This unit focuses on accessing and understanding research results through seminars, colloquia
It addresses questions such as:
- How do we make a start on understanding unfamiliar material?
- How do we present material describing other people's results?
- How do we lead and contribute to a discussion of a third party's research work?
The key idea is that as scientists approaching new topics, the quantity and technical difficulty of material can be overwhelming. Nevertheless there are techniques that can allow us to grab footholds and start to develop a basic understanding of the material. In this unit, we will do this many times by encountering new research in several forms (papers, talks etc); following it up online by looking for further literature and other information; and reporting our conclusions in different ways: journal club discussions, short blogs and discussion fora.
Amongst other things we will try to evaluate:
- novelty and potential impact
- wider context of the work
- probable correctness
- quality of presentation
We will also think about the ways scientific research is a human activity. This has implications for how scientists and teams of scientists plan their projects over a series of papers, and what are appropriate ways for us as consumers of scientific reporting to discuss and critique the work of others. We will also discuss factors around the process of publication, including the peer review process, research funding and careers which are all linked to the overall enterprise of research as captured through the Academic Literature. The intention of this unit is that it should be unfamiliar and demanding, but rewarding. The skills developed and assessed are entirely different from any other unit this year. If you put in the time, it should be very achievable to perform well. This is also a unit where discussion and (respectful) exchange of opinions is central. The more each of us puts in, the more fun we will have.
Technologies used and resources
Part of the unit will involve online searching and accessing of current literature.