#AcWri, #AcWriMo

Still Writing and Working On My Practice

In reading Dani Shapiro’s book, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of Creative Life, she shares different segments of advice for her own creative writing practice. Much of this book is focused on her journey and experience of her own writing crafts, with anecdotes for what she has learned in the process of her creative work. Although this was not intended for academic writing practice, I think Shapiro shares helpful suggestions for academic writers and early career scholars to borrow as they develop their own writing process. It is through the beginnings, middles, and ends of writing, where some of the writing advice shares reflections and advice on writing during the struggle and flow times.

Here are a few pieces of advice from Shapiro (2013) that resonated with me the most, as I thought about how I continue to develop my own writing practice:

  • Being Present: “Drop down, drop in” (p. 59). Being concentrated and directed in your writing process is a critical way to hone the craft of academic scholarship. Be focused on a single task when your are writing. Make this your primary and only priority. Consider ways to engross yourself in your writing work or project at hand. What ways do you prepare yourself to be present in your writing? How are you dropping into your writing to be in it each day?
  • Rhythm: “…3 pages a day, 5 days a week” (p. 100) is Shapiro’s writing pattern or habit. What is your writing rhythm? What sort of continued pattern are you developing for your writing practice? Think about this as a habit, and consider how you develop a pattern or rhythm of writing actions around this habit. How are you building rhythm with your writing and research work? What is your schedule for treating writing as work?
  • Practice: “Practice involves discipline but is more closely related to patience” (p. 131). I would say returning to the process and understanding that writing and academic work is more of a marathon. Your writing practice will involve your willingness to continue the work and know that your incremental writing practice is contributing to the larger project, piece, or manuscript. Keep at it! What keeps your patience in check for daily writing practice? How do you  maintain motivation with on-going writing projects or revisions on manuscripts?
  • Cigarette Break: “gazing out the window at the courtyard below, and allowing my thoughts to sort themselves out… writers require that ritualized dream time” (p. 158). I don’t smoke, but I can see the value in stepping away to space out. Taking a pause to breathe and ponder work without distraction is vital. Breaks offer writers a critical time to process thoughts, ideas, and concepts. Maybe you step away from your desk, leave your screen and devices, and find a space to just take a pause to have a bit of a think. Let your mind wander and see what comes about from a bit of spaced out time when you’re not creating or doing. How do you find mental space to space out or mind wander? How do you encourage creative thoughts to stew with your writing practice and when you’re engrossed in research projects?
  • Steward: “Don’t leave that essential place. Be a good steward to your gifts” (p. 207). Figure out how to best protect your own writing craft and these habits. Stewardship means tending to the needs and practices you require to be productive in your writing work. Is there a particular place that lends to your productive writing practice? Are there particular times and days that allows you to write your best? What are the essential tools you will need to focus on writing or working on a particular research project? How do you create a bubble or force-field around this writing space and time?

 

Reference:

Shapiro, D. (2013). Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of Creative Life. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

#AcDigID, #diglit, #EdDigID

Being a Networked Scholar in 2018: Join #AcDigID Twitter Chat this Friday, January 12th

Being an open, networked academic might mean sharing research, teaching, and scholarly practice online. Social networks and online tools are increasingly offering higher ed faculty a digital place for collaboration, learning, and work. In the information age, being able to share instructional practices, disseminate research, and engage in scholarly conversations is becoming the norm in and it is even more critical academia contributes to accurate public knowledge. There are a number of benefits for being open and online; however, being a networked scholar does not come without questions or challenges in 2018 [See: My last post on the topic.] If you’re interested in joining a conversation about “Being a Networked Scholar in 2018” and sharing your perspective on the topic, I would love if you could save the day to join this LIVE Twitter Chat on Friday, January 12, 2018 from 11 am-12 pm CDT (time zone converter, I’m in Dallas, TX, USA). What does it mean to be a connected academic? How has being a faculty in a networked world impacted your teaching, learning and service scholarship? Come chat with us to share your thoughts, ideas, and questions you are pondering this year. All #highered colleagues and academic peers are welcome for some FREE Twitter PD!

HOW TO: Participate in the #AcDigID Chat

Here’s a quick overview of how to participate in #AcDigID Twitter Chat:

  1. Set up your Twitter Account (HOW TO: Set Up The Twitters).
  2. Follow the #AcDigID hashtag on Twitter for the latest tweets.
  3. Follow @LauraPasquini who will moderate the Q & A for the Twitter Chat, a.k.a. “MOD”
  4. Get ready and excited for Friday’s (1/12) chat by checking out what’s being shared and discussed on the #AcDigID hashtag NOW! BONUS: You might learn what’s happening and what we’re talking about in the workshop. 🙂
  5. JOIN US Friday, January 12th from 11 am- 12 noon CDT  for the following TOPIC: Being Online as a #HigherEd Professional in 2018

Contribute to the #AcDigID Twitter Chat by:

  • Logging into your Twitter account as the #AcDigID chat will happen ON TWITTER.
  • Follow along in real time during the #AcDigID Twitter chat by following along on the Twitter hashtag: #AcDigID  or this Tweet Chat Room: http://tweetchat.com/room/AcDigID
  • The MOD (moderator) @LauraPasquini will ask 3-4 questions during the 60-minute chat; please respond with the Q# in your update, e.g. “Q1: Your Answer” or “A1: Your response”
  • Invite your higher education faculty/staff peers to join the conversation – all are welcome to join!
  • Include the #AcDigID hashtag in your tweets and responses (“@”) to others.

Being a Networked Scholar in 2018: To help you prepare, here are a few of the #AcDigID chat questions we might chat about for you to think about IN ADVANCE of our conversation:

  1. What questions should we discuss, with regards to being a networked scholar or digital academic in 2018?
  2. What are your preferred digital spaces to learn or connect with academics online? Please share.
  3. Where can we find traces of your work in #highered or scholarly self online (besides Twitter)?
  4. What are some of the benefits of developing a digital identity or being part of an online community?
  5. What are the possible challenges/issues for being online, on social media or having a professional a digital presence in 2018?
  6. What advice do you have for #highered colleagues & academics about their digital identity or being in an online professional network?

UPDATED #acdigID POST CHAT (1.12.18):

TRANSCRIPTS: #acdigID Storify Archive  and a PDF for download and review: #acdigID Chat_ TOPIC_ Being a Networked Academic in 2018 (01.12.18)

 

#AcWri, BreakDrink, Higher Education, Research, StudentAffairs

Publication Lessons Learned as an Early Career Scholar [@BreakDrink Episode no. 11]

As a follow-up to @BreakDrink Episode no. 9 and no. 8, Jeff and I continue to discuss the lessons we have learned in our early days of scholarship. HINT: We are still (and always) learning about the #acwri process. You can listen to some of our publishing ponderings on @BreakDrink episode no. 11: So You Want To Publish? On Academic Writing [Full Show Notes] and listen via SoundCloud here:

Much of what we’re discussing, is really just us processing ideas for a potential conference session and/or toolkit to get other higher education professionals involved in scholarly work. That is, front-line practitioners who directly work with and support learners. Typically these are professional staff who are involved in practice and rarely jump into the realm of scholarly writing and academic publishing — where we NEED to showcase and share evidence-based practices from the field. In talking and working with various scholar-practitioners, I have learned so much about how graduate prep programs vary in student affairs/services and/or higher education programs. Many of these applied education experiences are leaving higher education practitioners with minimal academic research knowledge and limited scholarly writing opportunities. In turn, the programs and practices implemented in post-secondary education, often leave out a research design, data analysis, and production towards an academic manuscript.

It is a critical time in post-secondary education where we MUST SHOW EVIDENCE and we SHOULD be contributing to the canon of student support services and student affairs scholarship. Higher ed professionals should be contributing to the empirical trail of our applied work beyond traditional teaching and learning — so it’s time #ShutUpAndWrite to PUBLISH!

We are just scratching the surface in this podcasts, as we being to think about developmental support for engaging practitioners and professionals in higher ed with the #AcWri process.  After listening to the out-loud ponderings on this podcast, here are a few lessons learned from our own early career research experiences with academic writing/publishing:

  • Create products for publication. Always. We need to have graduate students, master’s and doctoral-level, to think about crafting their academic writing for a publication and not just a paper or assignment. Consider WHERE and HOW you would use each writing piece for publications. You should not just have artifacts from courses submitted for a grade. Consider how you will use each piece of your coursework or research for a potential academic publication as well.
  • Get experience with peer-review: Practice of reviewing for peer-review and/or editing to be part of the academic publication process. Academic writing and publishing is a PROCESS. Each paper submitted goes through a particular workflow and are (most often) managed by volunteers and scholars who will review your work. Reviewing manuscripts, copy-editing, and evening managing a journal takes TIME – but it does help you learn what to expect for the stages of submitting an article. If you have not completed any peer review for an academic journal, you should! Learning about the expectations and experiences from the backend of a journal will give you more insights to where manuscripts go when submitted for publication.
  • Share the writing, peer review, and publishing process: The process of comments from editors, rejections from journals, and response to publications needs to be talked about among scholars & practitioners. Let’s normalize the process and share the experience.
  • Search for your manuscript FIT! Scopus is the mega database of abstracts and citations of peer-reviewed literature: scientific journals, books, and conference proceedings. Search and download “Scopus List” a spreadsheet for specific details for each journal. Where could your paper fit in? Could you take another lens or approach to fit the journal scope? Assess the fit of this BEFORE you submit!
  • Avoid desk rejects: This is when an editor rejects your manuscript and (hopefully) offers you feedback on the scope and/or fit for your paper within a few days of the week of submission. This avoids your manuscript sitting through the lengthy peer-review process for no reason. Why not reach out to the editor in advance with your paper abstract to inquire more about the fit/scope and if your manuscript is appropriate for submission first? This is also a great way to learn about what the peer-reviewers will be identifying and develop your professional connections.
  • Not all papers need to be in prestigious journals: Consider submitting to B-level journals and having a few targets for your paper that might fit if it is rejected – so you can take feedback to update and/or turn around to submit somewhere else. There is NO shortage of academic outlets for publications. Consider asking academic mentors or scholars in your specific area of expertise/discipline what other suitable journals might be a good target. Have a few journal outlets in mind to resubmit if rejected.
  • Love Your Librarian: Ask your librarians for support with your research on topics, to journal outlets, databases to search for empirical literature,  and/or where/how to archive your own publications (or say set up your own journal). Academic librarians have an understanding of where to look for publishing outlets with suggestions of database searches and recommendations for various disciplines of study.
  • Support and consider how you involve practitioners in scholarship — AND vice versa! Here are a few thoughts I shared about working with scholar-practitioners. Mentioned on @BreakdRink episode no. 8 and blogged by Laura. OR if you are a practitioner in education reach out to an academic to share about your potential sample population, research design, or general idea of study you want to be involved with for further inquiry.

If you have some resources and ideas on the topic of academic publishing — let us know! We would love for you to post a comment below, or connect with us via any of the “BreakDrink” podcast channels:

We welcome feedback, comments, suggestions, and/or sass in any of the above digital spaces. If the podcast via iTunes (Apple Podcasts), please consider leaving us a rating and review. Cheers!

#AcWri, BreakDrink, Conference, Podcast, publication, Research

The Scholar-Practitioner Paradox for Academic Writing [@BreakDrink Episode No. 8]

I have been thinking about the needs and challenges higher education and student affairs professionals have with regards to evidence-based practices. In higher education, there is no shortage of topics and ideas to explore. I have been fortunate to collaborate with both scholars and practitioners in education to study a number of issues, including scaled-open learning, digital learning strategies, social media policies/guidance, mentoring programs, and networked experiences, just to name a few.  Beyond this short list, there are a number of practitioners who have reached out and we’re in the process of establishing research plans for professional development, mapping competencies to training, and leveraging technology in networked communities. My work partnering and collaborating with scholar-practitioner better informs my research methods and in explaining the findings/implications.

Scholar-practitioners generate new knowledge to improve practice, yet how they prioritize and go about their work varies with where they are on this scholar-practitioner continuum (Wasserman & Kram, 2009). The challenge with this work is there is VERY LITTLE TIME professionals in higher ed have to do scholarly work. When you are working in an educational service role for a 12-month contract, it is a challenge to move through the research process. Wasserman and Kram (2009) observed how competencies, needs, and values align with the competing roles of the scholar-practitioner to match either the work or research interests. Scholarly habits and the writing process requires deep concentration and focus on thinking critically to endure through a research project — from the study design, methodological planning, recruitment of participants, to publication and dissemination of findings.

Although higher education administrators and staff are in the best position to analyze programs, student populations, and services — there is not enough scholarship produced from professionals IN the field.

In their book, A Guide to Becoming a Scholarly Practitioner in Student Affairs, I think Hatfield and Wise (2015, p. 6-8) touch on a few reasons why practitioners do not often contribute to academic writing and publications:

  • Not enough reading – that is, not as knowledgeable of current research in (and out of) the field, theories, and evidence-based practices from academic outlets
  • Not expected of positions and not valued – undervalued and underutilized research skills; some of these skills may have been minimal based on training, education, experience, etc. as it is not required in administrative positions
  • Second-class citizen syndrome – some might not have a terminal degree (Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.) or if they do, little academic scholarship has been completed beyond their dissertation work; also feel on a different level of the faculty at their institution (and often treated that way).
  • Inadequate academic preparation – research, evaluation and assessment training from each graduate program varies and many question skills and competency for research and publishing
  • Silos on campus – little interaction between departments, divisions, functions, and academic departments exist although we are trying to support the whole student.
  • Lack of motivation – when was the last time you saw “scholarship and research” in a practitioner’s job description or expectation to participate in scholarly conferences and publishing?

 

Many of the above items, I think, are describing student service/affairs professionals in the United States — as I have a number of higher ed colleagues who are required to produce research in their staff role. There is no shortage of op-ed pieces often shared among higher education social networks, blogs, podcasts, videos, and more. The issue is we rarely see published conference proceedings, journal articles, or academic outlets producing PEER-REVIEWED pieces from and about practice contributing evidence and understanding from the field.

Over the past few weeks, I have been talking with Jeff Jackson (via our @BreakDrink podcast) about this challenge and what we are witnessing among practitioner peers. The first installment “on academic writing and scholarship” Jeff and I dig into academic writing/scholarship for BreakDrink Episode No. 8, where we discuss the differences of Academic vs. Practitioner Conferences. From the book by Hatfield and Wise (2015), chapter three talks about presenting at professional conferences; however, none of the associations shared offer any published conference proceeding for presentations shared and are not the same as submitting a paper or academic poster for another association that is more scholarly in nature. I think Hatfield and Wise (205) offer a decent introduction to scholarly writing for the novice student affairs professional  — but I think it is lacking in a few areas (as detailed in the podcast and notes below). If you are interested, feel free to read this book review (Delgado & McGill, 2016) and listen to our thoughts via the podcast here:

@BreakDrink Episode No. 8 – Academic vs. Practitioner Conferences [SHOW NOTES]:

Episode No. 8,  might be part 1 of a few series on this topic about “being an academic” or “scholarly work.” Jeff and I have recorded a few meanderings as we think/share on this topic. If you have questions or want to know more about the following items, let us know: mentoring for #AcWri, how to put together a manuscript, proposing a conference paper, data management, or starting a peer-review journal OR being part of an editorial board. Let us know! 

Conferences Run Down in 2017: Scholar vs. Academic Conference

American Educational Research Association (AERA) hosts a research/scholarly conference annually and this year #aera17 conference was in San Antonio, TX with Jeff in attendance. This professional association is HUGE, but thankfully it is broken down into Divisions and  Special Interest Groups (a.k.a. SIGs). Division I is Jeff’s Jam: Education in the Professions as he also attends the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and perhaps Division J may be where some of the doctoral/graduate scholars hang out. Related to this association you will find THE journal, Educational Researcher, that is well-regarded by scholars; however AERA also has AERA Open and other publication outlets.

We just wish we saw more of this at practitioner conferences. Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) also held their annual conference at the same convention center in San Antonio, TX back in March. Both Jeff and I were there, and we attended a session on publishing in the NASPA journals from this association [Sadly the new Technology in Higher Education: Emerging Practice was not represented in this session this year.] It’s not as though sessions at Student Affairs or Practitioner conferences do have a poster session, and I have seen “Research Papers” presented at ACPA Convention and NACADA has offered Research Symposiums at regional conferences.  The conferences mentioned in Chapter 3 of Hatfield and Wise’s (2015) book: ACPA, NACA, NACADA, NASPA, ACUHO-I, NODA, & NIRSA

Academic Conferences We Have Also Attended to Note:

 

Conference Proceedings 101

Conference proceedings are scholarly papers a number of academics/researchers include on their vitae for the tenure and promotion. This is the “carrot” as to why faculty or scholars would attend a conference and allow doctoral researchers grants to travel, beyond the value of networking and discussions with peers. A proceeding could be a short (or long) paper presented at a conference, and sometimes there are even print proceedings published for your conference abstracts/papers (e.g. #SMsociety15 proceedings). All papers typically have a specific format (e.g. AECT’s manuscript requirements) and are submitted for a formal (typically blinded) peer-review process before they are accepted. Typically these are shorter papers or a conference abstract (not a beginning of a journal article abstract format), where you present your completed research projects. A number of social sciences and education conferences have specific formats beyond the APA Style 6th Edition, but that is a good start. If accepted, you will typically present your paper at the conference in a condensed format, such as 10-25 minutes, with a set of other papers in a single session. Each presentation is directed to showcase research by describing a brief literature overview, research methods (data collection, analysis) and findings/implications. This might be moderated by a discussant, moderator, or not at all with a brief (2-5 minutes) for Q&A at the end of your presentation/session time slot.

Other formats typically at scholarly conferences we have seen — but this is not an inclusive list:

  • Conference abstract (1000-2500 words) – how to guide and killer abstract writing
  • Full Papers (up to 8000-10.000 words)
  • Notes  or Work/Research In Progress
  • Poster Sessions (also via a device, e.g. laptop, tablet, etc.)
  • Workshops/Hands-on Sessions (e.g. how to use R-Studio for text mining)
  • Competitions or Expos — challenge/solution program feature to showcase work
  • Plenary/Keynotes
  • Doctoral Colloquium
  • Mentoring Programs

Episode F.A.Q.

  • Q: Is it considered a self-plagiarism to reuse (published) abstracts for talks? A: Yes. You want to avoid text recycling and should NOT but publishing the same work to different publication outlets.
  • Q: Is presenting about my program or an assessment of an initiative at my campus research? Does this count? A: Maybe. Did you get IRB approval from your institution before collecting data? Are you following the scholarly practice of your educational/social science peers? If not — this might be an assessment. Still great — but it could not be submitted as peer-reviewed conference proceeding or journal article.
  • Q: What is this Yellowbook that Jeff referred to during the podcast? A: It was known as a “phone book” and it’s directory of names of people and businesses for you to locate their contact information. You might use the Google or another search engine these days for said things. Apparently, Yellowbook as rebranded to “yb” and now has a website: https://www.yellowpages.com/
  • Q: Why is Tony Parker out for the rest of the NBA season? A: He injured his quadriceps tendon on Wednesday, May 2nd. {tear!}
  • Q: What is Fiesta? A: A 10-day annual party celebrating culture, food, fun, and parades in San Antonio, TX that typically falls at the end of April. More about Fiesta. Best tagline: “A party with a purpose” https://www.fiesta-sa.org/

Our Pro-Tips for Attending Academic Conference:

  1. Prepare for the Conference: Review the conference website to see what research is being presented, who will be attending, and who you should meet (new & friends) while you are both at this event. Are you a fan girl/boy of a particular researcher and you want to chat about their work/your work? Are you hoping to collaborate with other scholars? Do your homework and figure out who will be there. Maybe you want to set up a meeting over a meal/coffee/drinks OR find a particular session where you can be introduced to new peers.
  2. Attend the First Time Attendee Session (if they have one): Get the lay of the conference land and get a good overview/guide to what is going on during the event. Is there a mixer with food and/or drinks? Attend and meet a few people. Prepare to be social and have your own “elevator pitch” about what you are currently studying or working on right now. Think about this before you show up to the conference.

Overall, we think higher education professionals could do better with sharing MORE research-based information at our conferences. Many of these sessions are often hidden within the general program sessions and/or found in a poster session — that is often not well-attended. Hatfield and Wise (2015, p. 8) challenge practitioners to research by asking:

If you could give voice to those who were marginalized, if you could change the field of student affairs through your voice, if you could create better collaborations across campus with our academic colleagues, and if you could share your insights with parents, students, and other invested stakeholders so that they will know what we contribute to student learning and development, why wouldn’t you?”

Why are we not encouraging more scholar-practitioner collaborations? And what incentives could you offer early career researchers and senior scholars to attend these conferences? These are ponderings we are thinking about from reading this book (Hatfield & Wise, 2015) on SA scholarship. We think it’s a decent starting guide to getting into academic writing. Sharing evidence-based initiatives are required to be relevant in higher education. This value needs to be showcased more by and with student affairs, student services, and those not on an academic track to offer others insight to the work we are doing.

@BreakDrink Podcast ShoutOuts

 

If you have a thought or two, please share it with us via one of these channels. We’d love to hear from you on any one or all of following the “BreakDrink” podcast channels:

We welcome comments, questions, and more! If you happen to listen to Apple Podcasts a.k.a. iTunes, please consider leaving us a rating and review. Thanks!

References:

Delgado, A., & McGill, C. M. (2016). A Guide to Becoming a Scholarly Practitioner in Student Affairs by Lisa J. Hatfield and Vicki L. Wise (review). Journal of College Student Development57(7), 898-900.

Hatfield, L. J., & Wise, V. L. (2015). A guide to becoming a scholarly practitioner in student affairs. Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Wasserman, I. C., & Kram, K. E. (2009). Enacting the scholar—practitioner role: An exploration of narrativesThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science45(1), 12-38.

Research

Visualizing Research and Work

Do you ever doodle to figure out an idea? Do you sketch out a concept to make sense of it? Have you every created a Post-It Note wall montage on a wall to map out a project? Is there a whiteboard where you have a series of equations or problems you are working through? If so, then visualizing research and related works might be for you!

art

For the last workshop I facilitated, I opted to go low-tech to in order allow for reflection and discussion about our digital spaces and places. Sometimes analog processing with markers provides instigates creativity or creates an opportunity for deeper thinking. Drawing or concept mapping is a process I often use to plan programs/events, design websites, draft course curriculum, and more. I find these visualizations helpful for gathering thoughts, linking concepts ,and facilitating group/team processes.

emo_draw  course_design_posts  concept_maps_for_uunderstanding

Much to my surprise, my research role with The Digital Learning and Social Media Research Group has moved beyond your typical scholarly practice, such as literature review, data collection, data analysis, and academic writing, to include a visual design to share research. I thank/blame George for the opportunity to dig into valuable research to identify findings and implications by creating a short script and putting these audio narrations to animated format on the Research Shorts YouTube Channel [If you’re not subscribed, you should!].

storyboarding_research   research_shorts_video

In a recent Research Shorts video, we scripted and produced Hilton’s (2016) recent article review of OER and college textbooks choices (highlighted in George’s post). Although this is an open access publication, we hope this video visualization extends beyond the typical scholarly audience and reaches other campus stakeholders in higher education who are thinking about these learning resources. You can view this video here:

For the Research Shorts video creation process, I have been scripting and storyboarding academic articles (of mine and others) to explain the implications and applications of these studies in a few short minutes. This work has made me think more about how I include visuals in my own scholarly practice, specifically to identify the “so what” or key points for my own initiatives. I typically map out works-in-progress, lesson plans, course designs, and meetings I will be facilitating or hosting by using a visual map or plan. From my experiences, visualizations for research and work projects have helped myself and my research collaborators:

  • Ideate and brainstorm for developments/project planning
  • Filter and itemize relevant results for literature reviews
  • Map out concept for a research plan and work initiatives
  • Connect the dots between theories and relevant published research
  • Organize a research pipeline and project workflows for effective project management
  • Provide “in plain English” about your research findings
  • Highlight key implications based on research results
  • Develop better images or visuals for conference presentations and/or posters
  • Showcase information through a new communication method or medium
  • Can lead to new insights for yourself and your audience/stakeholders — offer access to publications or complex work designs
  • Capture the “what’s the point” for organizational leaders for published reports
  • Pitch research implications/findings as an executive summary in meetings

Beyond creating a video to share visual research on YouTube, I am also considering what images or graphs I put into my own academic publications. Our written text can tell the story of our research; however, diagrams, images, or graphs can create meaning to our academic manuscripts, reports, and planning documents. What does the aesthetics of science look for you?  Have you put much thought into how you visualize traditional research publications, like conference proceedings or journal articles? What support your academic writing beyond the text? Do you give much consideration to these in your writing? If so, please share.

Reference:

Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 1-18.

#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!

phd092809s

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.