Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 4, 2019

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” – Stephen KingThis week’s collection of posts from around the web is full of advice on a variety of topics of interest for academic and textbook authors. Topics include: creative thinking, co-writing, starting a PhD, starting a research network, dissemination of research, research feature creep, dissertation committee service, open access ethics, research data sharing, and academic book reviews.

As varied as this topic list may seem, collectively it represents some of the many questions and challenges faced by academic authors daily. Stephen King once said, “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” The same is true for your answers to these questions and challenges. If it doesn’t naturally fit your academic pursuits, it’s not the right path for this stage of your academic career. This week focus on the words that fit best for where you are in the process. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Musical chairs…and committees

In your dissertation trek, you may have a chair and committee who are steady, consistent, and infinitely supportive. If not, my condolences.

Students frequently describe their committees as just wanting to push those dissertations through, get their pittance, devote their time to revising and publishing their own (hard-won) dissertation, and jockeying for tenure. Graduate students also make the frequent mistake of thinking that their committees are reasonable, logical, well- organized, prompt about returning phone calls and manuscripts, and enjoying a balanced life, happy in their work. Rarely. [Read more…]

Are you whirling in the infinite loop of dissertation revisions?

If you’re writing your dissertation and have submitted your drafts to your chair and committee, you may have experienced a version of the infinite loop of revisions. The revisions may drive you crazy, but it’s actually possible to approach and handle them so they don’t erode your confidence (even more), deepen your depression, and thoroughly destroy your sanity.

A chair or committee’s cry for obsessive revisions can stem from one of two main motivations. Some professors can be perfectionist, vindictive, petty, and competitive, and their insistent revisions reflect less-than-healthy motivations. Other professors push you for revisions because they genuinely want a quality work, for you and for them (by reflection). Their comments are not personal, and they’re not out to get you. In fact, they likely see a publishable spinoff in your postdoc future. [Read more…]

For lagging doctoral candidates: How to finish your dissertation and keep your family

work from homeIf you are in the throes of your dissertation, you probably realize that, other than yourself, your family is most affected by your dissertation, and they most affect your progress. It can be hard for family members to understand what you’re going through and must continue to endure for several years.

A poignant example from one of my dissertation coaching clients: Ava wailed to me, “I get calls daily from my mother, my three sisters, and my two cousins! They all say they’re tired of me not coming to the family events. I had to go to the reunion!”

Like Ava’s relatives, family can start squeezing you. [Read more…]

Can I help you in any way? Dissertation

Can I help you in any way? Dissertation“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 questions about requirements related to writing a thesis or dissertation. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 31, 2019

"A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses." ~James AllenThis week’s collection of articles from around the web provides insight into a variety of ways that academics can improve their success both in their individual academic efforts and those that require collaboration or presentation of work to others.

We begin with advice on managing the isolation that often exists in academe and balance that with tips for collaborative writing. We then look at creative ways to reach new audiences, how to avoid a bad first impression, and different tactics for presenting at conferences. Finally we explore concepts of showing up, working on your own timeline, and preparing for the next steps in you academic efforts.

As James Allen shared in his book, As a Man Thinketh, “A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses.” This week, be limitless. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 24, 2019

"Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way." ~Ray BradburyThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes a variety of topics important to authors. We begin the collection with concepts of semantic gravity, using visuals, and personal safety. We then discuss PhD requirements for publishing and the process in New Zealand. Next we explore the use of social media for improving citations or sharing conference material. Finally we explore some of the changing landscape in academic publishing.

As you write this week, be true to yourself and your ideas. As once noted by Ray Bradbury, “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

#AcWriChat Tweet Chat: Not on Twitter? Watch live here

acwrimoJoin TAA on Twitter every other Friday at 11 a.m. ET using the hashtag #AcWriChat for a TweetChat on various aspects of academic writing.

Not on Twitter? Not sure what a “Tweet Chat” is? Follow us here (you won’t be able to actively participate, but you will be able to follow the chat live).

[Read more…]

Defensive scheduling: Increase your productivity & piece of mind

I am a big, big fan of protecting time in your schedule. I live and die by my Google calendar, because I can always access it, but on that calendar, you’ll find more than appointments.

There are two kinds of scheduling – appointment and defensive. Appointment scheduling is pretty self-explanatory – you have somewhere to be at a certain time, and so you put it in your calendar. These are the kinds of things that people usually use their calendar/schedule/planner for, and of course, it’s useful. It gets you to where you need to be when you need to be there!

But defensive scheduling is a little different. It’s about protecting time, rather than filling it up. You put something on your calendar so you WON’T give that time away to someone/something else. You claim your time before someone else does. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 12, 2019

"Plagiarism: Getting in trouble for something you didn't do."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! [Read more…]