Join our Hub

Join the CfAE Effective Communication Hub to gain free 24/7 access to the whole CSS boxset.

In the Hub, from 13 April you will also be able to book a Summer term drop-in with a CfAE teacher for help choosing the most suitable workshops for you, or for further help with your writing and presentations. These will start in the week beginning 26 April. 

Online delivery

To be able to fully participate in our live online sessions, you will need to
  • have access to a computer with both a camera and microphone,
  • have a reliable internet connection,
  • and be willing to use Microsoft Teams.

In addition to improving your academic language, our workshops for Master's students will help you understand the expectations of postgraduate work. These workshops run in the autumn, spring and summer terms.

Please note that during the Coronavirus lockdown the workshops will be in the form of a video presentation that you can watch at your own pace. The videos have been specially created for online learning and contain all the material from our original workshop sessions. 

We will also be holding a 'live' Q&A session, which will be timetabled for the following week after the video links have been sent to you (see timetable below) and will be via Teams video chat. You can attend the live Q&A if you have questions related to the workshop content. Please note that access to the Q&A session is dependent on you having watched the workshop video first.


Summer Term 2020: Q&A session dates
DayDatesUK TimeSession
 Monday  1 June  10:00 - 10:30  Writing the Introduction
 Monday  1 June  11.00 - 11:30  Writing the Literature Review
 Friday  5 June  10:00 - 10:30  Describing the Method and Results
 Friday  5 June  11.00 - 11:30  Writing the Discussion, Conclusion and Abstract
Summary of the table's contents

Description of workshops

Writing a Lab Report

The aim of this workshop is to clarify the format of a standard lab report and analyse examples of text and language so you can structure your writing and communicate your ideas more effectively .

You will therefore:  

  • understand the structure and purpose of a lab report   
  • know what information belongs in each section   
  • recognise the key language features of a lab report and be able to check your own text for accuracy  
  • be able to control a flexible, standard template for report writing  
  • understand the purpose, content and format of an abstract  

Writing the Introduction

Writing the Introduction

The aim of this workshop is to clarify the content of a dissertation introduction. You will analyse examples of text and language so that you can structure your writing and communicate your ideas more effectively.

You will therefore:  

  • understand the purpose and conventional structure of an Introduction to a dissertation
  • understand how to guide the reader towards the value of your dissertation
  • recognise the importance of language choices when writing an Introduction

Describing the Methods and Results

The aim of this workshop is to identify informational content of the method and results sections and to highlight important language features of these two sections of your dissertation.   

You will therefore:  

  • understand how to organise and write a coherent method description
  • understand how to write in a way that guides your reader through your interpretation of your key results 
  • recognise the importance of language choices when writing these sections

Writing the Discussion, Conclusion and Abstract

The aim of this workshop is to clarify the purpose and format of the Discussion, Conclusions and Abstract as part of a longer report/dissertation.

You will therefore:  

  • understand how to discuss implications of the results and draw conclusions that give the reader a clear and persuasive message 
  • understand how to concisely and accurately summarise the highlights of a dissertation in a coherent abstract
  • recognise the importance of language choices and consistency when writing these sections

Postgraduate Listening Strategies

The aim of this workshop is to help you ‘tune in’ to the STEMM communication around you and identify techniques and useful practice for improving your listening.  Strategies for writing while listening are also explored.

 You will therefore: 

  • become  familiar with the various accents you might encounter in College 
  • develop  strategies for extending  listening concentration 
  • practise writing while listening  

Meeting, Greeting and Sending Emails

The aim of this workshop is to help you communicate appropriately with peers and colleagues around the College in person and by email .

You will therefore:

  • understand appropriate forms of address in speaking when you meet members of the College   
  • have a better understanding of email etiquette   
  • understand that the purpose of an email and who will receive it affect the formality and style of the message

Informality and Formality

The aim of this workshop is to make you aware that audience affects the level of formality of communication and to help you develop a suitably formal style for academic STEMM writing.

You will therefore: 

  • understand that audience affects the level of formality of our communication   
  • be able to recognise formal and informal texts  
  • begin to make a shift towards more formal academic style in writing  

Academic Reading Skills

The aim of this workshop is to help you assess your own reading speed, develop strategies to improve your reading speed and to manage reading loads effectively.

You will therefore: 

  • know how to work on improving your reading speed  
  • develop strategies  for tackling  large volumes of reading material  
  • know how to scan content and structure to obtain an overview of a text 

Critical Writing

The aim of this workshop is to clarify what being critical  actually means  and help you develop the language needed for writing that analyses and evaluates, rather than just describes .

You will therefore: 

  • improve your understanding of what it means to write critically in a university context  
  • have a better understanding of how to read critically 
  • be able express your own analytical thinking more effectively 

Essay Writing

Aim: to clarify the format and content of an essay on a STEMM subject and how an essay differs from a standard report.  The workshop explores how to structure an essay and the language needed for evaluation and comment .

You will therefore: 

  • understand the purpose of a STEMM essay  
  • understand how to structure an essay   
  • recognise that an essay is a selective response to a title and includes evaluative comment  


The aim of this workshop is to enhance your awareness of the importance of planning and structuring information in a presentation and how to present information appropriately to an audience.

You will therefore: 

  • improve your understanding of how to plan, structure and deliver a STEMM presentation   
  • be aware the audience and the need to present information appropriately using suitable visual aids   
  • be aware of useful vocabulary and phrases for presenting 

Writing a Literature Review

The aim of this workshop is to clarify the format and content of a literature review and analyse the language used to understand vocabulary and tense choices when reviewing the literature and the impact of these on the reader .

You will therefore: 

  • understand how to organise ideas from the literature into a coherent narrative 
  • understand how to synthesise and paraphrase key ideas from the literature 
  • recognise the importance of language choices when writing about the literature