Women's Scientific Research Committee

Empowering Researchers & EFL Learners Through Digital Literacy

  The Scientific Research Committee - Women's section - organized a webinar entitled "Empowering Researchers & EFL Learners Through Digital Literacy" on March 31, 2021. The webinar was presented by Dr. Amal Metwally, the head of the scientific research committee, who indicated that the webinar is designed to explore the vital role of digital tools in empowering researchers and EFL learners.   Dr. Amal Metwally started her presentation with an introduction in which she differentiated between "digital natives" and "digital immigrants". Our students today are all "native speakers" of the digital language of computers and the Internet. Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have adopted aspects of the new technology are compared to them as "digital immigrants", she illustrated.   Dr. Amal Metwally asserted that digital natives may not be familiar with digital educational tools. For this reason, they need to be made aware of and taught about these educational tools since they are able to adopt new technologies into their learning quite easily.   "When teaching with digital tools and apps, you need to spend some time deciding which tools to use and how to use those tools to create autonomous, collaborative, innovative, authentic, and student-centered learning experiences", said Dr. Metwally.   "Digital Literacy" is often used as a synonym for digital or technical skills and competencies. However, comprehension of digital literacy should go beyond mere information technology skills, explained Dr. Metwally. She referred to two main types of definitions of digital literacy; conceptual definitions and standardized sets of operations intended to provide national and international normalizations of digital literacy.   Dr. Metwally referred to the definition by Richard Lanham (1995), who claims that "literacy" has extended its semantic reach from meaning "the ability to read and write" to now meaning "the ability to understand information however presented".   She also illustrated that in his book Digital Literacy (1997), Gilster identifies four key digital literacy competencies. These are: knowledge assembly, evaluating information content, searching the Internet, and navigating hypertext. Finally, she said that DL could be better defined as "The ability to use technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate information, and the possession of a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information".   Dr. Metwally has also investigated the four digital literacy types: language-based, information-based, connection-based, and (re-) design-based literacies. She also indicated that digital literacy comprises five major digital skills. These are photo-visual, reproduction, branching, information, and socio-emotional skills.   In the following section of the webinar, Dr. Amal Metwally introduced some significant technology integration frameworks. The importance of exploring technology integration models is that such models are used by educators to evaluate and inform how they teach with digital tools and apps.   "Our goal, as educators, is to teach students, not just by transferring knowledge to them, but by creating meaningful learning experiences that support their knowledge, understanding and skill development", she said. SAMR model (2011), which stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition, can be used as a guide for evaluating and selecting digital tools that will create meaningful teaching and learning experiences. Another model is the TPACK Framework (2006) which focuses on technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge, offers a productive approach to many of the dilemmas that teachers face in implementing educational technology in their classrooms. By differentiating among these three types of knowledge, the TPACK framework outlines how content and pedagogy must form the foundation for any effective educational technology integration. In exploring the role of digital literacy in empowering learners, Bloom's taxonomy can serve as a tool to help us select the most appropriate apps and tools based on the level and depth of cognitive knowledge students need to acquire. As we design instruction, we can consider how we might start with the higher-order thinking skills to encourage students to build their knowledge through learning experiences, explained Dr. Metwally.   She then answered the significant question, "How can digital literacy empower researchers & EFL learners?" She also reviewed some very helpful tools that can support researchers and EFL learners in their journey.   The webinar, which was very informative and highly engaging, was attended by the Dean's Assistant, Dr. Salma Alqahtani, staff members, MA & Ph.D. students, as well as some undergraduate students who showed their interest in digital tools. It is worth mentioning that the webinar was the last event organized by the scientific research committee in the second semester of this academic year 2020-2021. Date: 4/4/2021 Source: Saeeda Alfaifi, member of the Scientific Research Committee
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Your Guide for MA Studying

  The Scientific Research Committee organized a webinar titled "Your Guide for MA Studying" on 24 March 2021. The speakers of this webinar were three post-graduate students Ms. Warda Saad, Ms. Fatemah Abdulaziz, and Ms. Alaa Salem. The 1st speaker Ms. Warda Saad started the program by posing a question to the undergraduate students: What is your goal? Next, she explained the four goals listed by her, which are as follows:   Expand your knowledge of fields related to your field. Gain recognition. Start making connections. Take advantage of academic support.   After elaborating on the goals of the students, the speaker stated the students' and teachers' expectations in the MA program. In a nutshell, she urged the students to be prepared for more work, be more focused and motivated, cite every word they say or use in their work, and develop their habits. Towards the end of her speech, Ms. Warda advised the students to ask a lot of questions to their supervisors and professors. She also explained that any remarks from the professors/supervisors/teachers are never personal, and they should be aware of that.   The 2nd speaker Ms. Fatemah started her speech by explaining the meaning of scientific research. Next, she elaborated on the reading skill of researchers, which is essential. She focused on the skimming and scanning techniques used in reading, and she imparted the message to the students that to expand the knowledge of the researchers, there is no alternative to reading. She has urged the students to think critically and objectively and develop the skill of discussion as well.   In the next part of her speech, Ms. Fatemah highlighted the magic of the Internet. She has discussed how students can view YouTube as a Tutor and use Grammarly for checking Plagiarism. She concluded her speech on a motivating note by saying, "Celebrate small achievements on the way to your goal."   The 3rd speaker, Ms. Alaa Salem, started her speech by talking about Applied Linguistics research areas or where to go in research. She referred to a book titled Contemporary Applied Linguistics. She has pointed out various aspects such as globalization of language, the death of languages, language and economy, poverty and languages, religion, family and language, language and culture, translation and language, language and the brain, etc. While discussing language and economy, the speaker gave an example of a story of a Phillipino worker and showed how people are judged by how they speak a language. She pointed out that language becomes an indicator of the intelligence of a person.   Last of all, the speaker discussed language and the brain, and she said how Neurolinguistics, Speech Disorder, and Sign language could be sources for researchers.   All three speakers of the webinar were successful in enlightening the undergraduate students about the MA program. Date: 3/25/2021 Source: Ms. Shanjida Halim, Scientific Research Committee Member
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 7

  On March 3, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the seventh and last session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni.   "It is highly recommended the inclusion of a short concluding section", said Dr. Alqarni. Most readers can read the conclusion as well as the abstract as they summarize the main findings of the research paper in a non-technical language, as she further illustrated. Dr. Alqarni explained the main purpose of the conclusion: "To clearly signal to the reader that the writing is finished and to leave a clear impression that the purpose has been achieved". She also indicated that there are several features of the conclusion; among them are the provision of a summary for the whole paper and the explanation of the paper's main purpose. Accordingly, she emphasized in the "possible structures of the conclusion" that the conclusion should be concise and clear.   After that, Dr. Alqarni illustrated some common mistakes that the author should steer clear of in his/her conclusion. Additionally, she stated that the author should use basic synthesis of information in the conclusion. She also emphasized that he/she should restate results, highlight achievements, outline possible applications and implications of the work, and propose future work for third parties to carry out in his/her conclusion.   Following this section about the conclusion, Dr. Alqarni moved to discuss the abstract, which was the second part of this session. "The abstract is a very important paragraph at the beginning of your research paper'', said Dr. Alqarni. She pointed out that there are many features of the research paper abstracts. She also indicated that there are two main approaches to writing research paper abstracts: "a result-driven'' abstract and "a research paper summary abstract". Dr. Alqarni further illustrated the correct order of the research paper abstract. She finally displayed an example of an abstract from the article "Use of a Writing Websites by Pre-Masters Students on an English for Academic Purposes Course".   By the end of the seventh session of the academic writing series of webinars, attendees had the opportunity to ask their questions and share their suggestions and thoughts. Date: 3/5/2021 Source: Khairyah Al-Beshri - Scientific Research Committee
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 6

  On March 3, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the sixth session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni.   This webinar was designed to investigate the discussion of results in a research paper. In the discussions section, writers have greater freedom than in the introduction or in the literature review. "By the time readers reach the discussion, authors can assume a fair amount of shared knowledge", illustrated Dr. Nada at the beginning of the webinar. "They can assume that the reader has understood the purpose of the study, obtained a sense of the methodology, and followed along with the results".   The purpose of the discussion section is to show that the results lead clearly to the conclusion being drawn. This may include any limitations that might cause problems with any claims being made as well as any possible explanations for these results.   Dr. Alqarni asserted that discussion should be more than a summary. It should go beyond the results. It should be more theoretical, abstract, or general. It should be more integrated with the field, more connected to the real world, or more concerned with implications or application.   She further indicated that in the discussion section a researcher should step back and take a broad look at the findings of the study and the study as a whole. "The discussion section moves from the narrow specific focus of the research to a more general view. It must clearly show how the results lead to the conclusions being drawn and therefore how these conclusions should be understood and any possible explanations for these results", she said. This should include any limitations that might cause problems with any claims being made.   A discussion section should include the following elements: a reference to the main purpose of the study, a generalized review of the most important findings (i.e., summary of results), possible explanations for the findings in general, comparison with expected results and other studies, limitations of the overall study that restrict the extent to which the findings can be generalized, and the conclusion of the discussion section. In the discussion section, the researcher should not simply repeat all the details, attempt to cover all the information, or claim more than is reasonable or defensible, she illustrated.   Dr. Alqarni also referred to the qualifications and strength of claims in the discussion section and gave examples of using modal auxiliaries to weaken claims. She also highlighted the language used in the discussion section with examples.   The webinar, which was mainly delivered to MA and Ph.D. students and attended by staff members of the Faculty of Languages and Translation and other faculties, witnessed overwhelming participation.   The series of academic writing webinars — organized by the Scientific Research Committee — consisted of seven sessions that were held every Monday and Wednesday from February 10 to March 3, 2021, at 4:30 pm. Date: 3/4/2021 Source: Dr. Amal Metwally - Head of Scientific Research Committee
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 5

  On February 24, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the fifth session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni. This session was designed to explore reporting qualitative results of scientific research papers.   Dr. Nada Alqarni started the session by highlighting the purpose of qualitative reports. "It is designed to provide a rich and vivid description so that the reader can vicariously experience what it is like to be in the same situation as the research participants", said Dr. Alqarni. She also referred to the characteristics of qualitative reports. She indicated that these are such reports that have more freedom, diversity, and disagreement. There are no fixed formats to follow in writing such reports.   In addition, Dr. Alqarni described the structure of a qualitative report. Good qualitative reports display a smoothly flowing, natural rhythm of text and quotes. They provide some contextual information to the quotations concerning the social situation and the communicative context. This kind of report deals with data that are not easily reduced to numbers. "Data that are related to concepts, opinions, values and behaviors of people in social contexts", she illustrated. These could be transcripts of individual interviews and focus groups, field notes from observation of certain activities, copies of documents, or audio/video recordings. She further defined qualitative analysis as the range of processes and procedures whereby we move from qualitative data that have been collected into some form of explanation, understanding or interpretation of the people and situation being investigated. It is usually based on an interpretive philosophy. The idea is to examine the meaningful and symbolic content of qualitative data.   The approaches in the analysis are both deductive and inductive. The "deductive approach" is used when time and resources are limited. It is generally used when qualitative research is a smaller component of a larger quantitative study. On the other hand, the "inductive approach" is used when qualitative research is a major design of the inquiry. It is implemented using an emergent framework to group the data and then look for relationships.   Dr. Alqarni identified the steps for writing the report, the tools for helping the analytical process, and the variation in the format and language use.   The webinar, which was organized primarily for MA & Ph.D. students, witnessed resounding success and was attended by staff members and postgraduate students from different faculties of the university. It is worthwhile to mention that attendees who will attend at least five of the seven webinars on academic writing will get a certificate of attendance after the end of sessions. Date: 2/28/2021 Source: Dr. Amal Metwally - Head of Scientific Research Committee
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 4

  On February 22, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the fourth session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni.   The session, titled "Reporting Quantitative Results", started with a discussion on how to structure the results in a research paper. It stated the ways of reporting the two results – the quantitative and the qualitative. In this session, the focus was on quantitative results. An explanation was given on statistical concepts and analysis.   The next section described an acceptable results section and an unacceptable results section, showing that an acceptable results section should always tell a story, whereas an unacceptable results section gives a long and tedious analysis.   Dr. Alqarni also focused on how the results should be presented and interpreted. It was mentioned that an appropriate statistical program should be used. In this case, the software SPSS was introduced. The analysis should be completed using descriptive statistics, mean, median, standard deviation, frequencies, and proportions for the variables.   The next step discussed how the results should be presented. It was suggested to make use of sub-sections and sub-headings to organize the results for the readers. Then it was mentioned that there are various charts, graphs, and tables that can be used to support the results, but tables and graphs should be presented only when necessary.   Dr. Alqarni also focused on the common purposes of data along with comparing and evaluating different sets of data. Towards the end of the session, she also focused on what kind of language should be used for reporting results.   The session was attended by students and faculty members from the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs of the Faculty of Languages and Translation. Date: 2/24/2021 Source: Ms. Tanzina Halim - Member of the Scientific Research Committee
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 3

  On February 17, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the third session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni.   This webinar was devoted to exploring how researchers should write the methodology section in their research papers. The purpose of the methods section, said Dr. Alqarni, is to accurately and clearly describe the research design and the procedures undertaken to collect and analyze data and present the rationale for choosing each for the study. In addition, the methods section should explain in detail how a study was conducted so other researchers may be able to assess the merit of the research and even replicate the study themselves. This section should also highlight the unique features of a given study and show the reader that the research has been carried out appropriately and, therefore, the results can be believed.   Dr. Alqarni indicated that the methodology section has certain features. It explicitly describes the exact procedures and rationale when developing data-set, results, and conclusions in an empirical research study. It does not include much background knowledge; however, it should contain justifications, explanations, and examples.   "There are four key elements included in the methodology. These are research design, population sample and selection of participants, data collection procedures, and statistical treatment/planned data analysis or analytic procedures", said Dr. Alqarni. Dr. Alqarni explained the basic methodological concepts: the variables, reliability, validity, and bias and error. She also reviewed the study design, including a description of the study setting and population of interest as well as a description of the study's sample or units of evaluation.   Dr. Alqarni explained the data collection methods, including qualitative research, interviews, and observational studies. She then reviewed some examples clarifying the methods of data collection and the language tense and grammatical structures commonly used.   The webinar, tailored to MA & Ph.D. students, was also attended by staff members who all enriched the discussion. The participants were engaged in the discussion, and the webinar witnessed chat interaction.  Date: 2/21/2021 Source: Dr. Amal Metwally – Head of Scientific Research Committee
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 2

  On February 15, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the second session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni.   Dr. Alqarni started her speech by referring to a common mistake that the authors should steer clear of, which is to sprinkle references liberally around with insufficient thought as to how they fit into the theory and the theme. She explained that a good start would be to place the topic into a historical perspective and identify key landmark studies. Additionally, the authors could establish a context for their own interest and research and distinguish what has been done in order to identify a space for their work. Dr. Alqarni asserted that the literature review should indicate the core concepts, the variables, and the findings of the research paper. She then reviewed the steps researchers should follow in writing the review of the literature. First, they should find the information and studies that are relevant to their topic. Second, they should summarize these studies (organize and evaluate them), indicating who found out what, when, and how this developed the study of the topic. Finally, the researchers should finish with a conclusion, explaining the gaps in knowledge that they have identified and how their research will fill these gaps left by previous research.   Dr. Alqarni highlighted the significance of the works cited in a research paper. Researchers, she said, should apply a mental test every time a work is referred to or a quotation is included. This mental test consists of asking the questions if this reference adds to the development of the theory. How does it follow the thread of the research paper? And how does it relate to the research questions? Then the research should indicate the gap in the knowledge to be filled. Dr. Alqarni discusses the rules of citation tense. She illustrated that a move from past to present perfect and then to present indicates that the researchers reported are increasingly close to the writer in some way. She then reviewed the methods of giving a general panorama of past-to-present literature, reporting what specific authors have said, and highlighting the limitations of previous studies. Dr. Alqarni provided many valuable examples that clarified all the steps for writing the literature review effectively.   The webinar, which was very informative and highly interactive, was attended by MA & Ph.D. students and staff members who all indicated the significance of the webinar content. Date: 2/21/2021 Source: Dr. Amal Metwally – Head of Scientific Research Committee
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The Journey Just Begins: What To Do After Graduation

  On February 14, 2021, the Scientific Research Committee-Women’s Section hosted a webinar titled The Journey Just Begins: What to do After Graduation. It was presented by MA students Alaa Salem, Fatimah Abdulla, Warda Saad, and Rana Almutared, who have graduated and have been through the process of trying to find a job. The presentation was aimed at BA students who are about to graduate.   The presenters gave practical, concrete advice to students:   You cannot rely only on your good marks and a reputable degree to get a job, as there are many graduates looking for a job who have similar degree qualifications, and the competition is fierce. One strong recommendation was to do extra preparation after graduation, depending on the job type you are interested in. This could mean taking a post-degree exam such as IELTS, STEP, PGAT, Cognitive test, professional licensing, or other online courses.   The presenters also advised soon to be graduates to be involved in outside activities such as volunteer work or university club participation. This not only looks good on the CV, but the soft skills you learn from this kind of involvement is often what prospective employers are looking for and is asked about in interviews.   The students were counseled to attend conferences and forums, training programs, and use social media to make themselves visible and to social network. They were advised to be proactive about finding a job: do not just rely on advertisements or unemployment offices to know about employment opportunities, as these are well used by many other applicants and the competition is high for these jobs. Students need to be enterprising in getting themselves noticed. One effective way of getting noticed is sending out letters of inquiry to contact suitable companies.   The presentation was able to impart very practical advice while making it clear that finding a job is hard work. It requires effort, patience, confidence, and perseverance. Yet, the participants came away with a sense of hope, encouragement, and inspiration. Date: 2/16/2021 Source: Dr. Sheila Simpkins, Member of the Scientific Research Committee
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Academic Writing Webinar: Session 1

  On February 10, 2021, the Women's Scientific Research Committee of the Bachelor of Arts in English program organized the first session of webinars on academic writing by Dr. Nada Alqarni.   "Understanding your writing strategies is important in becoming a confident writer", said Dr. Alqarni. Academic writing is a product of many considerations (i.e., audience, purpose, consideration, style, flow, and presentation), as she further illustrated. Dr. Alqarni explained the significance of employing hedging, whose job is to make things fuzzier, implying that the writer is less than fully committed to the certainty of the referential information given. She further illustrated that hedging can be expressed through the use of a variety of structures. Additionally, she explained when to use hedges, emphasizing that their appropriate use is central to developing an academic, communicative competence as it assists the writers in establishing "a relationship with the reader and with the authorities in the field".   Following this introductory section, Dr. Alqarni moved to explain the parts of the academic research paper. The introduction, the purpose of the introduction, and common mistakes that the authors should steer clear of in writing the introduction, as well as the main parts in the introduction, were the main ideas covered in the second section. She emphasized that the author should establish a research territory, identify a niche indicating the gap in the previous research by raising a question about it, and occupy the niche stating the purpose of the present research. Hence, in the introduction, authors should establish why the topic is important, outline the past-present history of the study of the topic, indicate the gap in knowledge and possible limitations, state the aim of the paper and its contribution, explain the key terminology in the field of the study and how the terminology and acronyms are used in the paper and indicate the structure of the paper.   The webinar, which was mainly delivered to MA and Ph.D. students, and attended by the vice dean Dr. Salma Alqahtani and staff members at the faculty of languages and translation, included practice on the three main parts of an introduction (i.e., the general research area, the gap in the literature and the purpose of the research paper).   The series of academic writing webinars, which are organized by the Scientific Research Committee, consists of seven sessions on Mondays & Wednesdays, February 10, 2021, to March 3, 2021, at 4:30 pm. Date: 2/14/2021 Source: Dr. Amal Metwally – Head of Scientific Research Committee
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