Course A103/79 Basic Course in Written English

ECTS: 2.6

Course leader: Morten Pilegaard

Language: English

Graduate school: Faculty of Health

Max seats: 25

Applicants: 50

Status: Course is finished

Application deadline: 07/09/2020

Start date: 05/10/2020

Administrator: Johanne Gregor Nielsen

Basic Course in Written English A103/79

is being offered by the Graduate School of Health, Aarhus University, fall 2020

NB! This is a duplicate course. Please do not sign up for more than one course in ”Basic Course in Written English”.

If you are available to participate in more than one of the duplicated courses, please indicate in your primary course registration (in the comment box) which course(s) you are also interested in.

In case of a duplicate registration, please notice that a full course fee will be charged when reaching the application deadline on all courses.

Criteria for participation: University degree in medicine, dentistry, nursing, or Master’s degree in other fields and/or postgraduate research fellows (PhD students and research-year medical students).

Aim: The aim of this course is to impart knowledge about and give course participants an introduction to academic text production in English, applying textual and discourse strategies and methodologies in accordance with the current conventions of written academic English in health sciences

Learning outcomes:

  1. Knowledge about guidelines and conventions governing the structuring of clinical research papers.
  2. Knowledge of principles of cohesion and thematic structure in research papers.
  3. Knowledge of some of the main differences between English and Danish syntax and grammar.
  4. Ability to describe typical structural and linguistic features of poster, abstract and paper.
  5. Ability to trace errors of syntax and grammar in English-language texts.

Content: To achieve this aim, the student has to acquire the following qualifications: (A) knowledge about 1) the conventions of specific academic text genres in health sciences, including research papers, posters and conference abstracts; 2) the basic textual and discourse features of such genres including their cohesion and coherence; 3) efficient and effective processes for writing and responding to reviewers; 4) the main differences between English and Danish grammar and language usage; (B) proficiency in 1) the production and revision of specific types of academic text genres and text types in accordance with prevailing conventions for presentation, argumentation, summarizing, etc. in qualitative and quantitative research, respectively; 2) tracing and revision of inexpedient language features, including unidiomatic English and typical grammatical errors made by Danish writers of academic English.

Activities and materials: The course will consist of a mixture of lectures and presentations, followed by exercises and discussions, all based on medical texts. Course materials will consist of texts, slides, drills and a collection of exercises and answer keys for in-course use and training on self-study basis for three months post course; students with work in progress are invited to have one or more sections of their texts discussed in plenary.


Day 1

  1. Presentation of participants and course.
  2. Reporting guidelines (CONSORT, STROBE, etc.) and conventions (IMRAD, etc.) in health sciences.
  3. Writer-, reader- and process-oriented writing: techniques, tools and practical advice.
  4. Aids in writing for medical science including introduction basic English self-study materials, drills and answer key focused on English grammar.

Day 2

  1. Text and context: research paper, conference abstract, poster, response to reviewers and funding applications.
  2. Text types: causal analysis, argumentation, comparison/contrast, paraphrasing/summarizing.
  3. Grammar: Cohesion and coherence: the paragraph; controlling and supporting ideas, transitions; given and new information.
  4. Conference abstract: Structuring and writing persuasive, crisp conference abstracts. How to get selected!

Day 3

  1. Grammar: Grammar pitfalls. ‘Problematic’ word classes. Contrastive differences between English and Danish grammar and usage.
  2. Poster: Building successful posters: the tricks of the trade.
  3. Research paper I: abstracts. Structure and language of abstracts; differences between conference abstracts and research paper abstracts; message condensation and compression.
  4. Research paper II: materials & methods, results sections of research paper. Structure and language in descriptive text types. Comparison and contrast. Analysis of sample texts.

Day 4

  1. Research paper III: introduction and discussion sections of research paper. Structure and language in expository and argumentative text types. Analysis of sample texts.
  2. The review process: Accompanying letters; responding to reviewers; verbal politeness.
  3. Own texts: Plenary with discussion at students’ discretion and individual questions and counseling students’ papers in progress.
  4. Odds and ends & introduction to supplementary exercises for post-course Basic Written English self-study.

Recommended knowledge for participation: There are no special requirements for participation in this course other than the ability to speak and understand English.

Language: English

ECTS: 2.6

Head of course: Morten Pilegaard

Number of participants: 25

Dates and times: 5, 12, 19 and 26 October 2020

Place: Online at Zoom from 8.30-12.30

Course fee: DKK 3.120

Participation in the course is without cost for:

  • PhD students, Research Year students and Research Honours Programme students from Aarhus University
  • PhD students enrolled at member universities of the Nordoc network
  • PhD students from other institutions in the open market agreement for PhD courses

Application deadline: 7 September 2020