How to write a scholarly abstract that informs and invites readers

In academic writing, abstracts are the most powerful aspect of a manuscript, says Erin McTigue, a writing coach with The Positive Academic. “Realistically, to extract key findings, busy researchers may read only the abstract, and for those who proceed onward, the abstract provides an advance organizer framing their comprehension,” she says.

Abstracts need to be clear, and they need to have well-structured sentences, says Wendy Kamman Zimmer, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. They should include concrete examples, words, and ideas, active voice, and human elements, she says: “Arguably, abstracts that are stronger have a contestable thesis or a very strong argument, something that you can touch; something that’s tangible.”

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 16, 2021

When do we reach the end? When have we learned enough? While the answer to these questions may be different for each individual, if the desire to move forward remains, the real answer is “never”. As George Weah once said, “Education is a continual process, it’s like a bicycle… If you don’t pedal you don’t go forward.”

As an industry we continue to see continual process of growth, revision, and transformation. Some ways we experience this as academic and textbook authors are in the research methods we use, the peer review process, and how we handle rejection. We also see more systemic changes through diversity, inclusion, and digital transformation practices.

This week, keep pedaling. The goal is forward. As individuals and as an industry. Happy writing!

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 9, 2021

What are you doing to improve your writing practice this week? Are you still learning? Have you discovered new processes, tools, or ideas on which to grow? Continued success requires continued growth and development.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we find tips for making writing more fun, staying motivated, and judging the trustworthiness of research (including our own). We also explore how to be a good peer reviewer, the problem with “gap” talk, and the art of the “cold call” email.

Your inner expert

I have the good fortune to work with many highly educated, highly qualified, experts in a diverse range of fields. Masters-prepared. Doctorly-prepared. Academics and researchers that have devoted themselves to the pursuit and sharing of knowledge in the US and world-wide. Others seek their opinions and expertise. They have done significant research and published journal articles and other valued communications.

So, I could say I work with “leading experts,” “internationally recognized leaders,” or the “most important authorities.” Does this describe you?

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 2, 2021

Why is textbook and academic authoring significant? According to Malala Yousafzai, “The content of a book holds the power of education and it is with this power that we can shape our future and change lives.” That seems like a pretty compelling significance to our work.

So how do we ensure what we produce is the best we can provide to our readers? In this week’s collection of articles from around the web we find advice on avoiding procrastination, making your case stronger, conducting research online, and the value of OER in teaching.