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Academic Skills Tutorial



In the course ‘Academic Skills Tutorial’ students embark on their academic education. Three important skills in particular will be addressed: writing an article, giving a presentation, and setting up an experiment. During the course considerable attention will be paid to argumentation, correct use of language, library use, correct referencing and compiling a bibliography. The ethical aspects of conducting research will also be addressed in various contexts.

Besides academic training the Tutorial has a second objective: to offer support to students in making sufficient study progress. This goal is closely connected to the ‘binding study advice’ (BSA). The BSA is a recommendation given to students, at the end of the first and second year, with regard to the continuation of their study. For more information on the BSA, and the steps taken to support students, see the psychology website.

For the Academic Skills Tutorial students are also required to take part in psychological experiments for a minimum of 8 hours in order to gain hands-on experience as a participant in psychological research.

Course objectives

The aim of the Tutorial is to train students in three academic skills: writing a scientific literature review, giving a scientific presentation, and writing a research proposal. Practical skills which will be developed are:

  1. use of ICT for scientific study purposes (Web of Science, library facilities);
    1. studying and interpreting scientific texts and articles;
    2. paraphrasing and summarising relevant insights from these texts;
    3. constructing an argument (logical reasoning);
    4. formulating a viable research question;
    5. conducting a literature review using recent scientific publications to answer the research question;
    6. referencing publications in the correct manner (APA guidelines);
    7. giving a presentation about the literature review in the article;
    8. setting up a design for experimental research, and a proposal for data analysis (the latter only for full-time students);
    9. application of ethical guidelines in designing psychological research;
    10. correct use of language;
    11. providing and dealing with constructive feedback.


The timetable will be available at the beginning of September (under the tab More info).


At the start of the degree programme students will be assigned to a tutorial group.

Mode of instruction

The Academic Skills Tutorial comprises of an introductory interview at the start of the academic year, thirteen group meetings and eight hours participation in psychological experiments. Tutorial groups will consist of twelve students, with the instructor acting as both tutor and mentor. When skills are being practised the instructors’ role is that of a tutor: they explain, give feedback on assignments, check, assess, and sanction. In their mentoring role the instructors guide, advice, counsel, and help with encountered problems.
In the first semester – Block 1 – seven group sessions will be held in order to train students in the skills required for ‘writing a short article’ (course objectives 1 – 7, 10-12). In the second semester three meetings will be devoted to ‘giving a presentation’ (Block 2, course objectives 4, 8, 11 & 12), and another three meetings concern ‘setting up an experiment’ (Block 3, course objectives 2-5, 7, 9-12).

Besides group sessions there will also be individual meetings between tutor and student, like the introductory interview at the start of the academic year. All students may request a meeting with the tutor during the course of the academic year, for example to talk about matters that hinder their study. Tutors may also take the initiative to set up additional meetings with a student.
Before each group session students are required to work on an assignment and hand this in to the tutor. The tutor will correct the work before the group session in question, so that it can be discussed during the meeting.


  • Attendance of all meetings is mandatory. Absences due to exceptional personal circumstances must always be communicated (in advance) to the tutor, and be compensated for by additional assignments, to be included in the calculation of the final grade.

  • All assignments and partial assignments must be completed and handed in. The tutor will correct the work and give an individual assessment. Students will receive a grade for each block. Passing grades are required for all three course blocks. This means that a fail grade for one block cannot compensated for by the grades for the other blocks.

  • The final grade for the Tutorial is the average of the grades for the three blocks.

  • In addition, each student will be required to spend 8 hours (= 16 participant-credits) as a participant in the current research programmes of the Institute of Psychology. Enrolment and registration will take place via Sona.

A passing grade for the Academic Skills Tutorial will result in five ECs. These ECs will be awarded together at the end of the year, after students have finished the third course block and have met the requirements for participation in experiments of the current research programmes.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has implemented the Ephorus system, for use by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud.


Additional information about the course is available on Blackboard.


Reader Academic Skills Tutorial 2013-2014. It contains the assignments students will be required to do, along with the necessary background information. Students may order the syllabus via Readeronline.


For course content:

For organisational matters

  • Judith de Vries
    Room 2A57
    Tel: 071-5271679