Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 30, 2021

Writing is a complex process. It involves more than simply a dictionary of words and a style guide for assembling them. It takes creativity, confidence, understanding, editing, and support. This week’s collection of articles from around the web addresses all of these elements and more to support you as an author.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” I challenge you this week to seek new ideas, grow, and create more freely so that your writing can stretch the minds of others. Happy writing!

‘What tense should I write a scholarly abstract in?’ and other frequently asked questions about writing abstracts

Erin McTigue, a writing coach with The Positive Academic, and Wendi Kamman Zimmer, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University, answer four frequently asked questions about writing scholarly abstracts.

Q: How long is an abstract?

Zimmer: “While this depends on the journal you’re publishing in and the requirements of your field, it is generally 150-300 words.”

Q: What tense should I write an abstract in?

McTigue: “Usually the present tense is used for the opening statement, the past tense is used for the methods and results, and the present tense again for the conclusion. It is definitely okay to switch the tenses.”

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.”

Get your writing-themed t-shirts by Aug. 10

TAA is offering two writing-themed t-shirt designs for a limited time. Choose between two popular writing quotes. ‘Write Without Fear. Edit Without Mercy.’ and ‘Writing: Somewhere Between Torture and Fun’. Or, get both!

Super-soft high-quality fabric T’s. Both designs available in crew neck (unisex) or v-neck in Graphite Heather or Royal Frost. Sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2XL. Order by August 10. Shirts ship the week of August 30.

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

“Education is a continual process, it’s like a bicycle… If you don’t pedal you don’t go forward.” ~George Weah” width=”200″ height=”200″ />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.

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.