XENX009: Integrated Research Communication for MA Theses

Integrated Research Communication XENX009

Instructor: Mr. Marlen Elliot Harrison, PhD, MA

Office: Oppio 107

Contact: marlen.harrison at jyu.fi, 046 588 0325 (text and phone)

Classrooms: (see Korppi for schedule)


The course provides tailored support for the thesis writing process, from the establishment of research focus to synthesising, writing and presenting a research plan at the end of the spring term. The focus is on Information management and evaluation, critical reading, conventions of research reporting, and academic writing in the disciplines, seminar and presentation skills, and academic skills for learning through English.

MODES OF STUDY: The course is composed of some 32-36 hours of contact study in class, as well as individual and small group feedback sessions on the assignments. All assignments – including e.g. an annotated bibliography, a research plan, a literature review, and a seminar abstract and presentation – are integrated with the subject studies and follow their requirements. Active participation and successful completion of all assignments is required. Modes of study include lectures, workshops, simulations, and academic writing and oral presentation assignments.

Framework of research communication and subject study integration IMP


Assessment will be based on attendance, active participation, and successful completion of assignments. Assessment is on a scale 1-5.

  • ATTENDANCE is required at all scheduled meetings. Should you be absent, it is YOUR responsibility to contact classmates and check the syllabus to learn what you missed. I will expect all missed work to be completed upon your return.
  • Less than 80% attendance for any reason may result in the lowering of your grade (0-5) by one full number.
  • Specific assessment criteria covering six areas (content, citation, organisation, cohesion and coherence, accuracy, and presentation) are used in evaluating the assignments.

Required Coursework: You will be assessed on a pass/fail basis for each of the criteria below:

  1. Research Proposal (40%) – You will consider your upcoming Master’s thesis and develop a research proposal for a thesis-style project that includes: a) a section that explains the Purpose of your project and discusses your main Research Questions, b) a clearly explained Hypothesis, c) a Literature Review which includes at least 5 critical sources, d) a section on proposed Methods of collection and analysis, e) a sample informed consent form and IRB proposal if interested in human subjects, f) an Annotated Bibliography containing no less than 5 critical sources, and g) a section discussing intended audience, perceived benefits to the field, and potential venues for publication and presentation. This will all be posted to your blog (all sources must be cited according to formal conventions). Your audience for this proposal is: Professionals in your field. Language type: Formal
  2. Individual Presentation (20%) – You will individually introduce your topic to your classmates using a presentation aid of your choice (poster, power point, handout, etc). You will upload this along with a summary of your presentation and post-presentation reflection to your blog. Your audience for this presentation is: Professionals in your field. Language type: Formal
  3. Digital Identity (20%) – You will be required to create a digital identity via a WordPress.com blog where you post the above information (note: this blog may be public or private, it will be your choice). Because our lives are increasingly digital, and it is useful to share our research and ideas, this digital identity will also introduce you to communicating to the world in English via the internet. You will also complete a number of brief activities that will scaffold your learning in this course and post them to your blog. Your audience for your regular blogging homework is: Friends and classmates in your field. Language type: Informal
  4. Participation (20%) – Your instructor will assess your in-class participation and award points accordingly. Additionally, you will regularly read and comment on classmates’ blogs, and you will compose a final reflective letter that discusses how you met your goals for the course; what you learned that was useful; suggestions to the instructor for improving the course for future students, etc.

Rationale for Coursework: In order for you to gain experience in research reading, writing and communication, you will consider what you are passionate about in your field and begin to develop a professional identity reflecting this passion. Your proposal will require you to apply your academic reading skills while also helping you practice your research/analytical writing.

Your oral presentation will be your first-step toward communicating/presenting your ideas. You will create a presentation (for the rest of the class) that is geared toward a professional conference in your field, e.g. IETC, ECP, EPSA, SEP, etc.

Your instructor will provide more information about required coursework during the course. Assessment of the above (#1-#4) will be based largely on your: participation, presentation skills, interaction with classmates and instructor, professional vocabulary, language quality, fluency, and pronunciation. Specific assessment criteria covering six areas (content, citation, organisation, cohesion and coherence, accuracy, and presentation) are used in evaluating the assignments.

General Assessment Criteria for Academic Writing Assignments in Int’l Master’s Programmes


By the end of the course you can:

  • understand the types of knowledge and information management needed for research writing
  • become familiar with the conventions, language, and principles of academic writing in their field;
  • understand intercultural differences in research writing and presentation;
  • know how to report quantitative and qualitative research and how to use references and citation without plagiarism;
  • have developed skills in synthesising and evaluating research information in various formats of written and oral academic communication and presentation; and
  • know how to assess and edit their own writing and how to do peer evaluation and provide constructive feedback.

Secondary outcomes:

  • work purposefully in groups, negotiating and building on the contributions of others to complete tasks
  • present information clearly and persuasively to others
  • locate and retrieve information in your field from a variety of resources (e.g. libraries catalogues, databases, Internet)
  • identify the purposes of texts, analysing and evaluating how writers structure and organise ideas to shape meaning for particular audiences and readers
  • compare and summarise information from different texts and use it to form your own ideas, arguments and opinions
  • use dictionaries and online tools critically for developing your vocabulary and field-specific vocabulary
  • gain a deeper understanding and of the different types of research in your field
  • be able to explain your project’s relevance to your field and identify venues for publication/presentation
  • identify critical sources in your field
  • present your research for feedback and revision purposes


Course Assistants: These folks have recently completed their MA degress from JYU and will assist and guide you through the thesis proposal process. They are NOT proofreaders or editors of your work, but rather peer mentors who can share their wisdom and expertise with you. You will be asked to make contact with them at least twice during the course and they will comment on your blogwork and present their own research along the way.

Guest Presenter:

Note: There will be additional out-of-class meetings required throughout the course that are not listed on the schedule below.
Location Week Day Date At
1 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 44 Mo 31.10.2011 10:15-12:00
2 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 44 Wed 2.11.2011 10:15-12:00
3 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 45 Mo 7.11.2011 10:15-12:00
4 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 45 Wed 9.11.2011 10:15-12:00
5 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 46 Mo 14.11.2011 10:15-12:00
6 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 46 Wed 16.11.2011 10:15-12:00
7 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 9 Mo 27.2.2012 12:15-14:00
8 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 9 Tu 28.2.2012 12:15-16:00
9 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 10 Mo 5.3.2012 12:15-14:00
10 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 10 Tu 6.3.2012 12:15-16:00
11 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 11 Mo 12.3.2012 12:15-14:00
12 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 11 Tu 13.3.2012 12:15-16:00
13 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 12 Mo 19.3.2012 12:15-14:00
14 Ag B113.1 (Europe) 12 Tu 20.3.2012 12:15-16:00


October 31: Introductions, Review of Syllabus

Today we will:

  • Review blog set-up and class policies
  • Review blog set-up and use
  • Discuss choosing a topic for academic writing: Bridging activity.

Homework (due 2.11):

  • Set up and design your blog at http://Wordpress.com. You’ll find information about setting up your blog in WordPress Support.
    • 1) Go to WordPress.com and click the Get Started icon at the top left.
    • 2) Add your blog address and username (both should be your last name followed by first name; no dots, dashes or spaces; no finnish characters like ä or ö; e.g. angelina jolie = jolieangelina). This site has no relation to the JYU university website and email. Pick a password. Write down your username and password so that you don’t forget it.
    • 3) Add your email address and then submit your info.
    • 4) Check your email and click the activation link.
    • 5) Login to your blog at the top right of the WordPress page if not already logged in. Everything you need to use your blog can be found in your “DASHBOARD” page. To find this, move your mouse over your name at the top right of the WordPress page. You’ll then see a dropdown menu. Scroll over your blog title and another menu will appear with the option to view your dashboard.
  • Add your blog info at the bottom of our class schedule (this current page) as a comment. Please include: your name, group number and blog address, e.g. Angelina Jolie, group 7, http://jolieangelina.wordpress.com. I will use this info to make a master list of blog links for the class.
  • Edit the ABOUT page on your blog and include a short bio and upload a clear photo of your face. Remember to click “Insert into post” after uploading or else the file will simply be “saved”.
  • Add new PAGES on your blog for info that you will enter later: PROPOSAL, PRESENTATION, LETTER
  • WRITING: Goal-setting is an important tool for learning. In a new blog POST titled “GOALS”, make a list of at least 3 goals you have for yourself while in this course and explain for each goal how you will go about achieving them. For example: I want to improve my confidence in speaking English. To do this I will speak out in class more often than I usually do. Part of your participation grade in this course will depend on your final reflective letter which will include an explanation of why and how you either met or did not meet these goals.
  • READING: Deborah Knott’s Critical Reading for Critical Writing

November 2: What is Critical?

Today we will:

  • WATCHING: Men’s Movement Revealed
  • Discuss the concept “critical” and “good quality information”
  • Review blog set-up and use
  • Discuss finding sources for academic writing.
  • Discuss citing sources in academic writing.

Homework (due 7.11):

  • READING: Conducting Primary Research (all 9 sections); Reporting Guidelines; and Anne LaMott’s SHITTY FIRST DRAFTS
  • WRITING: Annotated Bibliography – Begin researching the topic you think you’ll most enjoy writing about. Your topic should be one that you have a natural curiosity about and that you feel you can successfully write about. Find at least two sources, one critical and one from any other source, that relates to your topic in some way. In a new blog POST titled “ANNO BIB”, 1) summarize each source in one paragraph using formal, academic language (5-7 sentences) and include an appropriately formatted reference, and 2) then write 1-2 short paragraphs discussing how the two sources are different using informal, relaxed language. Imagine the source summaries as something you would present to a professional audience (formal) and the comparison paragraph as something you would share with a friend or classmate (informal). You will continue this activity next week by annotating additional critical sources, so feel free to identify as many sources as possible now. The following will help you: Purdue Owl: Annotated Bibliographies and Purdue Owl: Examples of Anno Bibs
  • Please find your blog groups (see Blogroll link above week 1 schedule on this syllabus, or in BLOGROLL menu at the top of any page). Please review and offer commentary on your group members’ blogs.

November 7: Review of Anno Bib,  Using Critical Sources

Today we will:

  • Discuss our anno bibs
  • Practice paraphrasing, summarizing and quoting
  • Discuss plagiarism


November 9: Deep Reading/Reverse Outlining

Today we will:

  • Discuss organizational approaches to research using one of our critical sources.
  • Practice deep reading/reverse outlining


November 14: Beginning the Proposal

Today we will:


  • READING: The Maker’s Eye; IRB, MARLEN’s Informed Consent Document from his dissertation study.
  • WATCHING: History of Informed Consent and The Need for Informed Consent
  • PROPOSAL WRITING, Step 1: Answer the following questions on your blog’s PROPOSAL page in formal language:
    • 1) What is your major research question or concern? Why are you curious about this and what led you to have an interest in this topic? What purpose will answering this question serve? What is your theoretical framework/conceptual framework? (2-3 paragraphs)
    • 2) State or list at least 5 hypotheses/assumptions about this topic and be specific. For example, “I think that steroid use is not regulated as strongly as it could be in American professional football.” Next, re-write these as specific research questions that you can answer in your writing. The previous question could be written in a number of different ways – I want you to write as many possible questions as you can! For example, “Who is responsible for regulating….?”; “Why is steroid usage so prevalent in…?”; “What attempts have been made to prevent steroid use in…?” These questions will help you create the majority of your proposal.
    • 3) Regarding your topic, what has already been done? How is your research different from the current published research? What contribution will your research make that is new? This section should read like a short literature review (or critical review). I recommend you use the info from your anno bib here, put it together and do some editing to make it a cohesive section. We will look more closely at literature reviews in future class meetings so consider this a *shitty first draft*.
    • 4) Describe a methodology you might use to undertake this research, both for data collection and data analysis. For example, do you want to do quantitative or qualitative research? Will you carry out interviews? Will you develop a questionnaire? Be as explicit as possible and explain every step of your research and then go back and explain again in even greater detail! You may need to look back at the critical sources you identified for ideas, or you may need to do a little bit of research on data collection/analysis methods. Make sure you explain both the method of data collection AND analysis.
    • 5) Timeline/Budget/TOC: Even at this early date, it is still important to begin considering your overall schedule for this research, any budget necessary for travel and materials, and a proposed Table of Contents that outlines the organization of your research. You do not have to include these sections now, but do start dreaming about them!
    • 6) Audience: In order to get a better understanding of who your audience is for your research, please list at least 3 conferences where you can reasonably submit your manuscript as a poster or presentation. Likewise, list 3, critical, academic journals where you could submit your work for publication. Create a link to each source’s information for authors (ECP, EPSA, SEP).

November 16: Review of first 3 weeks, Proposal Abstracts

Today we will:

  • Review all assignments and topics from the first 3 weeks.
  • Enjoy presentations from Rosi and Sammy: Sammy’s Proposal


  • Continue with your proposal assignment from earlier in the week and put it all together so that it looks like the sample proposals we reviewed. This should be completed and posted to your blog’s PROPOSAL page by February 20, 2012. PLEASE DO NOT DELETE any of your work; post drafts one under another so that we can follow the progress of your ideas and writing.
  • Write a proposal abstract of no more than one, single paragraph and post that to your blog’s PROPOSAL page by February 20, 2012.


February 27: Review of homework/progress

Today we will:

  • Review all assignments and topics from the first 3 weeks.
  • Discuss our abstracts.


  • Informally present our projects-in-progress to our classmates.
  • WRITING: Go back to your goals from the beginning of our course and reflect on any progress you’ve made in a brand new blog post. Are your goals the same? Have they changed?
  • WRITING: Peer review your partner’s proposal and post your rubric and feedback in a blog post titled PEER REVIEW no later than March 4th.

February 28: Small group meetings

Today we will:

  • Meet in small groups
  • 12:15-1:30 Qualitative
  • 1:30-2 Mixed Methods
  • 2:15-3 Quantitative
  • 3-4 Free consultations with Marlen

March 5:

Today we will:

  • Presentation approaches; posters
  • Lit Review methods of organization
  • Meta skills (forecasting; signposting; cohesion; transitions; etc)
  • An Effective Poster (please review all pages on the site); SAMPLE HANDOUT (click me)


March 6: Small group meetings

Today we will:

  • Meet in small groups.


March 12:

Today we will:

  • Practice giving written feedback: Work with a partner to create a rubric that can be used to evaluate  School Clubs. Your rubric should be simple and allow for both specific and holistic commentary about writing mechanics and research design. We are more interested in the effectiveness of the research, its ability to create a story for the reader, and its ability to address its audience than in its use of language. Post your completed rubric and all comments on your blog’s Peer Review page. SAMPLE RUBRIC
  • ?


  • Create a rubric with your partner and review and evaluate your partner’s lit review for next week. Please post your rubric and feedback to a newly created PEER REVIEW page on your blog.

March 13: Small group meetings in A 315 on Seminaari campus

Today we will:

  • Meet in small groups.


  • Prepare your poster for next week.

March 22: Final large group meeting

Today we will:

  • Formally present our projects-in-progress as a poster session.


  • WRITING: On its own page entitled “LETTER”, write a reflective letter to your instructor discussing your experience in the course. This should not be an essay, but rather an actual “letter” that addresses any or all of the following:
    * What grade (0-5) do you think you deserve and why?
    * What were your expectations of a) your own performance and b) the course overall and a) how did you meet or not meet your own expectations and b) how did the course meet or not meet your expectations?
    * What was the most useful activity or assignment in terms of advancing your knowledge of Academic Writing, Reading and Communication?  Why?
    * What would you have done differently or taking the course a second time? What recommendations can you make to your instructor to improve this course for future students?
    * What was your greatest challenge in this course and how did you successfully or unsuccessfully  meet this challenge?
    * How will this course be useful to you in the future?
    Note: You are not limited to the above questions; feel free to write about anything you want your instructor to know. This is due by March 26, 2012.Final Reflective Letter posted to your blog on your LETTER page.
  • Picture of your poster and handout posted to your blog on your PRESENTATION page.
  • Lit Review should be expanded to a complete first draft and posted to your blog on your PROPOSAL page by April 22nd.
  • Make an appointment with a new peer reviewer to get feedback on your full lit review.
  • Make an appointment with Marlen to review your full lit review sometime during the first two weeks of May. This will be a small group meeting with both you and your peer reviewer. I’ll set up a schedule and email you about this later in April after I have a clearer sense of my free hours.
  • Korppi online survey completed by March 26, 2012.


For everyone:

  1. http://books.google.com/books?id=bT20_7jtx1YC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Health+promotion+and+education+research+methods:&hl=en&sa=X&ei=KiYUT5bTEsbx0gGmnvGsAw&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Health%20promotion%20and%20education%20research%20methods%3A&f=false
  2. http://books.google.com/books/about/Research_design.html?id=nSVxmN2KWeYC
  3. http://www.amazon.com/Applied-Reference-Guide-Research-Designs/dp/1452205094
  4. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sports+psychology+research&x=0&y=0
  5. http://www.athleticinsight.com/
  6. http://www.rockhurst.edu/services/library/guides/sportpsy.asp
  7. http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/10413200.asp

For those interested in qualitative research:

  1. http://books.google.com/books/about/Phenomenological_research_methods.html?id=QiXJSszx7-8C
  2. http://books.google.com/books/about/Researching_lived_experience.html?id=8SamoWR1gGkC
  3. http://books.google.com/books/about/Identity_and_story.html?id=C7nuAAAAMAAJ
  4. http://books.google.com/books/about/The_SAGE_handbook_of_qualitative_researc.html?id=X85J8ipMpZEC
  5. http://books.google.com/books?id=X32GWKiiu2AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=sage+dictionary+of+qualitative&hl=en&sa=X&ei=USUUT8CfKeXY0QHxmN3IAw&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=sage%20dictionary%20of%20qualitative&f=false
  6. http://books.google.com/books?id=4keWyy_BOEAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=new+approaches+to+qualitative&hl=en&sa=X&ei=liUUT7joB4T20gGg0fjPAw&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=new%20approaches%20to%20qualitative&f=false
  7. http://books.google.com/books?id=uF3lTexsT04C&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+qualitative+dissertation&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ziUUT7vqCarX0QHI_5WXAw&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=the%20qualitative%20dissertation&f=false

For those interested in quantitative research:

  1. http://books.google.com/books/about/The_reviewer_s_guide_to_quantitative_met.html?id=jNH8q_SiwhUC
  2. http://books.google.com/books/about/Discovering_statistics_using_SPSS.html?id=a6FLF1YOqtsC
  3. http://books.google.com/books?id=5WFohzuwzP0C&source=gbs_similarbooks
  4. http://books.google.com/books/about/Introduction_to_quantitative_research_me.html?id=fhtHAAAAMAAJ

Never use the word YOU in academic writing unless the word is being spoken as dialogue in quotes… e.g. She asked him, “Did you ever go to New York?” …or used to address a specific audience… e.g. Dear Marlen, It has been a royal pain in the ass learning to like you despite the enormous amount of work you assign. otherwise you is indefinable and meaningless... e.g. In research writing you have to start with a good question. In the example above, isn’t “you” really a metaphor for the writer? Perhaps the sentence should be… e.g. In research writing, I’ve learned that I have to start with a good question. or e.g. In research writing, authors have to start with good questions. HAVE YOU USED YOU YET? GO BACK TO BLOG #1 AND EDIT YOUR YOU’S!


Be careful when using the word “society” in your writing. Society is merely a group of people with a common goal/belief/practice. e.g. Homosexuality is frowned on by our society. People who identify as such are often ridiculed for their behaviors. …first of all, who is “our” in this sentence and what exactly does the writer mean by “society?”…can we be more specific here? “Homosexuality is frowned on by many religious and political groups in North America.” e.g. There have been many changes in American society’s views on alcohol, from one of tolerance, to regulation, and back again. …this sentence could likely be better written if it was more specific; “society” could be replaced with “government” as they were really the driving force behind prohibition. HAVE YOU USED SOCIETY YET? GO CHECK YOUR LIT REVIEW AND EDIT!


I. Intro
a. Question
b. Purpose
c. Hypotheses
d. Forecasting/Transition
II. Lit Review
a. Restatement of problem
b. Hey! Did you know…? Summary of reviewed lit
c. Justification of current project in light of reviewed lit (how does your project fit into the larger picture and address currently unanswered questions?)
d. Forecasting
III. Methods
a. Who?
b. When?
c. Where? Etc
d. Forecasting/Transition
IV. Results
a. Just the info, please!
V. Discussion
a. What does it all mean?
b. How does it relate to lit review?
c. Forecasting/Transition
VI. Conclusion
a. Restate question and answer it.
b. Limitations?
c. Recommendations?

21 thoughts on “XENX009: Integrated Research Communication for MA Theses

  1. I know that most of the people in this section are not in the same department as myself (health sciences), but I wanted to let everyone know that the department of health sciences is having a ‘day of science’ for poster presentations of research projects:

    Tuesday 10th May 2011 from 8:30 till 15.30, Agora; Auditorium 1 and 2, Entrance hall

    This might be a good opportunity for those who are interested in seeing more examples of poster projects.

    If you’re in the department, abstracts are being accepted until April 15th.

    For more information, see the following handout:

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