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Please email me a copy of your project (if you already have one), or alternatively write a paragraph describing your main area of interest.

Please also send me a short list of the information sources that you use most in your research.

Make sure you sign your email and any documents you submit clearly so that I know who you are. Brasilians can have so many different names, and it can get confusing…

Depending on the overall size of the class please allocate yourselves into groups of four/five, named A, B, C…(or something more imaginative!).

If possible make sure each group contains at least one person who can speak English.

I will then distribute your project documents so that each group gets a selection that does not include any of their own submissions.

Choose one of the 13 numbered projects from this list. This forms the basis for your “What happened?” project – see below for further details.

You should also chose one of the six numbered research practical topics taken from this second list. This will form the basis for each group’s research practical as described below. Note that each of these projects includes a short list of questions to get you started.

“What happened?” practical

Total duration – ca. 1 hour.

Learning objectives:
Summarizing complex documents
Using online resources to identify key areas of scientific progress.

  1. You will each receive a press release from the list provided. Most of these were published in 2011, so there will have been some significant developments in the literature since then. The challenge of this practical exercise is to first summarize one of these reports, and then to summarize the developments that have occurred since the report was written.
  2. So first, summarize the scientific content of the press release as a short list of key bullet statements. [Tip: First think about the structure of your summary. For example, introduce the background to the study, then define the problem selected by the researchers, describe their main results and finish with a brief description of the broader implications of the study.]
  3. Summarise your summary further as a tweet [140 characters max]
  4. Send a copy of your work to me by email.

You can find an example of a press release here, and an example of an answer here.

The research practical

Total duration – ca. 3 hours.

Each group will receive an assignment based on a recent controversy or an important development in the scientific literature. You will receive one or more source articles plus a set of questions which you must answer. This exercise will require you to search the literature and summarize your findings as a short presentation [to be given after lecture seven].

It would be a good idea to start on this project as soon as you receive the documentation. I would suggest you begin by researching what happened in the literature and then as a group decide what the main themes to be followed up are. You can then allocate these tasks to individual members of the group.

The final deliverable will be a five minute presentation when you will have an opportunity to report to the class what you have found. This presentation will take place after the seventh lecture.