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English Lab

About this Lab

The English lab is designed to support the Writing Lab, the communications courses HS791 and PS792, and the research discussions (graduate pro-seminars) at CPS. The idea is to have a place where students can go in case they need any language related help.

Rationale

Many of us come from non-English speaking backgrounds. Often we have very good ideas, and a lot of enthusiasm to do research, but are held back by our lack of confidence or experience with English. Given that globally, a large part of academic discourse is conducted in English, and books, conferences, journals and study programs all require an intimate level of familiarity and comfort with English, the English lab at CPS sets out to do exactly that course correction. To ensure that we have the linguistic tools that we need to translate our ideas and analyses into succinct and engaging writing, CPS wants to ensure that all students have a resource they can turn to when they need help, or just a second opinion.

Services Offered

Services Offered

This lab will have one or two in-house consultants who will be available for 15 minute, 30 minute or hour long slots. Students can book an appointment in advance for the following: 

  • Live editing sessions – Consultants will edit students’ reports, essays or theses in front of them, suggesting changes and explaining why those changes make the writing better. The focus will be not only on grammatical errors and sentence structures, but also on how to avoid plagiarism, how to do citations correctly, what level of detail to include in what kind of document, and the general style, tone, and tenor of academic writing. Students are welcome to bring their assignments here for a basic edit and detailed feedback. 
  • Interview or Presentation Practice – Students who are presenting at a conference, or attending an interview, or even participating in workshops or talks as an audience, can approach the lab if they need to brush up on their presentation skills. Here, the focus will be not only on pronouncing words correctly, but also developing an ability to describe one’s research in a brief but sharp manner.
  • Document Analysis – In case there are students who are having trouble either with the concepts in a particular assigned reading, or simply the complexity of the language, the lab will allow them to speak to someone who can either facilitate the solution of or solve their difficulties.

FTQs

Here are some FTQs (Frequently Thought – though not necessarily articulated – Questions)

But Why Do I Need An Editor?

Asking someone to help with editing a document does not imply that your language is bad. It just means that there is scope for improvement, and that is almost universally true. No matter who the writer, everyone gets their work edited before publishing. As a researcher, explaining your research and your analysis in simple and readable terms is part of your job. Even if you are confident of your language and writing, a fresh pair of eyes never hurts. 

Who is the consultant to check ME and judge my work?

The consultants have studied in an allied field, and have a rough idea of the work and research we do here at CPS. Their language proficiency and degrees have been thoroughly vetted. They have completed their own theses and reports and dissertations so they have both experience and an understanding of how academic writing works. Even if the consultant is not an expert in your subject area, it is quite likely that they have worked with and written stuff around your topic. Also, they don’t need technical expertise to check the smoothness and flow of your language. 

Can I get the resource person to check the writing I do for online portals of magazines, or graduate school or job applications, or other things that are personal in nature and that don’t necessarily have anything to do with CPS?

Sure, you are welcome to bring the essays and articles that you write for newspapers, journals or online magazines, your graduate school or job applications, as well as other things that are even remotely related to your work in policy or your professional growth. In fact, it is recommended that you bring in any work that you put out on news or analysis websites, as it is reflective not only of you personally but also of the Centre. 

However, do make sure that the writing that you are asking for to be edited has some professional relevance. If you are unsure, write us an email or come visit us at the CPS office, and we will tell you whether or not we are able to allocate resources to your need/document. 

Booking An Appointment

Please send an email to cps.iitb.website@gmail.com, or come to the CPS Office and book an appointment in person. This Lab is currently managed by our in-house consultant Anantika Mehra.