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The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: November 16, 2018

Research and innovationHalfway through AcWriMo 2018, this week’s collection of articles from around the web explores topics of where to write, new options for sharing research efforts beyond the published results, and topics of etiquette and legal requirements in the modern communication age.

The collection begins with an article highlighting some of our discussion points from the 11/9 #AcWriChat TweetChat event hosted by TAA, written by Janet Salmons on the SAGE MethodSpace blog. We follow with thoughtful consideration of research theory, different methods for disseminating research efforts beyond words on a printed page or digital replicate, and new places for sharing our research, including public forums, podcasts, and new open access platforms. Our collection closes with topics of communication etiquette and the information needed for informed consent.

We hope that you are finding success in your writing as we enter the back half of AcWriMo 2018. Happy writing!

Office, home, coffee shop? Space for writing

As we think about what we are writing, we might also think about where we write. The recent Textbook and Academic Authors Association tweetchat focused on ways we choose and shape our writing environments. Facilitator Eric Schmieder posed a series of thought- provoking questions related to the ways we respond to our writing milieu. Those who participated in the chat talked about the ways their surroundings either helped them to focus, or sapped productivity with distractions.

Theory fright – part one

Lots of doctoral researchers worry about the Th word, Theory. When said aloud, you can often hear the capital T. It must be important. Theory. And perhaps because of the capital T, the question “What’s your theoretical framework?” can reduce doctoral researchers to a state of near panic.

Transforming the research paper into a functional tool

Today, with advances in technology that enable us to distribute far more than just words on pages, we can push the boundaries further to capture, connect, and circulate different research artifacts that substantiate the scientific process to facilitate greater insight. Much of what occurs before publication – the experimentation, the analysis, and the possibility that results will disprove the hypothesis – can now be shared. So too, as innovations such as are demonstrating, can the conversation that takes place around that research.

Take your scholarship public

Our campus recently finished up our Three Minute Thesis competition and I once again found myself in awe of my fellow graduate students. It’s not just the fascinating research that they are conducting, but also their ability to so effectively translate it for a general audience, to take complex topics from the cutting edge of their discipline and convey their essential elements to non-experts. From several years of experience working with graduate students in a writing center, I know that this translational task is among the most difficult challenges that many graduate students face. Yet in a world of tight university and research budgets, the ability to communicate scholarly research to general audiences is also among the most valuable skills that a graduate student can develop.

Writing and podcasting

It is Academic Writing Month at SAGE MethodSpace, and for 2018 we are looking at ways researchers develop a holistic publication strategy. In a media-oriented world, this means looking at options beyond writing. Scholars can choose different strategies depending on whether they are trying to disseminate research findings, share new ideas to benefit academics or practitioners, or build a network of colleagues. Podcasting is one option we will explore during #AcWriMo.

Research counts, not the journal

As we’re exploring post-publication peer review and the use of preprints, working only open access and bypassing for-profit publishers, this paper is on the Zenodo platform and open for discussion on ResearchGate. I’d be grateful if you find a moment to read the paper and share your thoughts with us on its contents!

Professional modes of contact

Our ways of communicating for work are developing so fast that etiquette can’t catch up. I’ve seen earnest discussions online about email etiquette: when to sign off with ‘best wishes’ and when to use ‘kind regards’; whether it’s ever acceptable to use ‘wbw’ (short for ‘with best wishes’) or, even more daringly, nothing at all. Opinions always vary. Nobody knows whether it’s OK to address an email to someone using their given name if you haven’t met them face-to-face. Similar questions of etiquette arise for WhatsApp groups (can you leave if it’s a work-based group?), Skype conversations (when is it OK to use the instant messaging feature?), and so on.

What type of information must be included in an informed consent form?

The federal research regulations (45 C.F.R. § 46.116 (a)(5)(i)) stipulate that consent forms must first concisely describe key information about the study that prospective participants will likely want to know to make an informed decision about participation before providing more detailed information about the research. The federal research regulations (45 C.F.R. § 46.116 (b)) also list the required information to include in informed consent forms.