The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: July 6, 2018

"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up." ~Jane YolenJane Yolen once said, “Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” This week’s collection of articles includes discussions about the hard work of writing and the importance of tracking your time and productivity related to the craft. There are also articles on innovation and creativity in research and writing, a methodology study group, and FlatWorld’s impact in the textbook market.

As a reminder, registration for the TAA Writing Gym closes on Monday, July 9th. We encourage you to join the gym and spend the next six weeks exercising your writing muscles with other TAA members! [Read more…]

4 Tips for writing a literature review

library stacksLiterature reviews are common elements in academic writing, found in dissertations or theses, but also in journal articles, book introductions, book chapters, and even course exercises. Despite its prevalence in academia, the process of writing a literature review is often daunting to an academic author.

In her recent TAA webinar, “Demystifying the Literature Review”, Dr. Daveena Tauber, founder of Scholar Studio, shared four tips that can make the process easier. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: June 15, 2018

"It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way." ~Ernest HemingwayThis week’s collection of posts begins with articles focused on some of the writing challenges you may face – literature reviews, projects lost to life, grant application development, and other barriers that stop the publishing process at times. It continues with advice on writing with purpose, publishing for impact, transparency in peer review processes, surviving the doctoral defense process, and ways to maintain your mental health when making academic moves. We close with some insight into the impact of journal growth on impact factor, an open study on academic writing practices, and a look at how Google may be a journal publisher.

Ernest Hemingway said “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” Whether you are learning with us this week at the TAA Conference, currently enrolled in a graduate program, or simply continuing to improve your writing craft through self-study and daily experience, write like you were born that way! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: May 18, 2018

"If your writing doesn't keep you up at night, it won't keep anyone else up either." ~James M. CainThis week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with helpful advice on managing your writing time, your summer, and your academic career path from Masters to PhD. We then explore successful practices for crafting introductions, conducting a rapid evidence reviewing form of literature review, incorporating figures, understanding peer review, and writing successful grant applications. Finally, we review industry trends in writing discussions to journal papers, the evolution of the open access ecosystem, a new open access publishing platform for the social sciences, faculty presence in the open education movement, and the meaning of “inclusive” in digital textbook publishing.

James M. Cain suggests that “If your writing doesn’t keep you up at night, it won’t keep anyone else up either.” As you write this week, focus on the things that keep you up at night – the ideas that burn the strongest on your mind even when you aren’t writing – so that your writing can inspire and awaken those who read it. [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 writing posts of the week: February 5, 2016

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it W. Somerset Maugham — 'I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp.'strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
—W. Somerset Maugham

Do you sit and write religiously at the same time every single day? Disciplined like a marathon runner is to running every morning? Sometimes discipline and routine come easy. We have a goal that we want to achieve or a passion we are pursuing. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to be disciplined. We have to force ourselves to show up every day. Rewards and fast approaching deadlines do this well. Even frequent breaks and a change of scenery can help. But what other strategies do you use? What do you do on those days when anything at all seems more appealing than sitting to write?

Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: April 10, 2015

It’s a gloomy day here in Wisconsin. Rain hasWriting is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words. been falling steadily out my window since sunrise. You might think that on a day like today the words would flow easily on to my page, no outside temptation would be there to pull at my desires to be biking or running instead of writing. In fact the opposite happens. Raining days make me want to curl up in a blanket in my big comfy chair, read a book, and sip hot coffee from a large mug. On sunny days my motivation is in full force, the sun shining through my window and pushing me to work harder and faster so that I can get out the door and onto my bike. [Read more…]

How to Write a Sophisticated, Dynamic Scholarly Argument

Tweed Gears

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.

Another quirk I’ve noticed is that less effective manuscripts—whether they’re written by early-career scholars or not—tend to organize information into lists. That may not sound so damning, but lists become vulnerabilities when they are presented as arguments. [Read more…]