In 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.
This 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!
In the first two articles of this series, we explored The What: Defining a research project and The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment. In this article, we are focused on The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research. Discussion from this TweetChat event focused on accurately estimating the amount of time necessary for completing writing projects and strategies to better manage the time commitments during the writing project.
Q1/1a: Do you regularly track the time spent on research efforts? When planning a research project, do you tend to accurately predict, overestimate, or underestimate the time required?
This week’s quote – “Plagiarism: Getting in trouble for something you didn’t do.” – comes from an unknown source, but as often seems to be the case, the articles in our collection from around the web seem to have kindly fallen in line with this academic pun.
While our collection doesn’t have anything to do with the true definition of plagiarism, it does have a lot to do with the concept of getting in trouble for something you didn’t do. Specifically, problems or challenges may arise if you don’t check an index properly, if you don’t adequately prepare for a thesis proposal defense, if you don’t accept the dissertation publication requirement, if you don’t follow a traditional research path, if you don’t include your PhD on your CV (or if you do as the article discusses), if you linger in between identities during a career transition, if you don’t properly market yourself for a job, or if you don’t plan your approach attending a large conference.
As you approach your writing efforts this week, challenge yourself to not only look at accomplishing the things on your to-do list, but also examine the things that never made it there – the things that you aren’t doing that may be making your efforts more difficult than they need to be. Happy writing!
“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!
University librarians offer a wide range of services to faculty and students to support their research and scholarly writing projects. Many of these services are used widely by faculty on campuses across the country, while other services may be little known and little used. As dean of libraries at William and Mary, I make it a priority to work with library staff and faculty to identify needs, develop useful services, and then communicate their availability to faculty. Here I highlight a few of our library services and suggest how faculty at other institutions can work with their university librarians to access services and support.