Demonstrating a contribution – webinar by Dr Nathan Crilly, University of Cambridge, invited speaker at Engineering Systems Design Research Seminar Series

Thursday 15 Oct 20


Anja Maier
Professor, Deputy Head of Division, Head of Section
DTU Management
+45 45 25 60 45

Webinar title: Demonstrating a contribution

Date: 15.10.2020


Speaker: Dr Nathan Crilly, University of Cambridge


Abstract: Whether writing a journal article, a conference paper or a dissertation, one of the requirements is often that these research reports demonstrate 'a contribution to knowledge’. Unfortunately, many reports fail to satisfy that requirement. After thousands of words or hundreds of pages, the reader might still not know what contribution is being made, or even if there is one. I'll discuss what a contribution is, how it's demonstrated and how each of the conventional report sections relate to it. By focussing on the overall structure of the report, I'll emphasise the distinct function of each section and how those sections relate to each other. Although focussing on structural issues, I'll also get into the details of the types of statements that are required in each section for those sections to function properly (but I won't be discussing technicalities such as grammar, graphs, captions, referencing styles, etc.). In considering all this, I'll draw on my own experience of writing, supervising, reviewing and examining research reports, primarily in the form of journal articles. I'll also draw on the experiences of others who I've spoken to over the years, including authors, editors, supervisors and examiners.


Bio: Nathan Crilly is a Reader in Engineering Design at the University of Cambridge. His research interests are in the areas of design, creativity and communication. He employs an interdisciplinary approach to studying how artefacts (e.g. products, systems or services) are developed, the properties they exhibit and the ways in which people respond to them.


More information:

Dr Nathan Crilly, Engineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge:

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