Revising academic texts: Efficiency & style

Kaizen – translated to mean a change for the good – is Erin McTigue’s word of the year and the guiding principle behind her 2019 TAA Conference Presentation, “Revising Academic Texts: Efficiency & Style”. Delivering a dynamic and interactive session, McTigue shared useful strategies to improve the flow and readability of your writing efforts through effective revision. Below we summarize six of those techniques that you can apply to your current manuscript to make your own change for the good. … [Read More]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 22, 2019

Continuing the trend of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) articles, this week's collection from around the web includes a lot of tips for academic writing. Specifically, this week we have found articles on productivity & happiness, creating better mentors, unsticking your writing, understanding research technology infrastructure, navigating the PhD defense process, and illustrating your research. This week, we add the words of George Singleton to the advice as well, “Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” Happy Writing! … [Read More]

12/3 TAA Webinar – Practical Strategies for Collaborating With Peers

Sometimes collaboration comes naturally. We can communicate honestly to determine shared goals and complete a project. It can be exhilarating to see what can be accomplished when we pool ideas and expertise. Other times, collaboration seems time-consuming and frankly aggravating. Perhaps we thought we were on the same page with our partner(s), only to discover that their sense of time, criteria for quality, or willingness to address problems are not as we expected. The issues can compound when the number of collaborative partners expands, and when we have less common ground to build upon. When we collaborate with peers from our own discipline or professional, we understand theoretical frameworks and seminal literature that informs our field. We might share similar outlooks with peers … [Read More]

TAA executive direct​or ​​interviewed by ‘The Geyser’

Executive Director Michael Spinella was recently interviewed in The Geyser – a newly launched newsletter about the information economy that affects all authors and scholars, published by Kent Anderson, founder of Caldera Publishing Solutions. Anderson asked Spinella about issues facing authors today, how textbooks are changing, and what kinds of challenges TAA faces in serving its members. Read the full interview … [Read More]

Write to reach your true audience

In writing, your voice is the way you “speak” to your audience, and it includes your word choices, your “tone” of voice, and what you intentionally or unintentionally reveal about yourself. Style is the way you use words to express yourself in writing. A second meaning of style is the system of conventions you adopt to format your writing for your subject area, such as the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Council of Biology Editors (CBE), or The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago style). Voice and style are important matters in textbook publishing. By themselves, your voice and writing style can make or break your book. Making decisions about voice and style involves reflecting on your mission, understanding your audience, choosing how you will … [Read More]

The changing nature of ye olde academic writing

Likely we all remember Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. It was written in the late 1300’s in Middle English. Here are the first few lines: Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,     And bathed every veyne in swich licour,         Of which vertu engendred is the flour;           Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne I am sure we are all flashing back to high school and suffering though this classic long work. Most of us read an updated version written in modern English, thankfully. Likely you remember the discussion of the evolution of language. … [Read More]

Choose your best dissertation chair

It is impossible to overestimate the significance of the student-advisor relationship. . . . This is both a personal and professional relationship that rivals marriage and parenthood in its complexity, variety and ramifications for the rest of one’s life. (Zhao, Golde, & McCormick, 2007, p. 263) These wise observations were made by a new “doctor” in the study by Zhao et al. (2007) of how the doctoral students’ choice of chairs and their behavior affect the students’ satisfaction. The candidate quoted above echoes what many doctoral students learn, with ease or agony, during their dissertations. Your relationship with your chair (sometimes called advisor or supervisor) is absolutely the most important in your entire doctoral haul. … [Read More]

AcWriMo starts tomorrow – see what we have planned

Established in 2011, Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) is "a month-long academic write-a-thon that happens every November". Here at TAA, we have continued to plan special opportunities for our members to engage in AcWriMo as a group to enhance their individual writing efforts. Some of our members have also created or sponsored additional AcWriMo events throughout the month. This year, TAA has decided to focus on a theme of "Distinguishing features of academic writing". Specifically, we have used a list of academic writing features to further focus our weekly TweetChat discussions and shared resources to include: academic precision, complexity, formality, objectivity, and accuracy. Below are several of the planned activities we have scheduled for AcWriMo 2019. … [Read More]

Academic writing styles: Critical academic writing

Academic writing is far from a one-size-fits-all genre. Applicable to the broad variety of academic disciplines and their unique approaches to conducting and documenting research efforts in the field, one might find it challenging to identify clearly what constitutes academic writing. In our latest series of #AcWriChat TweetChat events on Twitter, we explored four commonly accepted academic writing styles: descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical. This article focuses on the discussion about the last of those four styles – critical academic writing. … [Read More]

The promise of writing in the disciplines

For many of us who teach writing, we often think about the rhetorical triangle: ethos, pathos, and logos. Although, when speaking to our students, colleagues, or peers, we tend to use the more colloquial terms of speaker/writer, audience/reader, and message/content, and then in terms of genre and purpose. Through these terms, I teach writers what good academic writing is and how it works: about how and why we cite sources, use first- or third-person, active voice, even adverbs. I first heard of Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) years ago in the K12 context of writing to learn and learning to write to be understood across K12 subjects: social studies, English, mathematics, and science. Undergirding WAC is the understanding that good writing in any subject requires writing to be clear … [Read More]

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