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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 8, 2020

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” ~Simon SinekWhy? The simplest and, at the same time, most complex question we can ask of ourselves in any situation. Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”

Our collection of articles this week includes a number of applications of the “why” in our work. From designing and publishing research to prioritizing and progressing on projects, in determining career paths after the PhD or looking at the future of publishing models, and finally, in how we conference and collaborate with others in our academic circles.

As you examine your writing projects this week, ask yourself why they’re important to you. The answer is what will drive them forward to completion. Happy writing!

Mixed methods: Readings about designing and publishing research

Mixed and multimethods research are our focus for May. Dr. Michael Fetters is our Mentor-in-Residence and webinar panelist. He is the editor of the SAGE Journal of Mixed Methods Research, an interdisciplinary, international publication, and author of the practical new Mixed Methods Workbook.

How to prioritise

Laurie’s question got me wondering whether people are having difficulty in prioritising during these lockdown times, particularly those who are not used to home working. I had a look round the blogs I’ve taken to checking before I write a post, in case the topic has already been covered: the Thesis Whisperer, the Research Whisperer, Pat Thomson and Raul Pacheco-Vega. I found quite a lot of advice about planning, but very little on prioritising. And they’re not the same thing.


The word progress has been playing on my mind recently. I am meant to be making progress on a book manuscript. But it has been slow. Painfully slow. If there is a writing equivalent to Shakespeare’s “shining morning face, creeping unwillingly to school” then I am it. As I am sure are many of you. Well I certainly hope I’m not the only one! Put it this way, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you weren’t in the same boat. Keeping going, one sentence after the other, but not making that much headway. A little bit each day.

PhD Talk for AcademicTransfer: Post-doc or faculty position after the PhD

I’m often asked what is best: to do a post-doc after your PhD, or directly go for a faculty position. As with all answers: it depends. Here are a few factors it depends on.

The megajournal lifecycle

Megajournals have been at the heart of the Open Access (OA) publishing model, spearheading its growth over the last 15 years. Titles such as PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports have been enormously influential and commercially successful. Nonetheless, the commercial success of megajournals is not guaranteed and their long-term performance has been occasionally unreliable, introducing uncertainty in an industry that has been particularly attractive to investors for its ability to generate low but sustainable growth.

So, all the conferences are cancelled. Now what?

Conferences are a major part of an academic life, of researcher lives, for networking and many other reasons. Often, conferences are where we connect with others in our discipline or methodological community, where we meet people, make contacts, expand our thinking, or where we share our research and our developing ideas. But with the advent of COVID-19, the conference cancellations have come in thick and fast. What does this mean for conversation, connection, collaboration and community building?

How to lead a videoconference

You’ve probably participated in webinars or online meetings that used videoconferencing technologies. Now, you need to organize, plan, and offer a class or event using these tools. The steps you take to prepare will make the difference between an engaging and productive opportunity, for a frustrating and boring experience. Let’s look at the what, why, and how of video conferencing in professional and academic contexts.