The Why: Explaining the significance of your research

The Why: Explaining the significance of your researchIn the first four articles of this series, we examined The What: Defining a research project, The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment, The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research, and The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literature. In this article, we will explore the fifth, and final, W of academic writing, The Why: Explaining the significance of your research. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 3, 2019

"You fail only if you stop writing." ~Ray BradburyThis week’s collection of articles from around the web is full of opportunities. Opportunities to improve your academic reading practice, to tell your story, to make your writing more interesting, to broadcast your research, or to go freelance. It’s also filled with challenges and uncertainty. Challenges of parenting and academia, predatory journals, the uncertain future of university presses, neurodiversity in scholarly publishing, and the affect of the planned merger between Cengage and McGraw-Hill on the textbook market.

With each opportunity comes challenge and uncertainty. Equally so, with each challenge or uncertainty comes opportunity. As Ray Bradbury once said, “You fail only if you stop writing.” So, here’s to success. Happy writing! [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 5, 2019

"The scariest moment is always just before you start." ~Stephen KingStephen King once said, “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” In many of our textbook and academic authoring activities, we find the same to be true.

This week’s collection of articles from around the web address some common fears in our industry like low cost textbook alternatives, publisher production values, establishing significance, pursuing research efforts while raising a family, the dark side of academia, and the PhD journey.

With so much to fear, it can be paralyzing, but once we start, we most often find that the scariest moments are behind us and success lies ahead. This week challenge yourself to start something beyond your fears. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 29, 2019

spring blossomsThis week’s collection of articles from around the web has a spring-like atmosphere of newness, pruning, and growth. We begin with two questions: “What does academic work look like?” and “Which academics are happy?” We then explore emerging trends in the academic publishing lifecycle, revision processes, and synthesis in a literature review. We close with new ideas on re-reading and technological support for peer review.

Kelly Barnhill once said, “That’s the magic of revisions – every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.” Whatever revisions face your writing (or writing practices) this week, find the magic that helps you grow. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 22, 2019

"I've discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing." ~Anna Quindlen“I’ve discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing.” This advice from Anna Quindlen frames our collection of articles this week.

Recognizing the quality of our efforts and focusing on ways to improve our contribution to the field is core to writing success. We begin this week’s collection with an examination of effective feedback, finding the gap in the research, and getting into a habit of data management. We then explore the challenges and benefits of balancing family and academic lives. Finally, we close with a look at textbook subscriptions in the publishing market and how to construct a CV for the academic job market.

Whatever the state of your writing or career this week, start where you are, no matter how bad, it can eventually lead to something better, but doing nothing will certainly lead to nothing. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 1, 2019

"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up." ~Jane YolenJane Yolen reminds us to “Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” This week’s collection of articles from around the web provides some examples of just how to do that.

We begin our collection with a typical say in the life of five writers, planning scholarly visits, developing an academic home page, waiting on peer review, and counting down to thesis completion. We also found some articles of interest on the future of publishing platforms, books on pedagogy, and prioritizing organizational choices. Happy writing (every day)! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 3, 2018

"Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending." ~Henry Wadsworth LongfellowThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes several perspectives on expectations as they relate to doctoral studies, writing, and academic life. Do you have PhD fear? Accustomed to minimal writing or hyper performativity? Interested in the value of conference presentations, crowdfunding, or research ethics? Curious about the new age academic, life after the PhD, what can not be published, or how to engage the public in your scholarship? We’ve got it all in the list below!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow reminds us that “Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” This week I encourage you to define a finish line for one of your projects and celebrate an ending so you can move on to the next great beginning. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: June 1, 2018

"Reading sparks writing." ~A.D. PoseyThis week’s collection of useful posts from around the web begins with strategies for designing scientific posters, academic blogging, loving the PhD life, and dealing with reviewers’ comments. We then look at some innovative approaches to academia worthy of consideration, including how the success of LeBron James in professional basketball can be used as a model for academic success, tips for research commercialization, and the use of data citations as additional citations in our research.

As A.D. Posey reminds us, “reading sparks writing”, so we close our list this week with a list of open access best sellers that might just spark your writing in the week ahead. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: January 5, 2018

"Getting started on writing a book isn't as hard as it sounds. You don't need a plan and an outline. In fact, all you need are two things: time and one idea." ~Natasha LesterAs is often the case at the start of a new year, 2018 began with a wealth of change-focused and forward-thinking articles full of advice and projections for the year ahead. Specifically, our collection of posts for this week examine the end of stress for busy writers, mistakes that can hold you back as an author, and America’s public domain drought. They challenge the assumptions of trends in higher education, the value of writing self-efficacy, and what it means to be an academic. And finally, they suggest paths to success including themes rather than resolutions, tips for creating writing goals that work, a 5-day goal setting challenge, and a willingness to embrace your inner procrastinator.

Whatever 2018 has in store for you, we hope it includes progress and success in writing. After all, as Natasha Lester says, “Getting started on writing a book isn’t as hard as it sounds. You don’t need a plan and an outline. In fact, all you need are two things: time and one idea.” [Read more…]