III Academic Writing
Online Conference
Research Writing: Teaching Approaches and Assessment Practices
October 30, 2021
ABOUT NWCC Conference
For an English for Research Publication Purposes (ERPP) course to obtain true accreditation, language professionals must have a framework of core competencies, knowledge of academic practice in terms of academic literacy, academic discourse, and disciplinary differences. Although the ERPP language professionals are becoming increasingly confident in using different approaches to teaching research writing, however assessment of the written product still poses very many problems, mostly connected with research content.

Therefore, many academic staff in the wider university community are concerned that ERPP programs should balance teaching academic language and introducing subject matter that is likely to be different in different research fields. In view of the issues mentioned above, the questions arise: who teaches research writing, who should teach it, and how achievement should be assessed.

Our previous Academic Writing Conference 2019.
The conference aims to answer the following questions:
Elena Bazanova
PhD, President of the Association "National Writing Centres Consortium", director of the NUST MISIS Academic Writing Office, director of Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC), read more
Jennifer Uhler
PhD, Regional English Language Officer based Tallinn,
read more
Alan Moore (Moderator)
Head of International Affairs
and Academic Mobility Office,
NUST MISIS, read more
Karen Ottewell
Doctor of Education, Director of Academic Development & Training for International Students section at the University of Cambridge,
read more
Ron Martinez
PhD in English at the University of Nottingham, Associate Editor of the Oxford University Press journal Applied Linguistics,
read more
Valerie Matarese
PhD, Authors' editor and docent of research writing in the biomedical sciences, Vidor (TV), Italy, read more
Jonathan McFarland
PhD, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, read more
Christa Bedwin
BEd, BSc, Senior Technical Editor, Instructor, Earth, Environmental, and Geographic Sciences, University of British Columbia, Canada, read more
Philip McCarthy
PhD, Professor, the American University of Sharjah,UAE,
read more
Kelly Metz-Matthews
PhD Candidate, English Language Fellow working at NUST MISIS Academic Writing Office,
read more
Magnus Gustafsson
PhD, Associate professor at Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Learning and Communication,
Sweden, read more
Baraa Khuder
PhD, Post-doctoral researcher at Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Learning and
Communication, Sweden,
read more
Valentin Bogorov
PhD, Solution Consultants Team Leader, Clarivate Analytics, read more
Neil Watson
British journalist and editor,
read more
Anuja Thomas
MS, Arizona State
University, USA, read more
Conference Program (download)
10:00 – 10:30 Registration
10:30 –10:45 Welcome Address to Conference Participants
Elena Bazanova, PhD, President of the Association of Academic Writing Experts "National Writing Centres Consortium"
10:45 –11:00 Welcome Address to Conference Participants
Jennifer Uhler, PhD, Regional English Language Officer based in Tallinn
11:00 –11:30 Publish or Perish: A Balance Between Ethics and Pressure
Jonathan McFarland, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and as Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Linguistics, I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University.

Abstract: Research is fundamental for the advancement or progress of our society or societies; to take a topical and well-worn example, COVID 19, the small virus that has changed our whole lives for good has been combatted to some extent by the collaboration of international researchers joining forces to fabricate vaccinations and even more recently the pill.
However, as Francis Darwin mentioned, 'In science, the credit goes to the man who convinces the world.'; in other words, to the writing up of the research. In recent years, young researchers (and not only the young) have been under great pressure to publish and publish well. It has become a well-established route since publications have become the way, the main and perhaps even the only, of classifying researchers, the obtaining of grants and jobs, the means to moving up the academic ladder. This has meant that those who do not focus on publishing, who perhaps dedicate their time to instructing undergraduates are at a great disadvantage.
This short presentation will investigate this situation and ask questions such as,
Has this push to publish meant that there are too many publications? Has quality been affected by this surge for quantity? Have researchers young, and not so young, been affected by this? and how? And more
    11:30 – 11:55 Optimising the Use of English in Research Writing

    Neil Watson, British journalist and editor, UK

    Abstract: My presentation will be based on my own experience of editing and writing academic theses, dissertations and papers for peer-reviewed journals.
    The purpose of my speech will be to indicate that non-native speakers of English should not feel inhibited by their lack of mastery of the language and dissuaded from publishing their work and research findings. However, it is imperative that language professionals with some degree of specialist referential knowledge are involved at a nascent stage of writing, including planning and structuring, taking 'house' style into account. Only then can a coherent and effective piece of work be created that is comparable with that created by native speakers.
    It is essential that discipline experts with adequate language abilities teach academic writers to express themselves. ERPP courses should focus on clarity, enabling editors to create articles that accurately represent research findings. One of the benefits of international collaboration is that researchers learn how to communicate their findings in an accurate and unambiguous manner, which assists with their writing. I will conclude with a series of recommendations.
    11:55 – 12:25 Teaching Research Writing: The Case for Subject Specialists With Linguistic Competence

    Valerie Matarese, PhD Authors' editor and docent of research writing in the biomedical sciences, Vidor (TV), Italy.

    Abstract: Correct academic English is no longer a prerequisite for the publishability of research articles, especially in the natural sciences. Yet, clear, consistent and genre-compliant writing helps a manuscript get through peer review and is essential for the usability of the published research. Thus, early career researchers need not only to learn academic English, but especially to master a range of skills for research reporting.

    My work as editor exposed me to the challenges Italian researchers have in reporting their research, so I developed a semester-long course called Effective Biomedical Writing. This course, which has already been given nine times, covers selected topics of academic English plus research article genre, data presentation, technical reporting, and other publication skills. It provides a method for writing a biomedical research report that participants use to write up their own work during the course. I am not only the course instructor, but also the editor on multiple versions of the growing manuscripts. By the end of the course, each manuscript is scored as "accepted" or "incomplete" (if major revisions are needed).

    In my talk, I will use this teaching experience to make the case that research writing should be taught by subject specialists (with native or near-native English proficiency). With their knowledge of the experimental models and methods and familiarity with the genres and journals of the discipline, these instructors can talk with students about research and find effective linguistic solutions to explain complex concepts. These instructors, however, require an additional competence, namely the ability to teach academic English and, in particular, to articulate the features of good grammar and style. To this aim, subject specialists who wish to teach research writing can benefit (as I did) from interactions with ERPP language professionals, for example at meetings like those of Mediterranean Editors and Translators (www.metmeetings.org). The competence thus acquired, however, is unlikely to be recognized by universities, so these subject specialists may be excluded from teaching writing in research settings. This impasse could be circumvented if ERPP language professionals take on the tasks of preparing subject specialists to teach research writing and providing didactic support to the courses. In presenting my experiences and opinions on this topic, I hope to stimulate the design of new, effective courses in research writing.

    Early career researchers should be taught research writing by members of their own discipline.
    A research writing course should require participants to write research papers, which should undergo editing and review for a full learning experience and for assessment.
    An effective course on research article writing has only one instructor who teaches both writing and reporting; these skills cannot usefully be dissociated one from the other.
    Subject specialists who are able to teach research writing rarely have formal qualifications for these teaching positions.
    ERPP language professionals can support the teaching of research writing by subject specialists in several ways:

    • Support to instructors, by providing training and teaching materials
    • Support during lessons, by being present and contributing to the discussions
    • Support to students, by providing after-class, individualized tutoring.
    ERPP language professionals can train the trainers, i.e. by selecting subject specialists able to teach research writing and training them in pertinent topics of linguistics.
      12:25 – 12:50 The Role of Complex Adaptive Systems in Academic Identity and Technology Development

      Philip McCarthy, PhD, Professor, the American University of Sharjah, UAE

      Abstract: Success in publishing is dependent upon numerous factors. In turn, numerous questions have been raised to better assess how and to what degree these factors can best be enhanced. In this talk, I discuss how these factors not only affect the final product (i.e, publishing), but how these factors affect each other, which can also subsequently affect the final product. To help understand this interplay, I will be discussing the framework of complex adaptive systems (CAS), and the concept of academic identity. I will also be using the computational writing software, Auto-Peer. For my short paper on this issue, please go to https://tinyurl.com/byzb33vt, and share your comments.
        12:50 – 13:20 Effective Assessment Criteria for Academic Literacy in English

        Karen Ottewel, PhD Director of Academic Development & Training for International Students section at the University of Cambridge, UK

        Abstract: Standardised tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, and more recently, Pearson PTE, represent an international hegemony when it comes to providing a standardised assessment of a student's abilities in academic English. But what do they really say about a student's proficiency in academic English? And do they assess the skills, both linguistic and academic, that a student needs to succeed?
        In many respects, these standardised tests are a necessary evil. Yet whilst they do provide a useful yardstick, one needs to be aware of both what they say about a student's abilities, but more importantly what they don't say.
        In this presentation, I will provide an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of these tests, before asking the question whether there are better ways we can assess academic literacy in English. I will end by being so bold as to propose some alternatives.

          13:20 – 14:20 Workshop: Co-authorship as a Form of ERPP Supervision: Negotiating Co-authorship Practices During the Writing and Publishing Processes

          Magnus Gustafsson, PhD, Associate professor at Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Learning and Communication, Sweden
          Baraa Khuder, PhD, Post-doctoral researcher at Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Learning and Communication, Sweden

          Abstract: Using scenario-based materials, we account for some ERPP workshop designs where we discuss scenarios from various contexts that involve negotiating co-authorship practices during ERPP supervision for PhD and post-doctoral researchers. The scenarios cover negotiations at different stages of the publishing process, from drafting an article into submitting it, which we hope will enhance participants' understanding of the challenges that ERPP writers face while publishing in English. This workshop will raise questions for participants regarding approaches to ERPP teaching and we hope to have an informative discussion that will illuminate our shared teaching and supervision practices as well as develop our models and conceptualisations of supervision.
          14:20 – 15:20 Workshop: Clear English Editing
          Christa Bedwin, Senior Technical Editor, Instructor, Earth, Environmental, and Geographic Sciences, University of British Columbia, Canada

          Abstract: English is a language that uses fewer words than most other languages, and English-second-language writers often craft their papers with many more words than they need to deliver the message. Simple procedures can be applied to English writing to make it more readable, to reduce the word count, and deliver complex research ideas more effectively to readers.

          This talk presents strategies for making technical English easier to read, including advice about sentence structure, word choice, and strategies to reduce word count while increasing clarity. Participants will also learn a procedure to quickly address common "red flags" where language errors or unnecessary extra words often occur.

          Valuable insights:
          Client-Pleasing Reports & Communications: A Workbook (CHRISTA BEDWIN B. Ed., B.Sc., CYT)
          A Quick Procedure for Language Cleanup before Senior Technical Review (CHRISTA BEDWIN B. Ed., B.Sc., CYT)

            15:20 – 15:50 How Can Language Professionals Contribute to Academic Publication?
            Ron Martinez, PhD The University of Nottingham, Associate Editor of the Oxford University Press journal Applied Linguistics, USA

            Abstract: The growing need for nonnative-English-speaking scholars to publish in international English-medium journals can be seen as an opportunity for professionals dedicated to English-language instruction and support. However, there is typically no specific training (for example, in MA-TESOL programs) for such endeavors. What would such training look like? What are the challenges? Where do the opportunities lie? In this talk, I will explore these and other crucial questions around English for Research Publication Purposes (ERPP), and what role(s) language professionals may have.
              15:50 – 16:20 Designing Successful Academic Writing Workshops: Blending Support, Explicit Instruction, and Insider Socialization
              Kelly Metz-Matthews, English Language Fellow working at NUST MISIS Academic Writing Office, Russia

              Abstract: Emerging and early-career scholars who hope to publish their work in international English-language journals but who are not first-language speakers/writers of English may find themselves particularly challenged by the publication process. Should they focus on what they view as the "correctness" of the target language? Or, would they do best to focus on their work's overarching argument or novelty, allowing grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure to play second fiddle to their broader rhetorical skill? Perhaps most important: What, in the end, will actually help them publish their work? This presentation focuses on the goals of academic writing workshops designed to successfully prepare emerging and early-career scholars to publish in English. It will cover the need for a holistic blend of writing strategies and language support as well as the need for explicit instruction on rhetoric and argument, structure and coherence, tone and style, and an in-depth understanding of the publishing process.

                16:20 – 16:40 Getting to the Bottom of It: The Importance of Topic Closers to L2 Student-Writing
                Anuja Thomas, MS, Arizona State University, USA

                Abstract: In this study, we categorized paragraph ending sentences (referred to here as topic closers) into a hierarchical model based on effectiveness. Additionally, we assessed the degree to which student-writers can learn this model. The study was conducted through a pretest—intervention—posttest research design and both quantitative and supporting qualitative analysis suggest that the intervention was successful. This study has important implications for both the development of classroom materials as well as for automated assessment tools. That is, material designers and Automated Writing Evaluation tools can adopt the topic closer model so as to facilitate students in constructing effective paragraphs.
                  16:40 – 18:40 Clarivate Analytics Workshop for PhD students
                  "Web of Science: from research information discovery to building a publication strategy" (online)
                  Get a signed book "How to Write a Research Article"!
                  Textbook for early-career researchers
                  We are delighted to announce that the most active online participants will be able to receive a book "How to Write a Research Article" by post.

                  *The books will be mailed to those who:

                  Provide detailed feedback about the conference

                  Contact us

                  E-mail: info@nwcc-consortium.ru
                  Tel: +7 (498) 744-65-67
                  Tel: +7 (903) 713-54-08
                  Tel: +7 (905) 542-38-88