How to edit your work for proper format and quality presentation

AcWriChatLast week during TAA’s bi-weekly #AcWriChat TweetChat event on Twitter, we discussed how to edit your academic writing for proper format and quality presentation. Included in the discussion were the three common style guides (APA, MLA, and Chicago), common practices and mistakes, and the effect of poor formatting and presentation on credibility of the work. We also discussed how to evaluate flow and what elements of consistency should be evaluated during the editing process. [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #5: Accuracy

accuracyIn our final discussion of this series on distinguishing features of academic writing, we focused on accuracy. Specifically, we considered what it means to be accurate, how understanding and vocabulary affects accuracy, how to check for accuracy in sources we use, how accuracy affects the structure, style, and grammar of a manuscript, and why accuracy is important in academic writing. Below is a summary of the discussion. [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #4: Objectivity

fresh work area with a blank screen on the laptopA good researcher is objectively seeking answers to their research questions and reporting those findings objectively to the community at large. But what does it mean to write objectively? How do we maintain objectivity where possible? Finally, how do we make efforts to identify and avoid bias in our academic writing?

In our fourth discussion of the distinguishing features of academic writing, we discussed all of these questions. A summary of the discussion and related resources is below. [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #3: Formality

formalityAmerican poet, W.S. Merwin once said, “The idea of writing, to me, was, from the beginning, writing something which was a little different from the ordinary exchange of speech. It was something that had a certain formality, something in which the words were of interest in themselves.” Perhaps this same sentiment is the foundational principle from which academic writing has gotten its distinguishing feature of formality – to provide something in which the words are of interest in themselves.

In our third discussion of the distinguishing features of academic writing, we discussed what makes academic writing formal, the purpose of such formality, effect of formality on tone and word choice, whether there are levels of formality acceptable in academic writing, and ways to improve the formality of academic writing efforts. [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #2: Complexity

complexityAlbert Einstein is credited with saying, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” If this is true, why does it seem that academic writing is distinguished by complexity?

In this second discussion on the distinguishing features of academic writing, we aimed to understand why complexity is not only present, but acceptable in academic writing, and the challenges and benefits of reducing complexity while maintaining academic rigor. [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #1: Precision

precision - pencil line being drawn with ruler on paperDuring the course of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) in November 2019, we explored five distinguishing features of academic writing – the first of which being precision.

What does it mean to write with academic precision? In this article, we recap the event where we sought the answer to this question. During the discussion, we also explored the importance of academic precision and the effects of word choice, active voice, redundancy, and organization on the goal of precision in our manuscripts. [Read more…]

Can I help you in any way? Revisions and editing

Can I help you in any way? Revisions and editing“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on a question about academic principles for revisions. [Read more…]

Self-editing: Making your work its best possible self

self-editingThe thought of editing your work evokes many responses. While some people do enjoy refining their writing, some people view it as a chore. Others feel insecure about their ability to edit anything, let alone their own work.

Here are some self-editing best practices to smooth the tasks ahead: [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 26, 2019

person actively working on a laptopIt’s the end of April. A time when many academics are faced with countless deadlines, upcoming graduations, and new beginnings – all of which carrying their own advantages and challenges. In this week’s collection of posts from around the web, we find advice and resources to promote success in those academic endeavors.

First, if actively writing, don’t overlook the value of editing in the process and be open to potential changes in your plan as you balance your ideal with the reality of deadlines. To support your writing efforts, explore the advantages that personal industry groups and artificial intelligence tools may provide. Keep in mind the reality of semester rhythms, associated burnout, and the need to find balance among your various work-related efforts. Finally, for those embarking on new beginnings as the academic year comes to a close, we share information on the first Read and Publish deal in the US and a list of academic job interview questions (and how to answer them).

As you enter this next week, take things as they come. Focus on each task without getting lost in the potential overwhelm of everything that this part of the academic season often brings. Find a balance for your work. Enjoy the endings and completions, and look forward to the beginnings lying ahead. And through it all, happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 19, 2019

Checklist with two options: yes or noYes or no? The simplest of questions, with the simplest of answers, yet often applied to the most difficult of concepts and discussions. This week’s collection of articles explores several questions you may be asking: Is Sci-Hub good for scholarly communication? Is this the best method for planning? Should we invest more in understanding the researcher experience? Should I hire a proofreader or editor? Should I pre-publish my research? Should I publish in open access journals?

Yes or no? No longer the simplest of answers. The truth is that as we explore these and other questions of value, the answer is rarely as simple as yes or no. It’s more often “whatever is right for you” or, in other words, maybe. But those decisions are what move us forward.

Are you ready to move forward with your writing this week? Yes or no? Happy writing! [Read more…]