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#AcWriChat: A year in review

To celebrate Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo) 2017, TAA teamed up with member Janet Salmons from SAGE MethodSpace to begin a series of TweetChats on academic writing topics using the Twitter hashtag #AcWriChat. Throughout the year, TAA has continued to moderate TweetChat events every other Friday at 11am ET.

Beginning Friday, November 2nd, plan to join us for a weekly #AcWriChat event during #AcWriMo 2018 focusing on the 5 W’s of Academic Writing. But for now, as we reach the anniversary of our first #AcWriChat event, we want to take a look back at the year in review. Below is a summary of the questions discussed during our first twenty-six #AcWriChat TweetChats.
AcWriMo 2017

November 3, 2017: Get organized

  • What are you writing? Thesis/dissertation, article, chapter, book? Proposal? Blog or social media posts? Or?
  • What sources do you use for inspiration in planning your #AcWriMo project? Research, literature, professional insights? Or?
  • What steps do you take when organizing a new #writing project? How do you organize process, workspace, files, software?
  • How does audience or publication type effect #organizing & #writing of your #AcWriMo project?
  • What is the desired impact of your #AcWriMo project? How can that impact be measured? How do goals effect #organizing?
  • What will you do next to organize the rest of your #AcWriMo project? Steps?

November 17, 2017: Be productive

  • What is the biggest competition for your #writing time right now?
  • How do you use short blocks of time to advance your project? How do you use longer blocks of time?
  • Once you have time, you need focus! When #writing, how do you avoid distractions to improve #productivity? What can you do to advance your project, even if you are distracted or feeling low-energy?
  • Being productive means having something to say, whether writing about literature, theory, or your own findings. What preparation/reflection helps you clarify your message? What feedback process helps you to clarify your message?
  • Software tools can help you organize or automate steps in your writing project. What tools do you use? What tools are you curious about or want to try?

December 1, 2017: Submit proposals

  • What do you hope to publish (now or in the near future)? Article, chapter, edited or sole-author book? In what type of publication: scholarly, professional, general audience?
  • How will you research which publisher or journal that best fits your project? What have you learned about selecting publishers/journals that would help new writers?
  • If your project requires a proposal, what is your current stage of development? What are your questions about proposals- how can we help?
  • How will you select a publisher (book), scholarly or trade journal (article) or other place to publish your work? What criteria are most important?
  • What challenges do you face in preparing your writing for publication?

Imagining your writing project

  • Where do you find the most sources of inspiration for new writing projects in your discipline?
  • Do you implement any visual techniques when imagining your writing projects? What types of tools do you use to support any visualization processes you use?
  • When initially developing a writing project, how do you determine the need for your contribution to the discipline? Where do you go to identify literary gaps in which your project may ultimately fit?
  • From whom or where do you seek initial guidance and insight on your ideas for new writing projects? How do you reflect on that initial insight prior to writing?
  • During the idea generation stage of your writing project, how do you begin to interpret and explain findings from existing research? How do you read existing findings from established literature in preparation for extending the conversation with your writing?
  • What other best practices do you have to share for the imagining phase of a new writing project?

Organizing a writing project

  • After defining an idea for a writing project, do you have a specific literature review strategy for gathering foundational references for your project? Regardless of a specific strategy, where is the first place you go for reference sources in your discipline?
  • When reviewing potential sources, what criteria do you use for initial filtering of reference material? Specifically, are there any “red flags” for quickly ignoring a piece of work? Or indicators for keeping one for further review?
  • As you review potential sources for inclusion in your project, how do you collect and organize the reference materials? Are there specific software tools that you use for managing citations or source materials at this point in the writing process?
  • Do you have any methods for prioritizing the potential use of source content after initial collection?
  • What methods do you use for outlining the structure of your writing project? In what ways is this process similar/different to the efforts taken in the imagining stage of the process?
  • How do you handle themes that do not directly “fit” your original writing topic or research question? Would there be reasons for expanding the project scope after the initial literature review? Narrowing it?

Setting goals and planning a writing project

  • What are some goals you have set for your writing in 2018? When setting writing goals, do you think more commonly in long-term goals, short-term goals, or both?
  • If you were to define one writing goal for this week to get you closer to one of your 2018 writing goals, what would it look like? What is one thing that you can do today to help you meet that weekly goal?
  • In what ways do you currently measure and track the results of your writing progress toward the goals you set?
  • Do you have any strategies or processes for aligning your information gathering and writing processes with short-term goals? Do you try to take a linear approach by completing the information gathering before writing or do you use a more iterative approach to research and writing?
  • In what ways do you prepare yourself for actually writing? Do you have any writing rituals or routines for increasing your performance?
  • What do you use as a reward system for meeting your writing goals?

Making time to write within the busy-ness of work & life

  • What things in your life compete with your writing time? Which of these things do you hold in higher value than your writing?
  • Is writing your “full time job”? If so, how do you maintain motivation for full time efforts? If not, how do you schedule writing as a side job?
  • Do you feel like you are successful at balancing your writing and the rest of life? If so, what are some of the ways you maintain the balance?
  • Do you have clear boundaries set to protect your writing time? How do you communicate with family, friends, and colleagues that your focus is on writing during scheduled times?
  • Are your writing plans and expectations realistic? Do you tend to over-schedule or under-schedule time for your writing?
  • In what ways does stress impact your writing efforts? How do you handle stress to maintain forward progress on your writing?

Being productive

  • How do you measure productivity as it relates to your writing? When assessing writing productivity, do you more often consider quantity or quality of writing?
  • What are your “bad habits” that lead to unproductive work sessions? What have you done to break those bad habits?
  • Where do you write most productively? When do you write most productively (early mornings, late at night, weekends, etc.)?
  • How have you built accountability into your productivity efforts (accountability partner, accountability groups, etc.)? Would you be interested in participating in an accountability group if TAA offered one?
  • Do you use the pomodoro technique to keep yourself on task? What other strategies do you use to stay focused on writing?
  • What strategies have you used to improve your productivity while still producing quality work?

Getting feedback while work is in progress

  • At what stage(s) of a writing project do you seek the most feedback? At what stage(s) do you find feedback to be most helpful/least helpful?
  • Are there key advisers from whom you seek feedback? If not, who in your life could be a trusted reviewer for your work?
  • If you use an accountability partner, does the same person serve as a reviewer for your work? What are some advantages/disadvantages to using an accountability partner as a reviewer?
  • When receiving feedback, what factors influence the impact of the review for you as a writer?
  • What is the greatest challenge in the feedback process for you as a writer? What are the greatest benefits of the feedback process?
  • What makes feedback from a review helpful in improving your writing?

Building a network through blogs and social media

  • Other than Twitter, on what social media platforms are you currently active? Please share links to your profiles as desired. Which platforms do you use for conducting research or promoting your writing efforts?
  • When identifying people to follow on social media, how do you identify influencers in your discipline? In what ways can you establish yourself as an influencer through social media?
  • What tools do you use to manage your social media content development/posting efforts?
  • Do you currently manage a blog or regularly contribute to a blog? Please feel free to include a link. How frequently do you blog? What do you blog about?
  • How do you attempt to maximize traffic to your blog? What blogs do you routinely follow for advice on writing?
  • What factors compel you to actively promote your writing using blogs or social media?

Thinking about journals and publishers for your work

  • When thinking about journals and publishers for your work, how do you begin the process? What criteria do you use when evaluating a fit for your work with a particular journal or publisher?
  • Do you present yourself as a writer or an academic? When working with a publisher, how can you stand out?
  • Beyond journal articles, in what formats would your work be well-suited?
  • How can you identify and avoid predatory publishers? What experience do you have with predatory publishers?
  • When targeting a submission to a specific journal, what tips or best practices can you share? What are mistakes you have witnessed or experienced that have prevented publication?
  • What are other topics for consideration when thinking about journals and publishers for your work?

Creating proposals

  • What types of proposals have you written relative to your academic work? For the proposals you have written, has the audience been primarily internal or external to your institution?
  • What advice can you share regarding the preparation of a research proposal for a dissertation or thesis? How does the audience (supervisor or academic committee) influence your writing of this type of proposal?
  • What advice can you share regarding the preparation of a proposal for a conference presentation?
  • What advice can you share regarding the preparation of a proposal for an academic journal article? How do you research potential journals to prepare for article submission?
  • What advice can you share regarding the preparation of a book proposal for an academic press? How can you organize your dissertation or other research to publish as a book?
  • What advice can you share regarding the preparation of a grant proposal?

Sustaining and maintaining open access platforms for academic publishing

  • What drives interest in open access platforms for academic publishing? Have you published or considered publishing your work open access?
  • What do you consider the barriers for greater adoption of open access academic publishing practices? What would be necessary to relieve those barriers?
  • When considering an open access publishing option, what factors are of greatest importance? How can you determine that a publisher is reputable?
  • What is necessary to build a sustainable open access publishing platform? In what ways can we measure the success and sustainability of such platforms?
  • In what ways do the costs (APCs) discourage researchers from publishing open access? How can these costs be mitigated or offset?
  • What do you consider the future of open access publishing?

Presenting your work

  • What are some places where you have presented your research in the past? Where do you plan to present research in the coming year?
  • What are some of the reasons you have had to present your research? How does the audience affect your approach to the presentation?
  • What tools do you use for curating or creating images for your presentations? What strategies do you use when curating or creating images for your presentation?
  • What parts of your research are most commonly used in your presentations? How does the presentation topic impact the parts of your research used in the presentation?
  • Have you presented your research through a webinar or web conference? How does the online delivery method impact the presentation of your work?
  • What best practices or additional advice do you have for presenting your work?

Reading as a writer

  • What does it mean to read as a writer?
  • How can reading as a writer help you to better identify yourself as a writer?
  • How much time to you devote to reading as it relates to your writing?
  • What do you read in your genre? Why? What do you read outside your genre? Why?
  • When reading as a writer, which is your greatest focus? Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, or Conventions
  • In what ways does reading benefit your writing efforts?

Contributing to an academic conversation

  • What does it mean to contribute to an academic conversation? What skills are necessary for effective academic conversation?
  • How have you established a research territory or niche for your efforts? Once you have established a niche for your efforts, how can you occupy that niche?
  • In what ways do you ensure that your work builds on the work of others in your field? If your work is interdisciplinary, how does it bring together the different fields?
  • How does reading the work of others as an argument improve your ability to contribute to the conversation? When treating the work of others as an argument, how can you maintain a respectful conversation?
  • Other than publishing in journals, how can you contribute to the academic conversation in your field? How have academic blogs impacted the conversation in your discipline?
  • In what ways does the conclusion or discussion section of an article further the academic conversation?

Finding reliable sources

  • What makes a potential source credible?
  • What are some ways you can determine the currency of a source? In your research discipline, what would you consider “current”?
  • What are some ways you can determine the reliability of a source? Do the factors of reliability change between quantitative and qualitative studies?
  • What are some ways you can determine the authority of a source? What are some trusted authorities in your discipline?
  • What are some ways you can determine the purpose/point of view of a source? How do you establish and maintain an unbiased point of view in your writing?
  • What are some tools you use for finding reliable sources?

Defining research questions

  • What is a research question and how does it relate to the research process?
  • How can a general research topic be refined into specific research questions?
  • What brainstorming techniques do you use for generating research questions? How do hypotheses relate to research questions?
  • What defines a “good” research question?
  • How do you ensure that your research question is practical and useful? How do methods for writing research questions vary between disciplines or for different purposes?
  • What differences exist between research questions for qualitative vs. quantitative studies?

Funding your research

  • What are some strategies you use to secure research funding?
  • What are some common sources of funding you use?
  • What search tools do you use to locate funding opportunities?
  • What tips do you have for the grant writing process?
  • What are some of the most creative ways you have used or seen for securing research funding?
  • What other tips can you share for funding research?

Writing for your ideal reader

  • When writing, are you usually focused on the subject matter content or the potential reader?
  • What does your primary audience look like at this stage of your writing? What insider knowledge do those readers possess related to your content?
  • Have you defined user personas for the potential readers your work may reach?
  • In what ways would your writing be different when writing for a peer-review process vs. student reader?
  • What are the characteristics of your ideal reader? Are the characteristics primarily demographic, previous knowledge, professional role, or other?
  • What next step can you take to intentionally reach your ideal reader? Does this step represent more of a writing, marketing, or publishing strategy?

Crafting an introduction

  • Why is a strong introduction important? How do you use the introduction to focus or anchor the rest of the manuscript?
  • What strategies do you use in your introductions to “grab” the reader?
  • What information is most effective for inclusion in an introduction? What information shouldn’t be included in an introduction?
  • How much history should be included in the introduction?
  • How does an introductory chapter for a thesis/dissertation differ from an introductory paragraph for an essay/article?
  • When do you write the introduction? How do you ensure relevance and connection to the rest of the manuscript?

Conducting a literature review

  • What is a literature review and why is it important? Is a literature review a process, a product, or both?
  • How do you define relevant bodies of literature for review?
  • What tools do you use in the literature review process?
  • What practices do you use to manage search results? How do you code the literature for review purposes?
  • In what ways can a literature review help frame a research question?
  • How do you synthesize the literature in your final review manuscript? In what ways can mapping relationships among the literature assist the synthesizing process?

Peer Review Week - The importance of peer review in scholarly publishing

  • What is peer review and why is it important in academic writing? How do you define diversity in academic environments?
  • With which peer review models are you familiar? Which model do you feel best supports diversity in the peer review process?
  • How does racial diversity impact the peer review process? What are some strategies for improving racial diversity in the peer review process?
  • How does gender diversity impact the peer review process? What are some strategies for improving gender diversity in the peer review process?
  • How does regional diversity impact the peer review process? What are some strategies for improving regional diversity in the peer review process?
  • What next step will you take to address one of the diversity issues in peer review? How can you raise awareness of the importance of diversity in peer review at your institution?

Selecting a methodology

  • What impact does methodology have on your research design process? What is the effect of selecting the wrong methodology for a project?
  • What are key factors for implementing a qualitative methodology? What methods support a qualitative research methodology?
  • What are key factors for implementing a quantitative methodology? What methods support a quantitative research methodology?
  • What are key factors for implementing a mixed methods methodology? What methods support a mixed methods research methodology?
  • What strategies do you use to select a methodology for a research project? How is methodology selection related to the goals of the research?
  • What impact does methodology have on the research methods used? Which do you select first in your projects: methodology or methods?

Presenting the evidence

  • When crafting a research project/article, what are some of the elements requiring evidence presentation? What are some common methods for presenting such evidence?
  • What evidence is necessary to secure research approval or funding? What are some effective ways for presenting this evidence?
  • What evidence is necessary in the introduction section of an article? Why is this evidence important to the reader?
  • What evidence should be presented when discussing research methodologies? How is this process different for established vs. new methodologies?
  • What evidence should be presented when developing conclusions? How can this evidence impact further research on the topic?
  • In what ways can you present evidence from your research to a larger audience? Where can you look to find these presentation outlets in your discipline?

Writing your conclusions

  • What is the purpose of a conclusion? How is the conclusion similar/different to the introduction?
  • How can you use synthesis instead of summary in a conclusion? How does synthesis create a stronger conclusion?
  • What strategies do you use for writing effective conclusions?
  • What things should be avoided when writing conclusions?
  • How can your conclusion encourage further study? What is the benefit of including a proposal for future research in the conclusion?
  • How can your conclusion tie your research to broader implications?

#AcWriMo 2018 TweetChats

#AcWriMo 2018 - The 5 W's of Academic Writing

Throughout the month of November 2018, we will be celebrating #AcWriMo with weekly TweetChat events focused on the 5 W’s of Academic Writing. Mark your calendar for 11am ET every Friday in November to join us on Twitter at #AcWriChat as follows:

  • November 2 – THE WHAT: Defining a research project
  • November 9 – THE WHERE: Constructing an effective writing environment
  • November 16 – THE WHEN: Setting realistic timeframes for your research
  • November 23 – THE WHO: Finding key sources in the existing literature
  • November 30 – THE WHY: Explaining the significance of your research

All are welcome! To participate, simply log in to Twitter, search for #AcWriChat, and tweet your responses to the questions being asked using the hashtag #AcWriChat. See you soon!

Have ideas for future chat topics? We’d love to hear them. Comment below!