4 Principles of academic revisions

A recent visitor to the TAA website used the live chat feature and stated, “I would like to know some academic principles we can use for revisions.”

As authors, revisions can be one of the most challenging parts of the writing process. Most writers create easily but find it difficult to critique and edit their own work. Regardless, the revision process is essential for producing polished and effective manuscripts.

4 Tips to help you lose the stress and enhance your writing

At the 2017 TAA conference, Robert Barlow shared “10 Tips to Enhance Your Writing & Take the Stress Out of Polishing Your Work”. Among the tips a common theme of planning and preparation provide the key to reducing the stress of the writing process.

Although the tips related to preparing for your audience and the style of your discipline are effective in framing the destination of your manuscript, and the grammatical tips are foundational, the four organization tips (organize, research, scaffold, and review) were the key takeaways for managing stress throughout the writing process.

5 Key principles to building clear text transitions

A common weakness in novice academic writing is a lack of flow; for readers, this lack of flow means they can’t easily see how one thought follows from another. To combat this problem, we need to learn how to make effective transitions between sentences. Such transitions are usually managed in one of two ways: through transition words or through evident links in the text. Both strategies have a role to play, but novice writers, unfortunately, often see transition words as their main way of moving from sentence to sentence.

Be strict about the type of editing that is suitable for each stage of the revision process

Advice about academic writing often stresses the iterative nature of the writing process; the creation of an effective final draft generally requires multiple drafts and extensive revision. A crucial corollary to a commitment to extensive revision is an acceptance that revision mustn’t be allowed to go on indefinitely. Otherwise, a certain mania can set in: any draft can always be other than it is. After a certain point, we have to ask ourselves about diminishing returns and about the very real possibility of messing up what is already working.

Use this revising strategy to make your writing flow

Q: What strategies do you use during the revision process?

A: Mike Kennamer: “Before I send the article to an editor, I always read it out loud as part of the editing process. I also try to get colleagues to read it and provide input before I send it off to the editor.

When a section just doesn’t seem to flow as I would like, I will print the article and (literally, with scissors) cut out each paragraph and lay it on the floor in the order that it is in for the article. Then I will start to move certain paragraphs around to see if that helps with flow. I use the floor because it gets me out of the normal place where I write. There is something about sitting on the floor with my work in little paragraph-sized slips of paper that helps

10 Tips for ESL/EFL academic writers (and everyone else, too)

Congratulations on learning English, the current lingua franca of international communication and the most difficult Western language to learn. I’m really glad it’s my native language. As a copy editor, I have worked for many years with scholars whose native language is not English. In 2008 I became house copy editor for the International Review of Public Administration, which at that time was published by the Korean Association for Public Administration and is now published by Taylor & Francis; more recently I took on the same role with Korean Social Science Journal. The majority of articles accepted for publication by IRPA and KSSJ are written by academics native in a language that is not English (with the majority of authors native in an Asian language). That work has led to my developing a specialty in working with ESL/EFL authors.