"I now produce clear, concise work that conveys exactly what I want to say"
The Hands on Writing course provided a practical framework in which I could begin writing my thesis. Step-by-step activities highlighted and explained problem areas, and provided tips on how to deal with these. Short tasks encouraged me to set aside time every week for making the writing process fit my circumstances, whilst enabling me to see an immediate difference in the quality of my written work.
Before I decided to take this course, I was feeling quite unmotivated and distressed about my lack of progress in producing written work. This course demonstrated concrete steps to apply to my own writing, so instead of long, rambling paragraphs which sometimes contain irrelevant detail I now produce clear, concise work that conveys exactly what I want to say. I have a structured plan of action in place and feel confident that I know what I need to do next.
Octavia Springbett, PhD Student in Research Education, Lancaster University, UK
"Writing is now a natural part of my day"
Following Marialuisa’s online course was a challenge I wanted to take, to face my reality as an interrupted PhD candidate, to see if I could keep up, if I could take down few barriers. And I did it!
Writing is now a natural part of my day; not something I must force myself to do, which never worked for me. I have learned to manage my own time, to protect it from the rest of my life, to focus, and trust the process of the course and of my PhD.
Marialuisa’s feedback on my writing was so helpful. She is clear, professional, and her passion for the written word is contagious.
Chantal Lunardi, Prospective PhD Student, Canada
"I was afraid to start writing, because I knew it wouldn’t be perfect. I am no longer concerned about perfection for my initial drafts"
Whenever new ideas popped up, I would find it very difficult to integrate them in the existing text. Overall, I was afraid to start writing, because I knew it wouldn’t be perfect.
In this course, I have learned how to approach my writing in a much more efficient way. I am no longer concerned about perfection for my initial drafts and I now manage to let my thoughts flow naturally on paper.
Now, I regard writing from a very different perspective. I also feel pleasure in writing and look forward to keep practicing all the tools and strategies I have learned in this course.
Ioan-Bogdan Magdau, PhD Student - University of Edinburgh, UK
"This course made me realise that writing is perhaps the most important skill I'll be taking home with me."
I never thought of adopting formal methods to structure and then proofread my own writing. As a result, writing was pretty much an ad-hoc process for me, which caused a lot of anxiety.
After attending Hands on Writing, I feel I have now acquired skills to tackle writing in a more structured manner and I am much less anxious about it. It’s like having a clear plan laid out for you. I definitely look forward to applying all I have learned to my next writing project.
Paul Zammit, PhD Student - University of Glasgow, UK
"I never felt very confident about writing. Now I have a better idea of how to get started."
I never felt very confident about writing. I used to find it hard to start out with a new writing task, because I did not know where to begin. I also found editing my own work extremely challenging.
After attending the Hands On Writing Course, I have a better idea of how to get started. Also, following a systematic approach makes me feel more confident and I now know how to edit my work more thoroughly, without feeling personal about it.
Lauren Fleming, PhD Student - University of Dundee, UK
"I felt I had to guess good writing practice from reading other people’s papers and theses."
After attending the Hands on Writing course, I feel happier with how to plan, structure, and edit a research paper. I now know what to do to improve my writing.
I look forward to applying all the methods, tools and tips to write my reports, papers, and eventually my PhD thesis. I found the course incredibly useful.
Lewis MacKenzie, PhD Student - University of Glasgow, UK
"I was feeling like being on a boat – not being a good swimmer – and awaiting for someone to throw me into the sea."
The idea that in a year I will have to generate an enormous amount of writing scared me. I was feeling like being on a boat – not being a good swimmer – and awaiting for someone to throw me into the sea. I just needed someone to teach me how to “swim” into the writing process step by step.
In this course, I have learned that rushing everything at once is a surefire recipe for disaster when it comes to writing. And I have realized that trying to correct structure, grammar, and content at the same time makes my piece of writing even worse.
After attending Hands on Writing, I feel much more confident about focusing on one step at a time. I now have the tools to improve my writing and to be able to reduce the stress I have always felt every time I had to write or edit my own work.
Eliana Lambrou, PhD Student - University of Edinburgh, UK
"I now have several tools and strategies to assess my work constructively and improve my writing."
This course has provided me with an easy-to-follow step-by-step process and showed me which direction to take. Even though I still need plenty of practice, I now have several tools and strategies to assess my work constructively and improve my writing.
Luigi Capponi, PhD Student - University of West Scotland, UK
I decided to attend the course because, despite reading many scientific papers on a weekly basis, I felt I needed some precise and clear advice on how to write effectively. Marialuisa was able to answer many of the questions I had and to give us useful tips concerning both the structure and the vocabulary that best allow to convey a scientific message clearly. What I appreciated most was learning how to deal with the limits and the strengths of my own writing.
I think this course provides clear and useful information for those who approach scientific writing for the first time and clarifies many of the doubts that one typically faces at the beginning. It also gives important suggestions to those who are already familiar with this type of writing but would like to communicate more effectively.
Giulia Foffano, PhD student - University of Edinburgh, UK
I am always looking for opportunities to improve my writing, as I know it is an area I need to work on. Marialuisa's Hands on Writing Workshop has given me some tools that will be practically useful. I also know how I am going to continue learning about writing in the future. I now know how to work on my writing and feel more confident about starting to write my thesis.
M.B. Wallace, PhD student - University of Edinburgh, UK
Having begun to compose research papers and reports I found the Hands on Writing Workshop allowed me the opportunity to learn how to improve my writing technique. I found the structure and content of this workshop particularly easy-to-follow.
The strategies outlined in this course will enable me to structure my writing, whether in a report or my thesis, more clearly and concisely. It has also made me think about the effect that the use of specific vocabulary can have when trying to communicate your method or results.
As a result of attending the workshops I can now implement the models and develop the skills which were introduced. I feel I now have a firm grasp of how to approach a writing assignment.
PhD student - University of Edinburgh, UK
Throughout this writing course, I have learnt how to write and present my research in a clear and structured way. Marialuisa has also shared with us many great tips on writing style and on thesis organisation.
In particular, I learnt how to construct a paragraph elegantly by using conjunctions and tenses in an effective way. Marialuisa has been a very engaging lecturer and the course handouts she provided will also serve as an excellent reference on punctuation, grammar, and style.
I would recommend this course to anyone even if they have written some papers before.
Elsen Tjhung, PhD student - University of Edinburgh, UK