I often find myself reminding my Chemistry and Material Science students that they are not supposed to use direct “quotations” from scientific papers they read but they should paraphrase and cite what they consider the most important information element. I also give them a list of paraphrasing techniques simplifying them down to:

  1. Technical vocabulary (terminology) cannot always be paraphrased (e.g. mobile or stationary phase in chromatography)
  2. Using  synonyms or antonyms can be handy as long as you make sure the meaning is the same
  3. Transforming verbs into nouns (differ–difference) and adjectives into adverbs (and vice versa) can be very helpful
  4. Change the order of information or change from active to passive voice
  5. Acknowledge the authors or you will be plagiarising e.g. Smith et al. (2016) reported that…
  6. Summarise the content leaving out details (keep only what is really relevant to what YOU are trying to say)
  7. Add your own evaluative comments e.g. The main weakness in this report  …

Then, I ask my students to choose one paragraph of their own from our textbook and paraphrase it legitimately. Yet, things do not always work as I have planned. Despite my sincere efforts to guide my students and hopefully contribute to more effective academic writing, I am always in for a surprise when some students still come up with texts like this:

Original paragraph
Adsorption chromatography was developed first. It has a solid stationary phase and a liquid or gaseous mobile phase. (Plant pigments were separated at the turn of the 20th century by using a calcium carbonate stationary phase and a liquid hydrocarbon mobile phase. The different solutes travelled different distances through the solid, carried along by the solvent.) Each solute has its own equilibrium between adsorption onto the surface of the solid and solubility in the solvent, the least soluble or best adsorbed ones travel more slowly. The result is a separation into bands containing different solutes. Liquid chromatography using a column containing silica gel or alumina is an example of adsorption chromatography. The solvent that is put into a column is called the eluent, and the liquid that flows out of the end of the column is called the eluate.

Adsorption chromatography was developed first. It has a true to life hidden era and a cleaner or gaseous mobile period. (Plant pigments were summarize at the operation of the 20th century by employment a calcium carbonate hibernating phase and a Flakes hydrocarbon mobile phase. The choice solutes travelled option distances browse the existing, carried along by the douse.) Unexceptionally solute has its react to poise between adsorption onto the come overseas of the true and solubility in the animation, the smallest soluble or best adsorbed ones travel more slowly. The deliberation is a contravention into bands containing substitute solutes. soap powder chromatography application a cohort containing silica jell or alumina is an example of adsorption chromatography. The solvent cruise is pile into a cadre is suspect the eluent, and the liquid wind flows out of the repeal of the division is supposed the eluate.


By Kallia Katsampoxaki-Hodgetts (2016) University of Crete
International postgraduate students are often equipped with substantial content knowledge when they enter an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) class. Having said that, more often than not a key issue which needs to be addressed is their ability to think, read or write critically when faced with a wide range of sources of information. EAP tutors should be prepared to raise students’ awareness over a number of lessons so as to mitigate differences between a higher and a lower level group.
Drawing students’ attention to how sources are cited or acknowledged can be a useful stepping stone. Through this, students should be able to jot down key phrases or ways employed to acknowledge authors and they should be able to notice different referencing types according to source, i.e. book, scholarly article, website. Yet, by being exposed to a variety of genre samples, students should also be able to classify sources as primary and secondary which can often be a crucial predicament for young researchers.
Following this, students should become aware of sequences and patterns in scientific texts, identifying similarities or differences, and arguments favouring or un-favouring views. As such, they should be invited to notice the difference between interpretation and description in scientific papers. Writing For and Against essays could also be a good way to introduce them to the use of evaluative language and drawing logical conclusions rather than summative ones….

You can read the whole article here

Critical reading and writing with international students EAP 2016

Read the text on Alkanes in your book and watch the videos on alkane confomational analysis and alkane reactions. Write a well-organised and concise essay on “Alkanes” focusing on your essay’s COHERENCE and COHESION. This is to do with your ability to connect paragraphs and sentences in a logical order that enhances the flow of your essay (You can watch a video for this too). References and in-text citations should also be included. (No word limit)

NB. Feel free to look for additional resources or videos before writing your essay.

Alkanes conformations video

Alkanes reactions

Coherence and Cohesion video


Although I am not a chemistry professor and my chemistry background rarely surpasses that of my first year undergraduate students, I like to read about chemistry education tips and approaches that can improve university teaching. This one is a very tangible down-to-earth approach in three very simple steps.




Task 3 for ECHEM 2 students

This week we discussed water treatment processes options, water pollutants and sources.  You will have to write an essay favouring or nunfavouring the following view: “Many people cringe with disgust at the thought of having to drink treated toilet water. However, scientists claim that the “toilet-to-tap” approach can be perfectly safe.” Write an essay for and against the safety of drinking treated wastewater and justify your claims by using examples and evidence regarding water treatment processes from recent research studies. As well as the articles and videos provided in Edmodo, you might as well read the following article from ScienceDaily.


Essay guidelines for English 2:
  • in-text citations/references
  • good paragraph structure and topic sentences
  • cohesion and coherence devices
  • grammatical accuracy
  • good target vocabulary range
  • appropriate academic style (formality, hedging)
  • evaluative (not just descriptive) language
  • balanced argumentation


This is really interesting! I guess no one wants to be caught red handed! Beware publishing scientists aroung the world!




E1 students can choose one of the following topics or ANY other (MS-related) topic featuring in “Materials Today” and notify the instructor in Edmodo : http://www.materialstoday.com/news/

Suggested Materials Science Presentation topics 2015-2016

Manipulating light at the nanoscale:Photonics in Materials Science (MS)

Magneto-caloric metals in MS

Barocaloric effect in MS

New spin on Graphene makes it magnetic

Mercury tellurate and Graphene

Sticky fingers: Developing a materials science approach to forensics

Materials Science: Metals With Diamonds

Metal Composite that will literally float your boat

Spider man science: Tunable web glue and smart adhesives

Making complex composite materials to order

Understanding mussels’ stickiness could lead to better surgical and underwater glues

A Liquid Lens Could Improve Cataract Treatment

New fuel-cell materials pave the way for practical hydrogen-powered car

Bio-inspired plastic and MS


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