to encourage students' engagement and what might change for a class of real researchers and an in-person situation. 

We finished with a look at how to develop a business plan. This time we worked individually on our ideas for designing courses, balancing teaching with other work, fees and scheduling, before pooling our ideas in the main group. Susan generously described the courses she offers and how she schedules and charges for her teaching work.  

We are grateful to Susan for an excellent workshop full of takeaways for future academic writing trainers.