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SEED projects 2017 – Writing, Writing Everywhere

Writing for Psychology

Hineatua ParkinsonHineatua Parkinson (Faculty of Science) in conjunction with members of the Maori and Pacific Postgraduate Research Group

This project aimed to produce resources to assist students so that they feel supported whilst on their journey towards full academic literacy. It worked with members of the Maori and Pacific Postgraduate Research Group (MPPRG), an initiative to create an inclusive and dynamic space for Maori and Pacific students in the School of Psychology to motivate, inspire and support each other through the research process.

There was a real gap in the School of Psychology around course content for students who are required to write lab reports, essays and research proposals, etc. Hineatua worked for the Psychology Tuakana (Mentor) Programme. One of the main challenges our Maori and Pacific students face is writing for Psychology and, surprisingly, not with the content. This gap becomes more evident when our (few) students reach the postgraduate level and have very few options to get feedback on their writing style and formatting. As Tuakana resources were stretched, historically they focussed on content in the Tuakana workshops for Stages 1, 2 and 3.

Funding from a SEED grant enabled a series of ten seminars, entitled “Writing for Psychology” in Semester Two, 2017. Each two-hour session spent an hour learning about the writing style, and the second hour practising. The second hour was also a space where students got feedback on their work in regards to structure, referencing, etc. Each session was designed for both undergraduate and postgraduate students and was open to up to 20 students, The sessions were informal and quite intimate, allowing for small group activities, good flow of questions and answers, and plenty of one-on-one time where required. The whakawhanaungatanga (process of establishing relationships) at the beginning was important for students to make connections with each other, this also contributed to them feeling at ease during the session.

Feedback from students included a desire for more workshops looking at how to write a literature review at the start of the year, with time and space for writing towards the end of the year.

Psychology Tuakana Programme incorporated the programme into their workshops for 2018, with minor adjustment.