Resources for Students

Hints for effective group work:

  • Sit down as a group and formulate group rules. This makes expectations explicit rather than leaving them unsaid. It is these undeclared expectations that can get the group into trouble. The rules themselves can be used as a tool to get things "back on track" if that becomes necessary.
  • It can be useful to assign generic roles to individuals within the group. These could include: group manager; group critic (devil's advocate), group recorder (for when you meet), meeting convener/telephoner and so on. What this does is legitimize or give authority to an individual to carry out a task on behalf of the whole group. This can be useful if there is something unpleasant that really should be said; it takes away the personal nature of the information; the person speaks dispassionately on behalf of the whole.

  • The rules do allow you to keep track of whether the whole group is living up to the original expectations.

  • When it is time to conduct the peer evaluation, the group rules will allow you to measure each other's performance in a slightly more objective way.

  • Develop a projected timeline and try to stick to it.

  • Try to analyze your group members in terms of strengths, weaknesses and individual work styles and use these differences to advantage and not allow them to become destructive.

  • Incorporate social aspects (meals, refreshments etc.) into your group meetings.

  • Share information freely and quickly. You may wish to assign this task to one group member.

Please let your instructor know sooner rather than later if you experience difficulty in contacting any members of your group.

  • Every poster should contain the following info:

    Title, author(s), affiliation of author(s)
    Introduction
    Experimental
    Results
    Discussion
    Conclusion
    References

  • Reading the poster, the reader should never get lost because critical information is missing

  • Find a balance between information conveyed by figures/table/schemes and information conveyed by text

  • Figures/tables: limit the number of both and use, but don't overuse colour in the figures (i.e. don't use too many) to make the poster attractive; use colours that are appealing; Figures/tables/schemes should be self explanatory with their captions

  • Letters of the text should be one centimetre large and printed in bold so one can comfortably stand two metres from the poster and still read it

  • Introduction should contain sufficient background information to understand the poster

  • Experimental: use minimum amount of text to describe how the data were generated (e.g. show a picture of analytical instrument that was used to generate data)

  • Results: show a graphic plot (figure) of a representative result

  • Discussion should be brief; mention only a few major points

  • Conclusion: convey the take home message; use bullets if there is more than one take home message

More information on making posters can be found here.

Examples of proper referencing:

View the university's library resources.