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:
- SEARCH: Electronic Databases
- Additional Journal Search Resources from our #AcWriGroup
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:
- 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.
- SHARE YOUR PROGRESS via the #AcWriSummer 2016 Accountability Spreadsheet
- 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.