Writing Skills

Faculteit Gedrags- en MaatschappijWetenschappen
Jaar 2022/23
Vakcode PSMRV-1
Vaknaam Writing Skills
Niveau(s) master
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester I (a standard 7-week course, but spread across two quarters to ensure there's time enough for reading and editing)
Rooster rooster.rug.nl

Uitgebreide vaknaam Writing Skills
Leerdoelen After this course students can
- recognize tasteful language and pretty prose, so that these can become tools in their toolkit. (Our focus will not be on correct comma placement or sentence structure; these are assumed.)
- reflect on their research
- share thoughts, ideas, and discoveries.
- find gaps in their own logic, and develop more convincing rhetoric.
- read, write and revise texts
Omschrijving Writing is the currency of the realm. If you can't write, then you don't have a future in academia. That's the hard but simple truth.

Bad writing doesn't get read, and bad writers aren't invited to contribute to high-quality venues. But good writing is cited more often. It's easier to understand. And it has a greater impact.

Writing is equally important outside of academia. Indeed, it may well be one of the most important life-skills: those who write well are noticed long before their less articulate peers. Those who write poorly are either dismissed or passed over. (Sometimes literally: if you are seen by others to be unable to communicate in ways that your audiences understand, and can act upon, then you will never be top-of-mind when leaders are choosing team members.)

In this course, we will consider the benefits of "dual dissemination" for writing both inside and outside academia. Students will therefore be closely supervised in their writing process. You will also read some of the best writing in the discipline (as well as some from outside it), and you will learn to emulate aspects of those voices—substance, structure, and style—in your own work. In this way, you will find your own voice. It will then be ready for you when you revise your thesis for publication.

The intent is to do, though, not to talk about doing. We will therefore aim to say what's useful and helpful, while omitting what's wasteful or misleading. We also recognize that this is a process: nothing is perfect the first time, and that's a good thing. It's freeing. (Don't worry about perfection; just put words on pages and then edit, rewrite, re-edit, revise, re-revise, and polish!)

Assignments will push the limits of what's considered possible, but collectively: students will respond to catalyzing exercises in a closed wiki, collaborate to complete peer reviews, and revise constantly. Class time will be reserved for discussion and workshopping. Lecturing will be minimized.

Writing takes time. But starting is the hardest part. So aim to do a little bit every day, and then you’ll never actually need to start: you’ll always be “mid-process” (even as you begin to hand things in for publication). Note also that meetings are spaced to ensure nothing gets left out due to emergencies, circumstances, or bad luck.
Uren per week variabel
Onderwijsvorm practicum
Toetsvorm deelname, dossier, schriftelijke opdrachten
Vaksoort master
Coördinator J.T. Burman, PhD.
Docent(en) J.T. Burman, PhD.
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
"Best American Science and Nature Writing" series held at RUG GMW library various
"Best American Science Writing" series held at RUG GMW library various
On writing: A memoir of the craft Stephen King 9781444723250 €  9,00
Opmerkingen All master-level students in the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences are welcome to take this course as an elective, and students from other master programmes outside BSS can enrol with permission. We all benefit from the inclusion of a greater diversity of perspectives.

This is a required skills course for the Theory and History of Psychology master because this programme uses writing explicitly as a tool for thought. However, it is not a "how to write history" or "how to write theory" course. The focus is on learning how to reach your audience, effectively, while choosing purposefully between different rhetorics, structures, and voices.

Please note: If you wish to follow this course as an Elective (and not as your skills course) then please inform the Student service desk by sending an email to owbalie.gmw@rug.nl.
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
Ma psychologie (EN)  (Ma psychologie (Theory and History of Psychology)) 1 semester I keuze S