Fourth AIM student poster research conference: Research-based learning in action

In December 2016, the AIM Student Poster Research Conference Winter 2016 took place at HAW Hamburg. Approximately 20 students enrolled in the degree programme Foreign Trade/International Management (B. Sc.) presented their research work. The general topic of the semester was Sustainability Management. Individual topics adressed aspects for example of population growth, vegan lifestyle, sustainable higher education and renewable energies. The instructors awarded Janne Wurr, Jan Gandera and Till Lojewsky with the instructor’s best poster award.

The posters were developed in the context of the course “Academic research and writing“. Coursework was organised by way of team teaching undertaken by Dr. Fabian Frielitz, our librarian Detlev Dannenberg and me as well as my student assistants Dawid Szmigielski and Serhat Akkaya.

The teaching concept is based on blended learning and research-based learning. The course is modelled around the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Students are provided with various access points to the course contents, which can be combined or used on a standalone basis: learning videostextbook, webinars, library excursions, tutorials, walk-in labs and poster labs support individual learning styles.

For more information on poster conferences in general see my latest article.

New publication on posters and poster conferences (in German)

New article on posters and poster conferences:

Decker, C. (2016).
Die Posterkonferenz als hochschuldidaktische Methode und Alternative zum Referat.
In B. Berendt, A. Fleischmann, N. Schaper, B. Szczyrba, & J. Wildt (Hrsg.),
Neues Handbuch Hochschullehre. Berlin: DUZ, G 1.2.

Link to article (restricted access)

E-book (new): Academic research and writing

New e-book

We are happy to announce that the e-book version of “Academic research and writing” has been published today.

E-book academic research and writing

It looks awesome on Kindle and on iPad… :-))

Christian Decker & Rita Werner
Academic research and writing. A concise introduction
iCADEMICUS, Frankfurt am Main 2016
ISBN: 978-3-9815-5862-3 (E-book)
Price: 10.99 Euro (Germany)

General information
Special features
Product details e-book

Textbook donation

Textbook donation

Today, we made a donation of 50 copies of our new textbook to the library of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.

New textbook: Academic research and writing

Ultimately, after a three year long design phase, our textbook on “Academic research and writing” was published today. We spent substantial time and effort in order to create a textbook that corresponds with our e-learning tutorials and forms part of a classroom-tested, fully integrated and competency-based teaching concept.

The book is available in North America and Europe.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-03-25 um 18.37.01

Christian Decker & Rita Werner
Academic research and writing. A concise introduction
iCADEMICUS, Frankfurt am Main 2016
ISBN: 978-3-9815-5861-6 (Paperback)
Price: 16.90 Euro (Germany)

General information
Special features
Product details paperback

New videos added: argumentation

Rigour and flow of argumentation have a major impact on the quality of academic research. An essential component of argumentation is providing definitions. Definitions can be derived with the help of standard, advanced or professional approaches. Furthermore, the deduction of individual arguments is documented in paragraphs and chapters, which serve as the units of an academic paper. The logic of arguments has to be mirrored in the paragraph structure, which consists of three logical text elements: topic sentence, supporting sentences and concluding sentence. Transitioning between sentences as well as between paragraphs supports the flow of argumentation and provides cohesion within the text. During the development of an argumentation, the structuring of paragraphs and chapters shows an iterative character. Referencing that supports the argumentation can enhance the academic quality of the research output. Thus, arguments of other sources should be carefully combined instead of randomly compiled.

Link to e-learning videos: Overview of chapter 12

New videos added: academic language and writing style

The e-learning videos of chapter 11 provide a brief introduction to academic language and academic writing style. Academic writing can be differentiated from other forms of writing, for example literary writing. Furthermore, different academic disciplines favour different styles of writing, which have to be studied on an individual basis. Independent of specific academic styles, the principles of accuracy and clarity, that have been introduced in chapter 2, provide a general framework that prescribes to be specific, to omit the needless, to beware of adjectives, to avoid subjectivity, to apply factual tonality and to focus on clear phrasing. The elements of coherence, structure and cohesion, further support the logic of argumentation. Logical links between and within sentences as well as linking repetition are techniques to enhance the inter-subjective comprehensibility. The academic writer has inter alia to differentiate between British and American English and should use punctuation, special characters, symbols and figures in a way that supports the documentation of research projects.

Link to e-learning videos: Overview of chapter 11

New videos added: structuring technique

A research problem needs to be clarified and has to be transformed into a precisely formulated research question. This is done in the chapter “research problem”. A pragmatic way to structure the chapter “research problem” is to apply the concept of deductive reasoning. According to deduction, the writer advances from paragraphs with general information to paragraphs with a higher specificity and ends with the research question. Simultaneously, the research problem with its research question determines the overall structure of the research paper, i.e. the outline. Once an aim has been identified, its implicit logic prescribes the structure of the outline. Moreover, the outline should be aligned with the structure of the chapter “course of investigation” and, if applicable, with a chapter “research method”. A research paper ends with a conclusion that can be segmented into three subchapters: summary of research findings, critical acclaim and outlook. Again, the summary of the findings should be aligned with the structure of the research problem and the outline of the main body. Finally, it is good style to critically reflect upon one’s own research findings in the subchapter “critical acclaim” and to provide an outlook regarding potential future developments in the subchapter “outlook”.

Link to e-learning videos: Overview of chapter 9

New videos added: interpretation of a topic

A well-thought-out interpretation of the topic is a prerequisite for the successful execution of a research project. Especially in academic settings, research candidates have not only the duty, but also the right to develop an interpretation of their topics. In some cases, the thesis advisor might assist the interpretation process. In other cases, research candidates have to derive an interpretation on their own. An ideal interpretation process starts with a negative and a positive interpretation of the topic and thereby the identification of possible aims. Once possible aims and their implications are known, the research candidate has to select one aim or a combination of aims. There are five possible aims: description, causal connection, intention, function, and comparison. The interpretation of a topic can be of an abstract (theoretical) or problem-based (applied) nature. Within the process of a problem-based interpretation, the empirical environment has to be considered. The identified aim predetermines the nature of possible research questions to be investigated.

Link to e-learning videos: Overview of chapter 8