#AcWri, #AcWriMo, #AcWriSummer, #HEdigID, Higher Education, highered

#HEdigID Chat No. 5: Renew, Refresh, Reboot, Restart Your Academic Writing with Janet Salmons (@einterview) #AcWri

Hello Summer! This year, I am committing to my own projects, design, developments, and ACADEMIC WRITING (#AcWri)! That’s right. I’ve opted to NOT instruct any courses during the summer term. This is a first since I started my faculty career (Fall 2014). This is also an intentional choice. Things are building up and projects need to be completed. I decided this summer will be dedicated to completing ALL THE THINGS! This includes research projects in-progress (data collection, cleaning, coding, and analysis) and getting these to the right publication outlets and avenues.

So based on these goals and writing objectives, I’m thrilled to kick off this summer with a timely Higher Ed Digital Identity (#HEdigID) Chat:

#HEdigID Chat TOPIC: Renew, Refresh, Reboot, Restart Your Academic Writing

This Friday, June 8th the #HEdigID chat will be moderated (MOD) by Janet Salmons (@einterview) to sort out these forgotten or neglected academic writing (#AcWri) projects. This ALL DAY conversation will be hosted on Twitter with the hashtag: #HEdigID and via this OPEN Google doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid5

Do you have goals to get working on a writing project this summer? Are you changing your career goals, and this requires getting a few publications out the door? OR, if you have a writing project you’ve pushed to the side or you have neglected — then this #HEdigID chat is FOR YOU (and me).

“Academic writing includes more moving parts than other types, meaning we have more excuses for setting aside an unfinished piece of work.” ~ Janet Salmons

With a number of things to consider (e.g. updates to your literature review, methods for analysis, or even outlets to publish), you might just need this #HEdigID chat to get you to return to your own writing piece. Whether you are feeling excited or overwhelmed with your own academic writing, come join the online discussion to share what YOU hope to accomplish for your summer writing goals.

Here are the QUESTIONS you will see appear on Twitter and in the Google doc for your responses TODAY (June 8th) for this #HEdigID ALL-DAY digital chat:

  1. Please introduce yourself. Feel free to include: Where are you located? Where you work and/or your role? What you’re writing and working on these days? AND/OR Tell us your favorite place to write! #AcWri #AcWriChat
  2. Tell us about a writing project that you have left behind, let go, or let die. How long ago? What got in the way or prevented you from finishing this #AcWri project?
  3. Describe what kind of writing project are you trying to revive. What is this #AcWri project? Thesis/dissertation? Article? Chapter or book? Report or other professional writing? Please share!
  4. Is it time to revive this writing project? Reflect on your #AcWri purpose, in the context of your goals, do they match? E.g. Should this journal article now be a white paper report and/or blog post? Have you thought differently about a book chapter or book idea format?
  5. Let’s talk about updating this writing project: Is your literature review AND/OR your data out of date? What writing tasks, obstacles, and research will you need to work on to UPDATE this #AcWri piece?
  6. Does your writing PRACTICE or TOOLS need some updating to help you be productive with your project? What areas of writing practice support do you need? What #AcWri suggestions do you have for writers to be effective with their writing process?How will you commit to rebooting this academic writing project? What strategies and ideas do you have to be accountable to this #AcWri plan? Please share SUGGESTIONS and IDEAS for staying on track with this writing project revival!
  7. Final Thought (FT): What is one new SPARK or REASON you are inspired you to return to this academic writing project? What will drive you to prioritize this #AcWri project and commit to finishing it this time?

Converse with us? Join in discuss these questions and more! How to participate:

  • Tweet your response with the hashtag: #HEdigID

  • Share more in this Google Doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid5

  • Use these questions to draft your own personal reflection and response (e.g. blog post, video, audio, drawing or offline discussion)

  • Lurk and learn!

 

Update June 12, 2018:

ARCHIVE of the Tweets from this #HEdigID Chat

Follow-up blog post from the #HEdigID MOD, @einterivew: Keeping Writing Projects Alive

#AcWri, #AcWriSummer

My Lessons Learned from #AcWriSummer 2016

Earlier this summer, I proposed to form a “writing posse” that would encourage support and accountability…and keep my own writing progress in check. Little did I know how important this would be! I am SO very grateful for my scholarly peers who accepted this team challenge, lCatherineCaroline & Patrice. These colleagues were also invested in working on a specific writing project, and they were all willing to join me on this 8-week experiment we’ve called #AcWriSummer 2016.

acwrisummer16

We started using chapters of the book, Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks, to guide our writing process; however, we ended up branching out to figure out what we could accomplish or support over the summer.  I sincerely thank these ladies for their willingness to contribute in our online weekly meetings, tweets for motivation/support, and general advice for editing of manuscripts and resources to develop our academic writing practice.

Here’s what I have learned from #AcWriSummer 2016:

  • Accountability for academic writing is good thing – regular, structured check-ins or checkpoints for the writing process as you draft a manuscript
  • Apparently, holidays take away from my writing habit (I stopped tracking my writing time/progress after Canada Day)
  • Creating a habit of writing is key – always schedule writing chunks early & often on your calendar (block out time)!
  • Laying the foundation of a manuscript helps your writing — outline your paper structure 
  • Focusing and targeting your manuscript for the publication outlet you want is critical! Wr
  • Drafting a solid abstract that will get read and cited — keep in mind this might be all other scholars read and use, so be explicit about your study & findings here
  • Research the empirical literature WELL!  (see resources below or read my #AcWriSummer Week 3 post)
  • What I write is not always what others read — be clear in your arguments and findings
  • Attack & conquer editing with peers to tighten drafts – Google docs are great for a 1st review of a draft
  • Consider what your writing process is and if it needs to be changed (or is it working)
  • Ask a colleague/peer for help if and when you get stuck on something in your writing
  • Solicit for ideas for elements of how to improve and enhance your manuscript from an outside perspective
  • Helpful reads and tips for writing
  • Collaborative team attacks for editing sections of a manuscript
  • Reminders incremental academic writing is still progress
  • Social experience with both peer learning and care – academic writing does not have to be a solo endeavor
  • Sharing of resources, reads, and tips to support writing (see below); however, you really need to figure out what will work best for YOU in your academic writing practice.

Interested in supporting your own #acwri practice? Here are a few great resources our #AcWriSummer group curated during the last couple of months:

Now that our “formal” #AcWriSummer 2016 curriculum is over, it is time to get these drafts finished.  I will need some #ShutUpAndWrite time before I can properly enjoy any holiday time that remains in August. At least I have my motivation for getting my #acrwisummer projects done. Happy writing, y’all!

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Image c/o PhD Comics

#AcWri, #AcWriSummer

#AcWriSummer Week 3: Arguments and Reviewing the Literature

It’s week 3 of writing and accountability. This week and next, we’ve bumped up our #AcWriSummer accountability group meeting to Tuesdays (6/21 and 6/21). With my #acwri co-conspirators — Patrice, CatherineCaroline, & Elvira —  are continuing to work through the Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks book. This week we focused on directing our manuscripts we are working on and consider how to read/reflect on the relevant literature. Here are some highlights for what we will be discussing this week:

 Advancing Your Argument (Week 3)

This chapter details a number of reasons why articles are rejected, specifically around an article argument being too narrow, too broad, off topic, too defensive, not sufficiently original, poor structure, not significant, theoretically or methodologically flawed, and too many misspellings and/or grammatical errors. It is important to review the direction of your paper as you prepare your manuscript for journal publication. Belcher (2009) encourages readers to identify if the current manuscript has problems and to consider how to revise the following issues:

  • Focus: contextualization, audience aim, proper length, and giving pertinent examples related to the argument;
  • Topic appropriate for journal selected: subject matter, methods, scope, etc. ;
  • Scholarliness: meticulous about documentation, reference multiple sources, cite recent and relevant literature, reference debates in the field, use discipline-related expertise, provide a critical framework and evidence;
  • Defensiveness: avoid extensive quotations, excessive documenting, monotonous accounts of others work, jargon, and dogmatism;
  • Originality: read literature in your field, focus on what’s new, argue what is, claim your ideas, and develop a voice for your research;
  • Structure: Present your structure clearly, stick to your point, delete the redundant or irrelevant, link article evidence to support argument, and state findings at the beginning of the article;
  • Problems with Significance: did you articulate how this research fills a gap or adds to the topic, and did you target this manuscript for the appropriate journal;
  • Theory or Method Issues: have your work peer reviewed for feedback, detail and describe your methods, avoid imbalance in writing, and review the analysis of your data or interpretations
  • Spelling and Grammar: improve your paper for these issues, run a spelling and grammar check, ask a peer for review before submission, get help in a writing group, hire an editor, and follow the submission’s guidelines for author.

Homework: Find an Article (or a few) to Model Your Article’s Argument
Find “model” articles for your manuscript that might be:

  • part of your literature review search
  • from the target journal(s) you selected (from Week 4)
  • outside your discipline or topic area
  • the way you will structure the presentation of your article’s argument

BONUS WORK: Abstract Revisions: Abstract examples on pp. 86-87 will help you in revising of your  abstract; consider how you to present  entire topic and findings in short form.

Reviewing the Related Literature (Week 5)

This chapter shared strategies for reading literature directed towards your articles focus. I like how it suggested setting up your electronic software or platforms first. This is critical — here are a few I have used or currently use myself with a quick “about” the platform:

references_phdcomics

I really appreciated Belcher’s (2009) suggestions on refining and targeting the literature review by reading materials that specifically contribute to the central argument of your manuscript. Here are a few categories to limit how you collect relevant literature:

  • Set a time limit:  i.e. read nothing written over 10 years ago or five or two depending on your field of scholarship/topic of research
  • Language: read articles in English or designated other languages
  • Questionable or not recommended publishing outlets e.g. trade journals, non-peer reviewed, some conference proceedings not always suitable (find a journal publication)
  • Journal outside your discipline (if not interdisciplinary work)
  • Certain kinds of authors (established vs. early career?)
  • Different geographical areas (by author country of origin)
  • Different time periods (related to your genre — this might apply to humanities more)
  • Different kinds of experiments (by your methods of study/research)
  • Different kinds of participants (by research sample type, size, etc)
  • Different variables (e.g. gender, age, etc.)
  • Without your keywords in the title or abstract – focus your search for these items
  • Non-electronic formats – if you can’t access the research from home/library resources

Homework: Share How You Review Literature
-Explain methods of how you search, find, read, review, and select your literature
-Outline strategies for effective ways to approach this part of the research process

Here are a few of my suggestions and approaches for how I read & review literature:

  • Make reading/review social – find others to collaborate and add them into your Mendeley (or another software program) group to add and review publications
  • Scopus Search (ALL.THE.PUBS) and Track: I record the different search strings, track what I find, and set an alert to receive any updates — this is relevant in my field as technology, methods, and research continue to build. Here’s a screenshot of one of recent Google spreadsheets for search with a colleague: Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 1.15.32 PM
  • Search for Publications Beyond Reach: articles I don’t have access to in my own library databases I tweet #iCanHazPDF [in action #icanhazpdf], ask a friend on Twitter, or email the author
  • Take fewer notes: Tag articles in the software,  group articles into specific folders, skim abstracts to code/organize, and identify literature for easy recall and use later
  • Don’t wait to write: Create annotations about publications as you would write it
  • Create an annotated bib for focused/small literature collections: include the APA 6th edition citation + a quick line or two making note about the study, methods, findings + personal thoughts on articles/methods
  • Google Scholar search the “Cited by ###” section of the site: this is to identify other relevant paper on topic or learn more about this research thread, i.e. a discovery search for missing literature
  •  Use Backward & forward referencing search method: for collecting and reviewing publications to be inclusive of empirical literature
  • Concept mapping the Literature: Check out the great post from Pat Thomson on “spaces between the literature” for reviewing research; a.k.a. bushwhacking
  • Key Searching Suggestions from Doing a Literature Review (Hart, 1998) was blogged about in my Book Review post.

Here’s our continued #AcWriSummer 2016 Plan schedule for the remaining 5 weeks:

  • 27th June WEEK 4: Chapter 6:  Strengthen structure =>Article outline (Meeting Tuesday, June 28th)
  • 4th July WEEK 5: Chapter 7 & 8:Presenting evidence & Opening/Concluding =>Draft article (Meeting Friday, July 8th)
  • 11th July WEEK 6: Chapter 9 & 10: Give/get/use feedback & Edit sentences => Give feedback on manuscripts (Meeting Friday, July 15th)
  • 18th July WEEK 7: Chap 11 & 12 (Wrapping up & Sending article!) => Final article (Meeting Friday, July 22nd)
  • 25th July WEEK 8: X & Other (Meeting Friday, July 29th)

If you’re following along or want to join, we’ll be meeting here from 9-10 am CT June 21st:

References:

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination. Sage.

#AcWri, #AcWriMo, #AcWriSummer

#AcWriSummer: Week 2 – Abstract Writing & Selecting a Journal

Last week, I shared how we were setting up an #AcWriSummer accountability group. Well, it happened. Thanks to Patrice, Catherine, & Caroline who are joining me on this 8-week #AcWri adventure as we go through the workbook created by Wendy Laura Belcher: Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks. Also, much thanks to Wendy, who shared her syllabi, as we work through our “short course” this summer. Here’s what our #AcWriSummer 2016 Plan looks like for the next few weeks:

  • 6th June WEEK 1: Chapter 1: Designing your plan for writing => Ideas for article; barriers; planning this short course
  • 13th June WEEK 2: Chapter 2 & 4: Abstract writing & Selecting a Journal
  • 20th June WEEK 3: Chapter 5: Reviewing the literature => (Reflections on) Lit review
  • 27th June WEEK 4: Chapter 3 & 6: Advancing argument & Strengthen structure => Article outline
  • 4th July WEEK 5: Chapter 7 & 8:Presenting evidence & Opening/Concluding => Draft article
  • 11th July WEEK 6: Chapter 9 & 10: Give/get/use feedback & Edit sentences => Give feedback on manuscripts
  • 18th July WEEK 7: Chap 11 & 12 (Wrapping up & Sending article!) => Final article
  • 25th July WEEK 8: X & Other (wrap up)

journal-1428424_1280

Items we’ll be working on this week are from Chapter (or Week) 2 and 4, which includes creating an abstract and reviewing potential journal publication outlets. We will be discussing these items on Friday (6/17) morning from 9-10 am CT (see more details about our online, synchronous meetings at the end of this post).

Week 2: Starting Your Article: The Abstract

“One of the best ways to get started on a revision of your journal article is to write and abstract – something that describes your article’s topics and argument” (Belcher, 2009, p. 54).

Why is writing an abstract so important?

  • Solving problems – can you clarify your own writing for what your manuscript is about? If not you might need more focus.
  • Connecting with editors (potential journal outlets) – are you able to explain your manuscript to a potential editor to determine fit with a journal?
  • Getting found – Can you explain and outline your research so it is easily found by other scholars? Think beyond title – abstract, keywords, etc.
  • Getting read – Can you introduce your article well enough that scholars will download and read your full article?
  • Getting cited – Would scholars be able to cite you on reading only your abstract? Do you share what the research is about in a succinct way?

The ‘Ingredients of a Good Abstract: Social Science” as suggested by Belcher (2009, p. 55) would answer the following questions:

  • Why did you start this research/project? (gap in literature, debate, or social issue?)
  • What is the project/research about? (topic of the article)
  • How did you conduct the research? (methodology)
  • What are your findings?  
  • What conclusions are formed from the study? (your argument)
  • What are your recommendations? (optional)

 

Chapter 4: Selecting a Journal: Searching & Evaluating

We bumped up Chapter (Week) 4 to this week, as we think it is important to also have an idea of how to formulate your manuscript based on the publication outlet you are aiming for. In this section of the workbook, Belcher offers a number of questions and resources to consider when searching and evaluating journal outlets.

If you have not already spoken to your advisor, colleagues, or peers about potential journal outlets in your discipline or for your research — you should! NOW! We will be discussing our target journals we have searched and evaluated during this week’s #AcWriSummer meeting. Other suggestions from Belcher (2009) include an old-fashioned shelf/online search, reviewing your citations to see where this research was published, identifying where your discipline publishes through your professional/academic associations and searching journal/electronic databases.

Here are a few search resources for finding journal outlets for publishing:

Let us know if you have other suggestions for searching for journals that you like or use – thanks!

Evaluating Academic Journals

Belcher (2009) offers questions to ask as you review these journal options for your own manuscript. I might suggest keeping the above journal and/or database information available AND be sure to DOWNLOAD the Scopus List [in Excel format] as it will also answer these questions when reviewing potential journals:

    • Is the journal peer reviewed?
    • Is the journal in the recommend publishing outlet category?
    • Does the journal have a solid reputation?
    • Does the journal have a reputable publisher?
    • Has the journal been around for a while?
    • Is the journal carefully produced?
    • Does the journal come out on time?
    • Are the authors published in its pages diverse?
    • Does the journal publish more than 5 or 6 articles a year?
    • Is the journal online or indexed electronically and where?
    • Does it take a long time to get published once you submit your manuscript?
    • Is the journal going through a transition?
    • Who reads the journal?
    • Does the journal have an upcoming theme or special issue on your topic?
    • Does the journal have word or page length limits you can meet?
    • Does the style of your article match the journal’s style?
    • Do you know any of the journal’s editors?
    • How does the journal require articles be submitted?

It was great to learn that Wendy is currently updating her book to include the importance of READING relevant journal articles. In listening to the 1st Episode of Research in Action, Wendy shared how more writers should be reading relevant journals. This is true. If you are not reading at least one article a week (or more), then you are not supporting your academic writing craft. Reading relevant journal articles, specifically those in a journal where you would like to target your manuscript allow you to target your paper by:

  • Citing related articles from the journal you select
  • Finding a model article to outline your manuscript to follow preferred style/format
  • Reading and knowing the direction, focus, scope, etc. of the journal
  • Determining articles published in the journal relevant to your topic, methods, etc.
  • Identifying the length of the articles and the number of references
  • Outlining key components in accepted articles published in that journal outlet 

This is not ALL there is in these workbook chapters for Week’s 2 and 4; however I thought a few of these resources might be helpful if you need to prepare your own abstract and you invested in locating the appropriate academic journal outlet for your manuscript.

Interested in Joining Us for our #AcWriSummer 2016 short course? Here are a few things to get involved in our academic writing group:

  1.  COMMIT to the #acwri process EVERY WEEK. This means following the workbook curriculum, check in during our weekly meetings, and following through with goals and objectives set each week for your writing process.
  2. SHARE YOUR PROGRESS via the #AcWriSummer 2016 Accountability Spreadsheet
  3. MEET EACH FRIDAY  (in June and July) from 9-10 am CT via the GoToMeeting link to “check in” and work through the chapter(s) each week:
  • #AcWri Summer Accountability Group 2016
  • Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/648338213
  • You can also dial in using your phone: United States +1 (408) 650-3123; Access Code: 648-338-213

Reference:

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.