MSc Dissertation Support at the Writing Centre

Everyone writing an MSc dissertation will be aware that July is upon us. I took my MSc in Linguistics & English Language back in 2012-2013 and can still remember how it felt when June came to an end. Of course, submitting a dissertation is never a stress-free experience, but the PPLS Writing Centre would like to make sure that you’re adequately supported as you come into the home stretch. Accordingly, we’ve extended our offerings and organised a series of events in July to help you finish up.

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IAD dissertation help for taught MSc students

The PPLS Writing Centre will soon roll out PPLS-specific workshops, boot camps and more for PGT students working on dissertations. But there is also a series of events in June created by the Institute for Academic Development, which supports students across all departments.

The offerings include workshops on planning, structure, writing, editing, and proofreading. There are also writing boot camps to provide you with a peaceful working environment.

For more, click on this link. Make sure to book well in advance.

Linguistics workshop now available

The last of our spring workshops is now open for bookings. It was developed by Mirjam Eiswirth, who is our most senior linguistics tutor. She has used her experience of delivering nearly 100 appointments to develop a series of activities designed to help students achieve distinction in their writing. There is a particular focus on sociolinguistics, but all students are welcome to attend.

As always, check our workshops page for the link.

Philosophy workshops now available

Both of our workshops in philosophy are now available for booking. They were developed by Hadeel Naeem and Rie Iizuka, who have both seen more than 100 students at the PPLS Writing Centre over the last three years. If you’d like to learn some ways to boost your writing in philosophy to the next level, reserve your spot now.

The first (on Monday, April 8th) will be on developing your arguments more completely, and the second (on Tuesday, April 9th) will be on accounting for objections. Both will use extracts from real student writing, and both will take an interactive approach with voting, exercises and discussion.

The primary audience will be undergraduates in years 3 & 4 and taught postgraduates, but you are all welcome to attend, even if this is your first year.

More Honours Workshops in April

The PPLS Writing Centre holds workshops throughout the year. Pre-honours students have a series in autumn to start things off right, while we help Honours and PGT students closer to their dissertation due dates (in spring and summer, respectively). These are the target audiences, but anyone from any level in PPLS is welcome to attend any event. Every workshop we produce uses examples of real student writing to illustrate what works and what doesn’t (by the way, if you’d like to let us use anonymised extracts from your own writing to create future workshops and other guidance material, please fill out this form to give us permission to do so).

Our Honours workshops are taught by PhD tutors who have worked for the PPLS Writing Centre for 3 years or more. They’ve seen dozens of students (in some cases, over a hundred) about writing assignments, and they’ve also spent long hours marking student work as part of their regular tutoring duties. This gives them particular insight into where students in their subject areas go wrong. That’s why I’ve asked them to develop workshops to help larger audiences avoid those pitfalls.

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PPLS Writing Retreat next week

Kasia Banas will be holding another writing retreat on March 18th, and registration is now open to all Honours students in PPLS.

If you haven’t been to one before, consider giving it a try. Many people find it very motivating to be surrounded by other people quietly getting their work done. Even academic and research staff participate in joint writing sessions just like this on a regular basis.

And as if that’s not enough, there are promises of free cookies and caffeine. I’ve even heard that sandwiches are not out of the question.

Kasia has passed along a link to this site, where you can see more details and claim your spot. Don’t worry about where it says “Psychology Honours Students”; linguists and philosophers are also welcome.

E-Prime and OpenSesame courses

Will you be designing and conducting experiments as part of your research? If so, you’ll probably find yourself using either E-Prime or OpenSesame. Courses on these software packages are going to be held next week on Feb 19th and Feb 20th, respectively. They’ll last from 14:10 to 17:10 in room 4.02 in Appleton Tower. If you’re interested in attending, make sure to contact Chris Gillespie (e-mail address after the link) with your name and student number.

Advanced Writing for Quantitative Research (4 hours)

Students talking in a restaurant

The first PPLS Writing Centre Honours workshop series in 2019 will be Advanced Writing for Quantitative Research by Fang Yang.  It will involve two 2-hour workshop sessions designed to show you how to write longer quantitative essays with introduction, methods, results and discussion sections.  This workshop was developed with the guidance of academic staff and tutors, and will include activities throughout.  There will also be examples of real student writing submitted in previous years. The workshop sessions will be of most use to Honours students in psychology and linguistics, but anyone taking a course or writing a dissertation in PPLS is welcome to attend.

If you’re interested, please sign up as soon as possible: https://writingcentre.ppls.ed.ac.uk/workshops/

PPLS Computer Programming Courses

Happy New Year!

If one of your resolutions is to improve your computer skills, you should check out the 2-hour courses on offer from Alisdair Tullo and Chris Gillespie.

Knowing how to program is an important tool to have in your belt. Even if you aren’t currently engaged in a project that requires programming, I’d still recommend having a look. Once you know how to get a computer to help you solve problems, you’ll start finding many ways to use that power. You might even stumble upon ideas for research that wouldn’t have occurred to you otherwise.

Most of these courses are already full, but you should make sure to join the waiting list of any event that you’re interested in. These waiting lists let event organisers know when there’s enough interest to warrant repeating a course.

Intermediate Programming with Python
(Jan 15, 11:10-13:00)

Online Experiments
(Jan 15, 14:10-16:00)

Basics of Coding in Java — Creating Stimuli Using Processing
(Jan 18, 10:10-12:00)