#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)


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


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

#phdchat, PhD

My #Dissertation Defense

This Thursday two epic events kick off:

  1. The 2014 World Cup (3 pm CT)
  2. My FINAL Dissertation Defense (2:30 pm CT)

Conveniently, I found this @PhDComics cartoon (circa 2010) shared in my network:

World cup soccer and PhD

c/o PhD Comics: World Cup vs. PhD

Here is my dissertation title and abstract:

Pasquini, Laura A. Organizational Identity and Community Values: Determining Meaning in Post-Secondary Education Social Media Guideline and Policy Documents. Dissertation Abstract, Doctor of Philosophy (Applied Technology and Performance Improvement), August 2014.

With the increasing use of social media by students, researchers, administrative staff, and faculty in post-secondary education (PSE), a number of institutions have developed guideline and policy documents to set standards for use. Social media platforms and applications have the potential to increase communication channels, support learning, enhance scholarship, and encourage community engagement in higher education. As social media implementation and administration has developed in the PSE sector, there has been minimal assessment of the substance of social media guideline and policy documents (McNeil, 2012).

The first objective of this research study was to examine an accessible, online database (corpus) comprised of 24, 243 atomic social media guideline and policy text documents from 250 PSE institutions representing 10 countries to identify central attributes. To determine text meaning from topic extraction, a rotated latent semantic analysis (rLSA) method was applied (Evangelopoulos & Polyakov, 2014). The second objective of this investigation was to determine if the distribution of topics analyze in the corpus differ by PSE institution geographic location. To analyze the diverging topics, the researcher utilized an iterative consensus-building algorithm (Winson-Geideman & Evangelopoulos, 2013).

Through the maximum term frequencies, LSA determined a rotated 36-factor solution that identified common attributes and topics shared among the 24,243 social media guideline and policy atomic documents. This initial finding produced a list of 36 universal topics discussed in social media guidelines and policies across all 250 PSE institutions from 10 countries. Continually, the applied chi-squared tests, that measured expected and observed document term counts, identified distribution differences for the content related factors between US and Non-US PSE institutions.

This investigation offered a concrete analysis for unstructured text data dealing with of social media guidance. This resulted in a comprehensive list of recommendations for developing social media guidelines and policies, and a database of social media guideline and policy documents for the PSE sector and other related organizations that guide social media use and implementation.

Additionally, this research stimulated important theoretical development for how organizations socially construct a semantic structure within a community of practice (Wenger, 1998). By assessing the community of practice, comprised of PSE 250 institutions that direct social media use, a corpus of documents created unstructured data to evaluate the community. The spontaneous participation and reification process of the social media guideline and policy document database reaffirmed that a corpus-creating community of practice can instinctively form a knowledge-sharing organization that provides meaning, values, and identity. These findings should stimulate further research contributions, and provide practitioners and scholars with tools to measure, understand, and assess semantic space for artifacts developed within a community of practice in other industries, organizations, or distributed associations.


My doctoral dissertation committee from the University of North Texas:

Co-Major Professors:

  • Dr. Jeff M. Allen – Department of Learning Technologies, College of Information
  • Dr. Nicholas Evangelopoulos – Department of Information Technology & Decision Sciences, College of Business

Committee Member:

  • Dr. Kim Nimon – Department of Learning Technologies, College of Information

Minor Professor:

  • Dr. Mark Davis – Department of Management, College of Business

Updates to my dissertation research methods, social media guideline and policy document database, and more can be found on my dissertation website:


If you are interested in attending my dissertation defense, my meeting is scheduled:

Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm at Discovery Park, Department of Learning Technologies (Room G150)

Side note: I really hope a certain football fan I know attends my defense. I am sorry these two events were timed so close together. 🙂


McNeill, T. (2012). ‘‘Don’t affect the share price’’: social media policy in higher education as reputation management. Research in Learning Technology, 20.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Winson-Geideman, K., & Evangelopoulos, N. (2013). Topics in Real Estate Research, 1973-2010: A Latent Semantic Analysis. Journal of Real Estate Literature21(1), 59-76.

Evangelopoulos, N., & Polyakov, S. (2014). Indexing with rotated latent semantic dimensions. Manuscript submitted for publication.