Conducting online research

conducting researchOn June 26th, TAA hosted an #AcWriChat Tweetchat event focused on online research strategies. Resources were shared relative to conducting online research, specifically on validating sources, collecting primary source data, qualitative and quantitative research practices, and online research tools.

Below is a summary of the discussion. [Read more…]

Writing stalled? Send yourself a letter

Letter to yourselfWhen I scanned the mail the other day, one letter caught my eye. I couldn’t quite place the handwriting and tore open the letter. To my shock, I saw I’d written it to myself.

Maybe I should have recognized my own handwriting, but it was like seeing yourself reflected in a window. Even though certain aspects look familiar, we often don’t have a clear picture of what we look like—or write like.

Three weeks earlier, I’d received a rejection for a particularly important writing project. After I poured out my despondency to a friend, she suggested writing a letter to myself venting my frustrations, extolling my virtues, and declaring my writing goals and mailing the letter without a second glance or draft. It should be postal mail, she emphasized—email wasn’t quite the same. I thought this idea a little hokey, but desperate followed her advice. [Read more…]

Jumpstart your writing productivity this summer: Join the TAA Writing Gym

Writing GymFlex your writing muscles in the TAA Writing Gym! This 6-week work-out-on-your-own gym time will serve as your writing accountability partner as you work to achieve your writing goals. The gym is open to those writing textbooks, scholarly journal articles, and dissertations.

Here’s what previous Writing Gym participants have had to say:

“The writing gym was fantastic. It raised my commitment to writing productively.”

“I loved the opportunity to change my writing habits. Now I am feeling guilty if I don’t at least find 30 minutes to work on a project!”

The gym will be open 24/7 from July 20-August 29, 2020. Gym time includes:

  • A TAA Writing Gym-branded writing journal
  • Weekly inspirational emails
  • Six on-demand writing classes
  • Several writing stations that allow you to target specific writing areas
  • A participation certificate (view sample)

At the end of each week you’ll be asked to share your accomplishments for weekly prize drawings.

Members: $49
Non-Members: $99 (includes a one-year TAA membership)

The deadline for signing up is July 13. We hope you’ll join us!

Turning ideas into text

ideas into textDuring our May 29th #AcWriChat TweetChat event on Twitter, we discussed how academic writers turn ideas into text. Specifically, we considered how ideas are generated, ways to use freewriting to generate ideas, methods for prioritizing ideas and project tasks, strategies for writing the first draft and ways that the draft can help refine the idea.

Below is a summary of the ideas shared during the discussion. [Read more…]

Effective reading is the source of better writing

AcWriChatAccording to the University of Richmond Writing Center, “Reading and writing are very closely related. If a writer doesn’t understand the material they are reading, chances are they will not be able to write about it successfully.” This premise was the foundation of our May 15th AcWriChat discussion on Twitter where we discussed effective reading habits of academics.

Event participants, Danielle Apfelbaum, Marc A. Ouellette, and Sonal A. Mehta added personal perspective to the discussion. During the TweetChat event we asked about ways to make reading efforts more effective, strategies to improve notetaking, post-reading processes, and how reading outside your discipline can improve your academic writing. Below is a summary of key insights from the discussion. [Read more…]

10 Steps to becoming a prolific scholar

Last week, Tara Gray, author of Publish & Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar, shared insight on scholarly productivity and publishing in a series of articles on our blog. Gray also shared her experience and wisdom in a two-part TAA webinar series in March where she outlined a 10-step approach to drafting and revising scholarly manuscripts – quickly and well. [Read more…]

Polishing your scholarly manuscript–and letting it go

man writingIn this post, the fifth in a series of five, you will learn how to polish your prose by reading it out loud “backwards”—and then letting it go.

Before submitting your manuscript, read the manuscript out loud read it out loud s-l-o-w-l-y (Goodson, 2017, p. 36). To force yourself to read slowly, try reading your prose paragraph by paragraph backwards. That is, start with the last paragraph in your manuscript and move backward paragraph by paragraph until you reach the first paragraph. You will read more slowly because reading backwards is somewhat jarring. You will focus on each paragraph so you see problems that were previously invisible to you. You will read as though you were reading for the first time. You will divorce yourself from your prose and gain some distance from—and perspective about—your writing. You will see your manuscript through a new lens because what you were thinking at the time that you wrote and what you actually wrote can be different. [Read more…]

Solicit and use informal feedback before formal peer review

woman writerThis post, the fourth in a series of five, shows you how to seek informal feedback before formal review, which will increase your chances for getting manuscripts accepted and grants funded. After peer review, journal articles improve on 33 out of 34 measures (Goodman et al., 1994). There is no reason to believe that this is any different for informal reviews. You can seek informal feedback effectively by asking the right readers for the right kind of feedback—and then listening avidly and responding quickly and thoroughly.

Seek informal feedback before seeking formal peer review because it is the eyes of our readers that really “count”—we are not (supposed to be) communicating primarily with ourselves. [Read more…]

Organizing scholarly manuscripts—briskly and well

woman writingWant to publish in better journals and get more grants? Organization is the skeleton of a manuscript, its very structure. Get it right and the manuscript works. Get it wrong and it doesn’t. In this post, the third in a series of five, you will learn how to organize paragraphs around key or topic sentences, list those sentences in a “reverse” outline, and examine the list for clarity and organization. More than 90 scholars who tried these strategies were studied and 95 percent reported that their writing was clearer, better organized, and more compelling (Gray et al., 2018).

Identify—or write—a topic or key sentence for each manuscript and paragraph. A topic sentence may announce only the topic, but a key sentence also announces the point. So a topic sentence might say, “Next, we discuss the nutritional value of apples and oranges.” [Read more…]

Drafting scholarly manuscripts—briskly and well

man writingThis post, the second in a series of five, offers strategies that can help you learn to draft briskly and well. Draft your manuscript without revising as you draft and outline your manuscript based on an exemplar or an excellent publication, thesis, or grant proposal.

Writing informally is helpful for your very first draft—or anytime you are drafting a new paragraph or section. Writing informally can mean freewriting—or freely dictating—continuously without stopping and without revising your work. As you freewrite, conduct a conversation with yourself about whatever you are reading, whoever you are surveying or whatever is happening in your experiment. Converse with yourself to keep a written record of your thoughts as you research, however crude, so that you can read them later, revise them, and rachet up your thinking to the next level. [Read more…]