The course is available to MPhil and PhD candidates who must take either this course or GRSC6020 Introduction to Thesis Writing (The Humanities & Related Disciplines).


The course consists of a series of workshop-style classes in which students present their own works in progress and provide feedback on their peers’ work in turn. Students will also attend School of English research seminars as part of their ongoing training. Teaching is informal and students will have plenty of opportunities for interaction and contribution in order to learn more about crafting a dissertation, and how to create cogent, rigorous academic writing. The class will also be a useful “deadline” setting mechanism as students take turns to present their own research work at regular intervals throughout the semester. We will meet once every two weeks as a group. The instructor is also happy to meet with students individually for mentoring by appointment to deal with any specific writing/research issues they may have.


This course offers students a framework within which they discuss the genre of thesis writing, in particular the various stages of a research thesis, with reference to the thesis format required by the University of Hong Kong. The conventions, techniques and expectations of a research thesis in English will be discussed, and so will broader questions about research culture, and the nature of an academic life and career. We will also focus on questions of academic integrity, proper citation of sources, and creating a familiarity with journals in the field in order to aim for publishable work within a dissertation.


Students will be given guidance as to how to identify and define a research topic; the kinds of primary and secondary texts that they should be reading; the range of possible models for the organization of a thesis in English; the kinds of methodologies, basic theoretical positions and strategies of argumentation that are found within the discipline; the expectations for the thesis in terms of originality and contribution to the field. Questions of the handling of sources will be discussed, including proper citation and attribution methods, and the need to avoid plagiarism. Exemplary academic articles from a range of subfields within English Studies will be used as models of analysis for good writing, as well as a way of introducing students to broader currents of criticism in English both within and beyond their intended specialty. You only get good at academic writing, by reading lots of good academic writing.

Students will also be assisted to reflect on matters of work practices, time management, conferences and publication, and ongoing career management. The workshop will be a mentoring opportunity for students new to research and the environment will be friendly, open, dialogic and very much a space for any and all questions related to academic careers in English Studies both in Hong Kong and overseas.


Assessment (100% coursework: Pass/Fail)

Assessment will be based on attendance and participation in the course, including the completion of all required writing exercises and a sample of scholarly writing related to the candidate's research area. This will be discussed in more detail on an individual basis once the research interests of the enrolled students are known to the instructor. Attendance and active participation is crucial to success


Students will offer feedback on the course by means of course evaluations.



Last updated: 3 July 2019