Training Resources

Training Resources

Effective Reporting Skills: Free Resources

Progress and evaluation reports are cornerstones of effective programmes. So why are they such a headache for readers and writers alike? Reporting skills can be learned, just like any other skill. This Handbook takes readers through the entire reporting process from setting objectives, through data gathering and analysis tools, to planning, drafting, editing and designing the report. Whilst you are visiting their website, you can also subscribe to Reporting Skills & Professional Writing for more free resources on Google Groups.

How to Get Good Science

David Colquhoun considers how a university can achieve the best research and teaching, and the most efficient administration. Published in Physiology News No 69 Winter 2007 www.physoc.org

How to Write Consistently Boring Scientific Literature

Although scientists typically insist that their research is very exciting and adventurous when they talk to laymen and prospective students, the allure of this enthusiasm is too often lost in the predictable, stilted structure and language of their scientific publications. Kaj Sand-Jensen presents here, a top-10 list of recommendations for how to write consistently boring scientific publications. He then discusses why we should and how we could make these contributions more accessible and exciting. Published in Oikos 116: 723-727.

On the Process of Becoming a Good Scientist

Morgan C. Giddings provides a different and perhaps deeper look at what makes a successful scientist. Including don’t worry about age, worry about being exposed to new ideas; take risks; enjoy your work; learn to say "no!"; learn to enjoy the process of writing and presenting; see the big picture and keep it in mind. Published in PLoS Computational Biology Volume 4(2) www.ploscompbiol.org.

Pathways to Effective Communication: The Best Papers are the Boldest

Why do scientists bother to publish? A disinterested member of the public or a member of government might be forgiven for thinking that science exists to advance society’s needs. While “making the world a better place” is both an aspiration and an outcome of scientific activity, in my view, it is not the major motivation for scientists to publish. In a recent survey of biological and medical scientists, about half said they publish “to communicate knowledge”, while rather fewer responded with “to demonstrate productivity” or “to establish prestige”. Published by the Ecological Society of America, www.frontiersinecology.org.

Writing in Ecology

Skill in writing—like factual knowledge, critical thinking, and field experience—is an essential tool for the practicing ecologist. After all, writing is the major way ecologists communicate with each other. The hints in this handout are for students writing in ecology classes. If you take these hints to heart, writing class papers should be easier and more effective. But writing takes time and effort for everyone, and everyone can use some help. The real goal of this handout is to build writing skills that you can use to communicate your scientific ideas in any situation. Mark V Wilson of the Department of Botany and Plant Physiology at Oregon State University.

eLearning Africa 2012 Report

The eLearning Africa 2012 Report describes how Africans are using new technologies to enhance education and training across the continent. The report: uses data collected from 447 survey respondents; contains analyses by a number of commentators, including traditional chiefs, investors, and academics from across Africa; and includes the perspectives of elearning professionals and a range of other stakeholders across 41 different countries in Africa.

Participatory Monitoring, Evaluation, Reflection and Learning (PMERL) Manual

The goal of CBA is to build the resilience of vulnerable individuals, households, communities, and societies. The PMERL Manual supports a methodology that can help measure, monitor, and evaluate changes in local adaptive capacity within vulnerable communities for better decision-making on CBA. It has been developed by CARE in partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). It is written for programme managers, field staff, local partners - both government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and communities.

Writing a Communication Strategy for Development Programmes

The Guideline is divided into two main parts: doing the analysis and developing the strategy. It begins with advice on the analyses needed for strategy development: the development issue, the programme to be supported, the participants and their behaviours, and the communication channels. The second part addresses the actual development of the strategy-taking the results of analyses to develop communication objectives and shape advocacy, social mobilization and behaviour change communication accordingly. Practical advice is given to develop, design and write the strategy, ensuring participation of primary participants and the community itself. In the section on last steps, three important aspects of successful communication are included: monitoring outcomes, funding and going from the strategy to implementation. While these are not directly related to strategy development, they are integral to communication strategy implementation, so are included in the document.”

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