Writing for publication: a minimalist approach to structuring research and structuring language

An IATEFL ESPSIG webinar presented by Professor John Skelton

The need for academics around the world to read (and increasingly to write) research in English is considerable. The good news is that, because quantitative (Qn) research has become increasingly highly structured over the last 30 years, it is increasingly easy to write. There are, basically, fewer and fewer acceptable ways of saying things, so less and less for the researcher new to research, or at least new to writing research in English, to learn.

The three important things to understand are that:

a) although original ideas are essential, original ways of talking about them are forbidden.

b) if you learn how to structure research projects, then the language through which these projects are written up becomes increasingly self-evident.

c) the way to finding, developing, researching and writing up a topic is to begin with something small – something minimal – and allow both the project and the language used to describe it to grow naturally.

This seminar sets out basic, practical details on how to write up quantitative research successfully. It will directly aid both teachers of English for Academic Purposes (EAP), and researchers seeking to develop and write up their own projects.

I look at writing up medical research, but the principles hold true for Scientific and Technical disciplines generally. The situation for qualitative (Ql) research is a little more complex (though not much more complex), and I hope to discuss this briefly.

Presenter: John Skelton BA, MA, RSA Cert TEF(S)L, FRCGP (Hon)

John Skelton is a graduate of English Literature, and of Applied Linguistics. He taught ELT and ESP/EAP in Spain, UK and Oman (where he was Director of Studies for The British Council), and Applied Linguistics at National University of Singapore, and Aston and Surrey University, in both of which he was Director of ESP/EAP units. He changed career in 1992, working in The Medical School, University of Birmingham until he retired in 2020. He was Professor of Clinical Communication, setting up the Interactive Studies Unit to teach and research the language of healthcare professionals and patients. He was also Director of Education Quality for all healthcare programmes at Birmingham, working closely with eg the UK General Medical Council to ensure safe and competent graduates. John has published well over 100 articles, and is the author of Language and Communication: this bright Babylon. He has undertaken short consultancies around the world on dozens of occasions. In 2016 he became one of the very small number of non-clinicians to receive Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners. He is now President of EALTHY, the worldwide Association of Language Teachers in Healthcare.





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