Distinguishing features of academic writing #4: Objectivity

fresh work area with a blank screen on the laptopA good researcher is objectively seeking answers to their research questions and reporting those findings objectively to the community at large. But what does it mean to write objectively? How do we maintain objectivity where possible? Finally, how do we make efforts to identify and avoid bias in our academic writing?

In our fourth discussion of the distinguishing features of academic writing, we discussed all of these questions. A summary of the discussion and related resources is below. [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #3: Formality

formalityAmerican poet, W.S. Merwin once said, “The idea of writing, to me, was, from the beginning, writing something which was a little different from the ordinary exchange of speech. It was something that had a certain formality, something in which the words were of interest in themselves.” Perhaps this same sentiment is the foundational principle from which academic writing has gotten its distinguishing feature of formality – to provide something in which the words are of interest in themselves.

In our third discussion of the distinguishing features of academic writing, we discussed what makes academic writing formal, the purpose of such formality, effect of formality on tone and word choice, whether there are levels of formality acceptable in academic writing, and ways to improve the formality of academic writing efforts. [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #2: Complexity

complexityAlbert Einstein is credited with saying, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” If this is true, why does it seem that academic writing is distinguished by complexity?

In this second discussion on the distinguishing features of academic writing, we aimed to understand why complexity is not only present, but acceptable in academic writing, and the challenges and benefits of reducing complexity while maintaining academic rigor. [Read more…]

Distinguishing features of academic writing #1: Precision

precision - pencil line being drawn with ruler on paperDuring the course of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) in November 2019, we explored five distinguishing features of academic writing – the first of which being precision.

What does it mean to write with academic precision? In this article, we recap the event where we sought the answer to this question. During the discussion, we also explored the importance of academic precision and the effects of word choice, active voice, redundancy, and organization on the goal of precision in our manuscripts. [Read more…]

Can I help you in any way? Essay writing

Can I help you in any way? Essay writing

“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 strategies for writing academic essays.

[Read more…]

Write with purpose, publish for impact

This post was originally published on SAGE MethodSpace and has been republished with permission.

SAGE MethodSpace logoWhen we put our thoughts into writing and publish them, we tell the world something about who we are. We move beyond circles of people who know us — colleagues and friends– to reach readers we will never meet. They learn about us from the choices reflected in our writing. What messages do you want to convey to your readers? [Read more…]

Pedagogy of book and chapter organization

knowledge typesDoes the organization of the textbook relate to pedagogical approaches used to teach with it? What pedagogical perspectives are represented by the organizational style we choose for a book and its chapters? These questions percolated through my work on a recently completed book manuscript. When thinking about the organization of the book, I reflected on ways people read books today and how they use them to learn. [Read more…]

TweetChat Recap: #AcWriChat 11/3 – Get Organized

AcWriMoOn November 3rd, TAA co-hosted its first TweetChat event with SAGE Methodspace as part of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo). The focus on this event was getting organized with your academic writing projects. Six questions were presented during the hour-long event on type of project, inspiration, organization steps, audience influence, desired impact, and next steps. The full conversation is available in the Storify record below. Mark your calendar and join the discussion this Friday, November 17th at 11am ET as we discuss writing productivity. Simply log in to your Twitter account and search for #AcWriChat. As questions are posted, tag your responses with the #AcWriChat hashtag. See you there! [Read more…]

Tip of the Trade: How do you track your ongoing projects and manuscripts?

White Board

This is an artist rendition of Kennamer’s white board.

“I use both a very low tech and a higher tech method. In my study I have a magnetic white board with which I track major projects. This is where I keep the ‘big picture’ components of ongoing projects. There are three columns labeled project, status, and comment. When I take on a new project I write in the project name and use a combination of writing and magnets to keep up with the status of projects. I continue tracking through receiving payment for the project. [Read more…]

Textbook Writing 101: An Interview with Michael Spiegler

Michael Spiegler

Michael Spiegler

Michael Spiegler is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Providence College. A successful textbook and academic author for more than 40 years, he is the author of 16 textbooks, including Personality, now in its 8th edition, and Contemporary Behavior Therapy, now in its 5th edition, both of which have been groundbreaking as textbooks and in redefining essential conceptual perspectives in their fields. Spiegler has also authored a professional book, 14 book chapters, and 21 articles and has delivered more than a 120 professional presentations.

As a sponsored presenter in TAA’s workshop program, Spiegler offers a textbook authoring workshop entitled Textbook Writing 101. Here he shares some of his textbook writing insights and tips. [Read more…]