7 Tips for constructing effective tables and figures

Figures with writingIt’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and for this reason using visual elements within your manuscript can help to keep the writing concise and effective. But how can you be sure that the words conveyed are delivering the right message?

Below you will find seven tips for incorporating tables and figures into your work.

Use visuals that enhance the manuscript

Most scholars agree that if the idea conveyed by a table or figure can be done with a sentence or two, the visual is likely unnecessary and the concept should be written in paragraph form. For larger data sets, complex ideas, or schematics, however, the use of visuals can simplify the understanding and reduce the overall word count needed to convey the information. [Read more…]

How to write an effective journal article abstract

Hand extended welcominglyHave you heard the saying “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”? For most research articles, the abstract is the first – and possibly the last – impression an author has on a potential reader. If ineffective, the researcher will move on to the next abstract in the search results. If effective, your article will be read further, and potentially cited in the new research.

The ability of your abstract to encourage the researcher to read further determines whether you have an opportunity to make an impact with your article. So how do you ensure a quality first impression? [Read more…]

Creating balance through writing and nature

Creating Balance Through Writing and NatureAs a writing coach who works with academics, one of the stumbling blocks my clients come up against at a certain point in their career is what I call “path block.” This usually happens, ironically, after a big success: finishing the dissertation, getting a new job, or having a book published.

I understand this block and I have experienced it myself. Nature even gave me a literal experience of this block one day many years ago when I was walking in the woods behind my house and the briars and brambles around me stopped me in my tracks. I thought to myself, “It would be so much easier if I had a path.” I looked down and there on the ground was a hawk feather. I picked it up and realized I must make my own path. [Read more…]

Don’t use a scalpel to peel an apple

One of my favorite people was the legendary football coach, Vintage typewriterPaul “Bear” Bryant. One event stands out. Coach Bryant had won more games than had any other coach, and his institution, The University of Alabama, had won more national championships than any other institution. A rookie player had made a great touchdown and had let everyone know it by spiking the ball. The Bear calmly called him over to the bench and said, “Son, don’t act like this is the only time you have ever made a great play.” [Read more…]