How to Write a Sophisticated, Dynamic Scholarly Argument

It is incumbent upon early-career academics to distinguish their research as mature scholarship, not student work. So as an editor who often works with junior faculty and recent PhDs, I’m always on the lookout for hallmarks of amateur writing that scholars can identify and excise.

Perhaps most academics can name some of the tics that unfortunately characterize graduate-student writing: overqualification, hedging, extensive literature review, and a high ratio of quotation to original material are just a few.

How to identify yourself as an academic writer

Doctoral study involves a transition from student to researcher; a key aspect of that transition is becoming an academic writer. This is not to say that most new PhDs would readily describe themselves as academic writers. But that level of accomplishment requires the development of a set of academic writing skills that were likely not present at the outset of doctoral study. It’s also likely the case that the development of those crucial skills was a significant challenge.

Q&A: Your dissertation as a journal article-Where do you submit it?

Q: “I have an idea for an article based on my dissertation, but I don’t know where to send it. How can I make a reasonable choice?”

A: Tara Gray, presenter of the Publish & Flourish: Become A Prolific Author workshop, sponsored by TAA:

“Ask your colleagues and consider the journals in your own bibliography. Then, query the journal editor by asking him or her if your manuscript fits their understanding of the journal’s mission.”