At Science Craft, we consider student feedback as essential in helping us to continuously improve the quality of our training.
We also consider scientific transparency as essential to ensuring good scientific practice and therefore encourage it in our workshops. We strive for transparency in our own practices because, whether you are a student or a graduate school coordinator, you should know what to expect from our workshops. To aid this, it is Science Craft’s policy to share student feedback from our training workshops.
Although many students dread writing a scientific manuscript or thesis, an overwhelming majority of participants in our Scientific Writing workshops report having a positive attitude towards writing and are motivated to start work on their next manuscript.
Before the Scientific Writing workshop, participants submit an abstract of their research. This is thoroughly edited by the instructors, who are native English speakers. Editing is done on both a detailed level as well as an overall structural level. During the workshop, each student receives a 1-on-1 consultation with the instructor about their writing. The popularity of this approach is reflected in the high feedback scores for the instructors and edits.
In addition to the edits, participants consistently praise the usefulness of our reference material and regularly comment that it will remain in good use throughout their writing careers.
For many young researchers, the task of writing a proposal to fund their research is a step into the unknown. Science Craft’s Proposal Writing workshop succeeds in demystifying the topic and this is reflected in a striking improvement in their attitude to writing proposals. On leaving our workshop, participants feel highly motivated to apply for their own funding.
Prior to the Proposal Writing workshop, each participant is required to submit a 2 page mini-proposal to be used in class exercises. A unique and highly-valued component of the workshop is the one-to-one feedback that each participant receives on their proposal’s concept, design and language from both an experienced grant writer and a native English speaker.
During the Presentation Skills workshop, students gain a better understanding of the purpose and structure of a scientific presentation. In addition to this, exercises on body language and coping-mechanisms for stage-fright equip the students with a greater amount of confidence and a more positive attitude towards giving presentations after the workshop.
The Presentation Skills workshop is highly interactive. The positive results of this approach are reflected in the positive feedback relating to the presentation of the material, answers to participant questions and personal attention from the instructors. In particular, constructive criticism of the in-class presentations (on body language, structure and slide design) are consistently noted in comments from participants.
Participants at the Data Analysis workshop have a diverse range of experience and natural ability in programming and are often unfamiliar with using computational methods. The ambitious goal of the Data Analysis workshop is to empower these students to analyse their own data using the powerful R statistics package. Although the learning curve for this topic is steep, even the least confident students leave the workshop with a greater appetite for using R in the future.
Students appreciate the personal attention they receive from instructors when working on their own data, a unique hands-on element of the workshop that encourages them to be pro-active about analysing their own data. They also value the comprehensive yet accessible workshop manual designed to encourage them to use R in their future research.
The Data Visualisation workshop enhances participants’ understanding of the importance of visually communicating their research results. Added to this, students leave the workshop with confidence that they can create impactful, well-designed figures using the R statistics package.
The high overall score of the Data Visualisation workshop rests on the unique features of our training approach. Students single-out the personal knowledge and one-on-one attention of the instructor for praise. This approach helps them put the theory of Data Visualisation into practice when making their own figures. The tailor-made workshop manual is prized as a rich source of data visualisation ideas that inspires students to choose and implement optimal visualisations for their data.