Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Academic Writing and Statistical Techniques for Scientific Research

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Science

DESCRIPTION The academic writing component will cover aspects related to writing an undergraduate dissertation and scientific articles. Topics discussed include: organization of the work, the different sections of a, tables and figures, citation and referencing, and writing style. The statistics component will be focussed on the interpretation of results from data analysis rather than theoretical justification of their use. The main topics covered as part of the statistics component include:

- Parametric Tests
- Non-Parametric Tests
- Regression Models
- Generalized Linear Models
- Factor Analysis by Principal Components
- Log Linear Models

Study-unit Aims

This unit is mainly aimed at equipping students with knowledge of:

- How to plan and organize a dissertation/paper;
- What to write in each section of the dissertation/paper;
- How to present data as figures and tables;
- How to cite the literature and other data sources, and how to give a list of references;
- How to use a popular statistical package to analyse data;
- How to interpret the results of data analysis.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Demonstrate use of appropriate structure, style and and grammar when writing a dissertation or scientific article;
- Adopt the necessary considerations when choosing a research topic and preparing a proposal;
- Adopt principles and techniques underlying the management and presentation of data;
- Demonstrate the importance of structuring a dissertation/paper as a formal academic exposition of a topic and of writing in a formal academic style, using precise, concise and grammatically correct language;
- Use appropriate referencing;
- Use statistical packages to analyse data;
- Demonstrate appropriate interpretation of the results of data analysis.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Plan and organize a dissertation/paper;
- Write each section with the appropriate content and in the accepted style;
- Present synthesized data in the form of figures and tables;
- Provide appropriate citations to the literature and other data sources and give a list of references;
- Use an appropriate style of formal academic writing;
- Write in a precise and concise manner that avoids common linguistic deficiencies;
- Make the appropriate considerations when selecting a research topic and in preparing a research proposal;
- Use appropriate techniques and procedures to manage data;
- Use statistical packages to analyse data;
- Interpret the results of data analysis.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Main texts academic writing:

- Greetham, B. (2009). How to write your undergraduate dissertation. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Russey, W. E., Ebel, H. F., & Bliefert, C. H. (2006). How to write a successful science thesis: The concise guide for students. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH.
- Lindsay D. (2011). Scientifis writing = thinking in words. Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.

Supplementary reading academic writing:

- Cooley, L., & Lewkowicz, J. (2003). Dissertation writing in practice: Turning ideas into text. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
- Cutts, M. (2009). Oxford guide to plain English (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Fowler, H. W. (Author), Burchfield, R. W. (Ed.). (1998). The new Fowler’s modern English usage (3rd rev. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination. London: Sage.
- Levin, P. (2005). Excellent dissertations. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
- Ritter, R. M. (2002). The Oxford guide to style: The style Bible for all writers, editors, and publishers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Sayce, K. (2006). What not to write. London: Words at work.
- Tredinnick, M. (2008). Writing well: The essential guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Main texts statistical techniques:
- Freund, J. E. and Simon, G.A. (1997) Modern Elementary Statistics, Prentice Hall Inc.
- Wardlaw, A. C. (1999) Practical Statistics for experimental Biologists - 2nd Edition, Wiley.

Supplementary reading statistical techniques:
- Barrow, M. (2001) Statistics for Economics, Accounting and Business Studies, Financial Times Prentice Hall Inc.
- Campbell, R. C. (1989) Statistics for Biologists - 3rd Edition, Cambridge University Press.
- Field, A. (2000) Discovering Statistics using SPSS for Windows - 1st Edition, Sage Publications Ltd.
- Finkelstein, M. and Levin, B. (2001) Statistics for Lawyers - 2nd Edition, Springer.
- Freund, J. E. and Simon, G. A. (1995) Statistics - A First Course, Prentice Hall Inc.
- Green, S. B., Salkind, N. J. and Key, T. A. (1999 ) Using SPSS for Windows - 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall Inc.
- Knapp, R. G. (1984) Basic Statistics for Nurses - 2nd Edition, Delmar.
- Newbold, P. (1995) Statistics for Business and Economics - 4th Edition, Prentice Hall Inc.
- Speigel, M. R. (1979) Schaum's Outline Series: Theory & Problems of Statistics - McGraw-Hill.
- Sander, D. (1995) Statistics - A First Course - McGraw-Hill.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite qualifications: B.Sc. (Hons.) 1st Year, 2nd Year and 3rd Year

Pre-Requisite Study-units: SOR0210 & SOR0220

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 50%
Project SEM1 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Sandro Lanfranco
Fiona Sammut
Patrick J. Schembri
Emmanuel Sinagra

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.