Sodding English "Summer Camp"

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Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby Ducked » 03 Jul 2012, 20:30

Can't weasel out of it. My suggestions for superior substitutes actually anxious to do it (because they want the extra money) are ignored.

Starts 07/31 for 4 weeks.

Tues. 3 hours on 學術英文寫作 (Academic Essay Writing)
Thu 3 hours on 實驗資料及數據之解讀呈現 (Writing Up Research: Experimental Report Writing),

(My new-boy colleage has "Movie Appreciation", FFS. My guan-chi-thingy must be badly broken)

That's all I've been told, except that the 30 students enrolled should allegedly have a TOEFL score above 500. (Yeh right).

Anyway, I havn't taught "Writing Up Research" ever, and have only had one shot at Academic Writing 8 years ago (sentences are a stretch for most current students) so I'll need to sacrifice some more of my precious vacation time to prep for this.

Any suggestions, especially of canned material I can knick for the Experimental Report Writing, would be very gratefully recieved.
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Re: Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby NonTocareLeTete » 03 Jul 2012, 20:50

Don't have much for you in terms of canned material, but could you let your students know that:
1.) correlation does not equal causation (how just about every writer of every paper I edit missed the first day of research methods is a mystery to me)
2.) EVERY assertion you make in your research needs to be backed up by data. Personal opinions should be minimal and should be stated as such, preferably in the discussion section.
3.) Before you use a term in the paper, throw it into a google scholar search, with quotes around it. If it doesn't come up, it's not a term. Don't use it and don't make terms up, even if they sound really smart, unless you can define them.
4.) most experimental designs need a control group. for example, if you are trying to publish research about your kick ass method for teaching English to university students, a statement like "The teaching method is successful because 93% of the students stated that they plan to continue studying English." is worthless unless you have a benchmark to compare it to.

Back I go, like a good little girl, to editing this 'research' paper on semantic memory. I'm sure I'll have plenty more suggestions for you before the night is through...
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Re: Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby urodacus » 03 Jul 2012, 21:47

Call in sick. A lot.

... and have a sub ready to go.
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Re: Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby Ducked » 03 Jul 2012, 23:01

NonTocareLeTete wrote:Don't have much for you in terms of canned material, but could you let your students know that:
1.) correlation does not equal causation (how just about every writer of every paper I edit missed the first day of research methods is a mystery to me)
2.) EVERY assertion you make in your research needs to be backed up by data. Personal opinions should be minimal and should be stated as such, preferably in the discussion section.
3.) Before you use a term in the paper, throw it into a google scholar search, with quotes around it. If it doesn't come up, it's not a term. Don't use it and don't make terms up, even if they sound really smart, unless you can define them.
4.) most experimental designs need a control group. for example, if you are trying to publish research about your kick ass method for teaching English to university students, a statement like "The teaching method is successful because 93% of the students stated that they plan to continue studying English." is worthless unless you have a benchmark to compare it to.

Back I go, like a good little girl, to editing this 'research' paper on semantic memory. I'm sure I'll have plenty more suggestions for you before the night is through...


You are attacking the very basis of a Taiwanese academic career. :cool:

That's a GOOD THING of course, but more fun where there actually is one, at least until you get tired of banging your head against the wall of indifference.

My impression is that research students just want to know which buttons to press in SPSS.

Established Taiwanese academics I've encountered mostly have not the slightest interest in good science either. They just want to get published, and, sadly, your basic principles don't seem to be very consistently enforced by journal editors either.

I spent A LOT of time telling people that "correlation NOT=causation" when a research assistant/writer at NCKU, to zero effect, but that was in Management (i.e. Social) Science, which makes a lot of use of Structural Equation Modelling, a method which (sometimes at least) seems to be "respectably" represented as "proving" causation.

I never believed that (I knew more statistics than the people conducting the research, but that doesn't say much) or really understood it, and I don't remember much about it now.

Here's a

"Recipe for Publication Success in Management Research"

rant that I wrote a long time ago. It goes on a bit, but believe me, the provocation was severe. The paper I'm being nasty about was written by a student that got me a fairly expensive watch for Xmas, so yes, I am a bastard.EDIT: I believe she went on to a post-doc research fellowship, though, so I didn't do any lasting damage to her career. ENDEDIT

I wonder if it could form a basis for a "practical" (ie cynical) course :ponder:

Scan for gist, or pass on. Don't, whatever you do, read the whole thing.

"This is an excellent paper of its type. Unfortunately its a fairly horrible type. There is a great deal of work in it, diligently carried out, with a lot of complex and obscure statistics.

It is a good example of the application of my "Recipe for research publication success in management studies" which follows:

Start with two or more concepts that are not distinct,
and ideally are two different descriptions of the same
thing
, for example : "Marketing Channel Form" and "network structure relationship" in this paper.

Define these in such a way as to obscure the fact that they are the same thing (or ideally, dont define them at all).

You then hypothesise a relationship between them. Since they are the same thing, there is an absolute certainty that this hypothesis is correct.

At some point (if not up front) you make the explicit or tacit assumption that the relationship is causal, i.e. one of them is a dependent variable, and that you can prove this statistically.

Since they are the same thing, there is an absolute certainty that this is NOT correct, and (almost) everyone knows it can't in any case be proved statistically, but this doesn't seem to matter.

You now construct a model to relate these two things, and introduce variables to measure them as constructs. These variables should (of course) NOT be defined, and it helps if they make little sense, overlap with each other, and/or contain two or more unrelated concepts
e.g "Level of coordination and cooperation and ability of holding market" (yes, thats a SINGLE variable)

Note that the model should be as complex as possible, preferably incomprehensible. Occams Razor has no place here.

A complex model has two benefits:-

(a) Some people may think its clever.
(b) It'll be a lot of work for the people who think its rubbish to prove it, so they
probably won't bother.

It helps if you introduce additional elements into the model, (preferably trendy ones such as e-commerce) and relate them by obscure statistical techniques measuring interference effects.

You now measure perception of these undefined and possibly meaningless variables in a questionnaire. (Ignore the obvious but inconvenient distinction between perception and reality.)

DO NOT under any circumstances, use REAL DATA (such as sales figures or market share) even when these are (rarely) available.

DO NOT under any circumstances, give your respondents any clue as to what the questions you are asking them mean (this is likely to be impossible in any case).

DO NOT give out any information on your questionnaire which would allow its validity to
be assessed.

You should avoid consistent terminology, preferably never using the same term for the same thing twice, (its OK to use it for something different) since this prevents a reader from relating your conclusions to your results.

When it comes to conclusions, ignore your results and lift your conclusions from the literature. No one will notice, or care. They are tired and bored and just want you to go away.

This student has learned these lessons well, (except maybe the last one) but may have overdone it a bit. I had a lot of difficulty relating the results reported
in the "Conclusions" section to the original results, and when I did they didn't seem to correspond exactly (see attached document tracing the interference effect
results, which gives some idea how difficult this is to do). The inconsistent terminology is chronic (see, for example, the comments on the abstract).

I've done little more than a basic English correction to this document. I think it may need a more extensive re-write, and this would probably require some of the attached questions to be answered."
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Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby ironlady » 04 Jul 2012, 01:43

I have taught Writing Up Research in Taiwan before, and have a draft textbook I did for the class that you could use. It provides examples, exercises (including "you can say this based on that data" and "you cannot say this based on this data" stuff. The idea is to take the. step by step through writing a silly research paper (survey-based) on toothbrushing habits of the class, while providing support for the most common research writing problems.They learn what the parts of a real research paper are, what does and does not belong in each one, and so on. IMO for a real course you would need to spend almost as much time on that (and logic) as on actual English.

I am NOT SURE whether I have this in electronic format though. I know I have a hard copy of it at home, but I am in Hawaii through July. If I don't have a hard copy, let me know how many sessions (is it four three-hour sessions) and I can try to help out with some plans. What age group? Adults? Please tell me they don't have seven-year-olds writing research! (Though I am prepared to believe it...)
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Re: Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby Charlie Phillips » 04 Jul 2012, 04:05

Just google up some experimental reports and have them read and copy. Learning through reading is under-rated in Taiwan, and plagiarism is over-used, so if you manage to merge the two, it's win-win.
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Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby headhonchoII » 04 Jul 2012, 06:03

Is this college students doing summer camp, how sad.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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Re: Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 04 Jul 2012, 08:48

Just when I think things couldn't get any more absurd where I work, I read these kinds of threads and enter the Twilight Zone. Wow! Just wow!
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Re: Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby tomthorne » 04 Jul 2012, 09:00

Charlie Phillips wrote:Just google up some experimental reports and have them read and copy. Learning through reading is under-rated in Taiwan, and plagiarism is over-used, so if you manage to merge the two, it's win-win.


:) This is a nice, short, article trying to understand the problem of plagiarism in China. The explanation by the Chinese academic makes a lot of sense.

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/s ... ode=401564

It is weird. I get essays that I can see from the writing style are plagiarised and a quick google proves they have been copied word for word. Surely the student must have been aware that I would know? Having said that, when I did my master's a Chinese student asked me to proof one of her essays and I recognised the first few pages. Again, she'd just cut and pasted off the internet. I gently explained the punishments in English unis for this, but she handed it in anyway. The lecturer either didn't notice it, which I find very hard to believe, or he ignored it. Many departments are now totally reliant on revenues from foreign students, plus I get the feeling a lot of UK academics have given up the ghost with academic integrity.

Back on topic - look on the bright side, OP. We're having a talent show at the end of my summer camp :eek: . It's like being back at kindy (although the pay's worse).
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Re: Sodding English "Summer Camp"

Postby Omniloquacious » 04 Jul 2012, 09:07

tomthorne wrote:Back on topic - look on the bright side, OP. We're having a talent show at the end of my summer camp :eek: . It's like being back at kindy (although the pay's worse).


If the talent is 19-year-old girls with legs bared up to their armpits, the level of pay hardly matters, does it?
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