The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: June 8, 2018

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ~Oscar WildeOscar Wilde once said, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” This week’s collection of articles has many things to read that may help you today or be foundation for who you will be in the future.

The list begins with helpful advice on bio-notes, collaboration, managing research notes, reviving “dead” writing projects, and working with data visualization and research. We then explore some insight into grant applications and journal paper review processes before closing with discussions of open access initiatives in textbook and academic authoring environments and the announcement of Eva O. L. Lantsoght’s new book, The A-Z of the PhD Trajectory.

Whatever you read from this list or otherwise this week, choose items that will continue to shape your career as an author both now and when you can’t help it. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: May 25, 2018

"That isn't writing at all, it's typing." ~Truman CapoteThis week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with advice and perspectives on research cases, grant applications, using figures in your papers, and developing a strategic publication plan for your research. We then explore changes and challenges in academia including a look at the modern day scholar and mixed methods research. Finally, we see industry changes in library subscriptions, the school publishing industry, open access, and textbook distribution models.

Truman Capote once said, “That isn’t writing at all, it’s typing.” Whether you are writing or typing, continue to find ways to get your ideas onto paper this week. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: May 11, 2018

"You're writing someones 'future' favorite book." ~M. KirinOne thing’s for certain in life. The future is always unwritten. No matter the past experiences or institutional standards, we must change, adapt, and grow with each day – and our writing must as well.

This week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with writing habits, creative research methods, practices for overcoming writer’s block, and ways to evaluate data sources. It continues with exploration of fears and uncertainties related to sharing grant applications and pursuing a PhD as a single parent. Finally, we close with considerations of changes in subscription models, including cancellations of traditional journal subscriptions by universities, and the impact of recent changes in how Facebook is sharing data with the research community.

M. Kirin reminds all authors that “you’re writing someone’s ‘future’ favorite book.” Despite any challenges, fear, anxieties, or past experiences, I hope this week you can focus on the future and share your message through your writing. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: April 27, 2018

"Writing a book is burning your brain to enlighten another man's mind." ~Bangambiki HabyarimanaAccording to Bangambiki Habyarimana, “Writing a book is burning your brain to enlighten another man’s mind.” Our collection of articles from around the web this week begins with thoughts on writing book chapters, publishing expectations on the tenure track, and advice on growing a platform to land a book deal. We then explore the existence of bad writing advice and the consequences of bad research practices. Finally, we explore the ongoing impact of ed tech, the potential affect of automation in research, a new digital homework platform from FlatWorld, and a three-pronged approach to fighting digital piracy.

As you enter this new week of writing, approach your practice with integrity and innovation that serves to enlighten the minds of your readers. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: April 20, 2018

"Writing is the light of imagination playing over shadow of thoughts" ~Khaled TalibThis week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a lot of advice for academic authors including key writing skills, tips for communicating with your dissertation chair, coping strategies, and books on writing productivity. It also contains information on changes in research and edtech, including Google’s “Talk to Books”, a study on uncited research, necessary support and incentives for sharing data, and a scam involving forged acceptance letters from journals. Finally, we have an article on a technology platform for textbook authors designed to keep textbooks current.

According to Khaled Talib, “Writing is the light of imagination playing over shadow of thoughts.” This week let your imagination drive your research and creativity to enhance your writing. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: March 23, 2018

"I've discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing." ~Anna QuindlenThis week our collection of articles from around the web begins with advice on staying informed about scholarly communications and the opportunities existing in the global e-book market. We then found support for your writing with The Monthly Weeklies online group for goal setting and project management, ten steps for doing a literature review, and advice on writing research questions. Closing out our list this week are two posts regarding research ethics, including a list of Open Access ethics resources for researchers.

As you continue researching and writing, consider this advice from Anna Quindlen — “I’ve discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing.” This week, write something. It might just lead to something better. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: January 19, 2018

"Writing is an adventure. There is no way to know where it will take you, and what you will find. You could find success. You could find fans. Or, best of all, you could find yourself." ~M. KirinThis week’s collection of textbook and academic posts from around the web begins with predictions and strategies for the coming year. It provides resources for jumpstarting book reviews, improving your writing, understanding research ethics, and protecting and expanding the public domain. Finally, it explores the impact of new initiatives like RA21: Resource Access for the 21st Century, a new open access megajournal from UCL Press, Digital Science’s new citation database – Dimensions, and the Open Access Journal Finder (OAJF) from Enago.

With so many changes in sight, it’s anyone’s guess where 2018 will take us, but as we explore the potential ahead, keep in mind the words of M. Kirin. “Writing is an adventure. There is no way to know where it will take you, and what you will find. You could find success. You could find fans. Or, best of all, you could find yourself.” Wishing you many great discoveries in the week ahead. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: January 12, 2018

"Most writing doesn't take place on the page; it takes place in your head." ~Susan Orlean“Most writing doesn’t take place on the page; it takes place in your head.” says Susan Orlean. This week’s collection of articles is full of resources to improve those internal processes that move your writing forward. Beginning with advice on how to improve your writing practices, considering what types of case studies get published, new approaches by textbook companies, and tips for promoting self-published book series, we open ourselves up to new ideas in the writing industry. With that open mind, we continue to see trends in Open Access, the need for new approaches to style guides, the impact of libraries on the adoption of OER, and the future of the OA megajournal. Finally, we close our list this week with an invitation to an open house hosted by SAGE Research Methods in February and early March.

As you approach your writing this week, open yourself up to new ideas, new practices, and new ways of thinking and be sure to get some of that writing out of your head and onto the page as well. [Read more…]

Five strategies for successful report and essay writing

Dr. Kathleen P. King

Dr. Kathleen P. King

Many people struggle greatly with writing reports and essays. From developing topics, to conducting research, to formulating their non-fiction documents, the process of writing reports and essays can be such an unwelcome task that some people consider it a cruel punishment.

Here are five successful strategies I have used with many professionals and students that can serve as a stepping stone to transforming these experiences of dread into confidence:

Strategy 1: Research. Regardless if one is writing fiction or nonfiction, the author must do sufficient research to provide substantial background for the work ahead. This research can take many forms, depending on the type of writing, but it is absolutely necessary to have deep, broad information to provide full detail and accuracy in the account.

Strategy 2: Determine Your Angle. Once you, the author, have the information, it is critical to determine your unique perspective or angle to approach the topic. How will you introduce your reader to this portrayal in unique way which will sustain his attention through a compelling account? Developing such an approach is a vital starting point.

Strategy 3. Discovering Your Concept Maps. In order to determine your unique approach, it may be helpful to write key points of information on paper or digital note cards. Examine the information and look for trends, patterns, and groupings of themes or topics. See if you can envision ways the information can be arranged to present it clearly and fully to the readers. In this manner, you may discover your unique angle, and certainly a good start on Strategy 4.

Strategy 4. Organize Your Work; Outline is not a nasty word! Our fourth grade teachers taught us to use outlines for our writing, but we all try to find a shortcut. After about five books and over 100 published articles and papers, I finally gave in and realized my teachers were right. Before I start writing in earnest, I now create a tentative outline that will morph with my work. It provides indispensable guidance and framing of my many hours of work. Colleagues I have worked with have found this approach equally as beneficial, and I expect you will as well.

Strategy 5. Cyclical Writing. The strategy of cyclical writing is a surprise to many professionals and students. Many people believe they must write documents from beginning to end in their entirety. Instead, I have found it very successful and rewarding to work through the outline in a cyclical manner. The first time through, I do a few sentences for each outline point; then maybe the next time through, I write a paragraph on each point. Finally, I begin settling down to write in different areas. By approaching the writing process in his manner, it keeps me focused on the big picture, the entire flow of the piece. Otherwise, the sections might become disjointed if two months are spent on one chapter before finally moving to the next. By working through all of the chapters and points repeatedly (iteratively) authors can weave together the style, voice, and flow of the content, details, and the plot or message.

Dr. Kathleen P. King (EdD), Certified Coach, Author, Keynote Speaker, Professor of Education (http://www.facultyspeaker.com) is an award-winning author of 17 books (3 more in process at this time) and a dynamic, interactive keynoter, and author who invigorates audiences on a variety of professional topics.