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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 9, 2021

“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.” ~Conrad HallWhat 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.

Conrad Hall reminds us, “You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.” Learn something new this week to grow and develop as an author. Happy writing!

3 Tips For Making Writing More Fun

Writing can be both rewarding and challenging. Most of the time, writing is an expression of creativity that makes us feel alive. At other times, getting words down feels like climbing a mountain. On those days, you might try almost anything to write. So we’ve come up with a few tips to help you make writing more fun.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated is hard. Many people, when they lack motivation, end up forever leaving their drafts unfinished. Writing a book is a challenge. It can seem like an unachievable task. What happens if you lack motivation? What should you do? Well, the one thing you shouldn’t do is give up writing your story. If you want to be a writer, you have to write.

How can we judge the trustworthiness of a research finding?

There are several alternative models for steps in judging how trustworthy any piece of research is (your own, or a study by someone else that you are reading). But they are very similar. The model below is perhaps the simplest, and has been shown to produce consistent ratings across teams of researchers.

Revisiting: How to Be A Good Peer Reviewer

In my experience, the streamlined process of peer review is complicated when reviewers with good intentions do bad things. A reviewer who does bad things displays behaviors that slow down or lessen the effectiveness of peer review. A good peer reviewer displays efficient behaviors and adds value to the process. The good thing about a reviewer who does bad things is that they can change.

The problem with gap talk

Gap talk. You know, the “this research fills a gap in the literature” line. Most of us have made this statement at some point in our academic life. It’s the most common starter for journal papers, proposals and theses, according to genre researchers. They’ve identified three moves in the game of what they call CARS, Create a Research Space.

The art of the ‘cold call’ email

Email is the lifeblood of university communications: quick, easy, painless… and so very easy to get wrong. We humans are a curious lot. We are highly social creatures but idiosyncratic. There is a lot of love, but also a lot of jostling for status and power. Academia, with its deeply middle class, coded language and manners is a real social challenge. Being an effective emailer in academia requires next level skills. It’s easy – all too easy – to get it wrong and, well – piss people off.