Skills for Academic Success

General Admission cohort leaving College 2012

To register for any of the sessions please email Gillian Sanders.

Lent 2017

Thursday 26 January, 6-7pm.  Roger Needham Room
Time Management for Undergraduates
Workshop run by Jane McLarty and Alun Williams
How do you fit it all in?  Professor Alun Williams (Fellow, the Vet School) and Dr Jane McLarty (Senior Tutor, Faculty of Divinity) will lead a session aimed at giving you a reality check as to what it is and is not possible to achieve in a week at Cambridge.  Come prepared to share what works (and what doesn’t) for you.

Thursday 2 February, 6-7pm.  Roger Needham Room
Keeping Mentally Well
Workshop run by Caitlin Hitchcock
Dr Caitlin Hitchcock, clinical psychologist and Fellow Wolfson College, will provide a brief understanding of mental health and how to manage your psychological wellbeing while studying.

Thursday 9 February, 6-7pm.  Roger Needham Room
How to get your work published
Workshop run by Dr Philip Meyler, Publishing Development Director, Science, Technology and Medicine, Cambridge University Press and Senior Member Wolfson College
This session will cover:

  • Some background to the academic publishing landscape
  • Tips for choosing a journal and submitting a journal article (including handling the peer review process)
  • The mechanics of submitting a book proposal (again including peer review), and a little on the difference between a dissertation and a book...
  • A brief word on future directions

Thursday 16 February, 6-7pm.  Roger Needham Room
Writing Systematic Reviews
Workshop run by Dr Louis Major, Wolfson College Research Associate
Systematic (literature) Reviews – SRs – aim to provide a complete, exhaustive summary of literature relevant to a research question.  SRs continue to have increasing impact in a growing number of academic fields.  The aim of this session is to introduce the SR methodology. By the end of the session participants will:

  • be aware of the purposes for, and challenges of, conducting SRs
  • understand the main steps involved in undertaking a SR
  • appreciate how the SR process may help to enhance their engagement with existing research (e.g. strategies for rigorously identifying all relevant research in a field, methods for critically appraising research quality)

This interactive session is applicable to both qualitative and quantitative researchers

Thursday 23 February, 6-7pm.  Roger Needham Room
Writing Effective Grant Applications for Research
Workshop run by Professor Alexei Lapkin, Fellow Wolfson College
The class will explore innovation techniques that help formulate ideas in most generic jargon-free way to be able to communicate complex technical ideas to potential funders. We will discuss how to translate an idea into a research proposal. Key components of research proposals will be looked at and possible structuring of information within the research proposals will be discussed.

Thursday 2 March
Details to follow

Thursday 9 March, 6-7pm.  Roger Needham Room
Developing Healthy Skepticism of Statistical Results
Workshop run by Professor Ann Copestake, Fellow Wolfson College

Anyone working with statistical approaches has to develop an understanding of whether or not the results of an experiment are promising.  While ultimately this judgment should be based on formal statistical techniques (combined with reasonable hypotheses about causality), there are some methodological pitfalls which may be difficult to recognize. There are also problems which apply across a field, rather than in individual publications: for instance, the difficulty of publishing negative results may lead to distortions.  Ioannidis's provocatively titled 2005 paper "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" led to genuine and helpful debate about some of these issues, but has also been inappropriately used in attacks on science in general.
As a non-statistician working with statistical data (Ann works in computational linguistics, including machine learning and corpus linguistics), her aim in this session is to illustrate some methodological problems which are quite basic but which nevertheless often find their way into published research.  For instance, she will discuss some situations in which ordinary significance tests are invalid because of variants of the multiple comparisons problem. The idea is not to talk about the mathematical details of the statistical methodology, but rather to illustrate the way in which the methodology interacts with the way one approaches experimentation. Although examples from Ann’s own field will be used, the workshop is generally accessible to anyone working with statistical approaches.

Thursday 16 March, 6-7:30.  Lee Hall
Revision and exam skills
Workshop run by Richard Berengarten, Study Skills Tutor

This seminar will help you to map out your revision in a practical and effective way, without overloading.  The steps outlined will take you through the simple procedures involved in setting up and activating your own plan.  This is not a lecture but a working session.  You will have the chance to set up your own timetable with a bit of outside guidance and support.  It will be useful if you can bring along some exam papers from a previous year.  The seminar concludes by exploring exam skills, especially with regard to: time-management, generating ideas, relevance and conciseness, the structuring and planning of answers, and checking.