Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 20, 2019

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest HemingwayThis week’s collection of articles from around the web is laden with questions. How do I approach an inter-disciplinary thesis? I’ve passed my comps – now what? How do I plan my first draft and get the right stuff in the right order? What are the ethical issues of working with literature? How can I be a good peer reviewer? How do we support research engagement? How can I deal with the growing complexities of international collaboration? And the theme across Peer Review Week 2019, how many ways can you define quality in peer review?

Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” As we come to the close of Peer Review Week 2019 it is fitting to remember that our peers are apprentices as well in this craft. None of us have all of the answers to the questions above or the countless others that face us as academic writers. We learn from each other and grow stronger in our writing and disciplines as a result. This week, embrace your apprenticeship status and Happy Writing! [Read more…]

Crafting meaningful stories to bring research methods to life

What's your story?Stories engage readers. We can use stories to show how the ideas or strategies we are discussing might play out in a particular social, cultural, or organizational context. I often write about research methods, and find that stories can help readers see how the pieces of a research design fit together. Stories can be presented in a fully-developed research case, or as an engaging example inserted within an article or book chapter.

For my first research book, Online Interviews in Real Time, I thought it was important to include stories. Online methods were new and few robust descriptions were available that showed how they actually worked. I found six researchers who were doing interesting online research, and interviewed them. I crafted a section for each chapter called “Researchers’ Notebook: Stories of Online Inquiry.” Readers could see how each of these researchers handled ethical dilemmas or sampling. The companion website linked to additional materials from the researchers’ work.

Several books later, I am getting ready to write a new edition for Doing Qualitative Research Online and again want to include stories in a “Researchers’ Notebook.” I know that more researchers are incorporating stories, so I wondered whether their lessons learned might help me prepare to move forward. In this post I will share a few tips and examples I discovered in three open access articles. In a future post I will look at digital and visual storytelling and how I can use these approaches in ancillary materials. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 13, 2019

“You can fix anything but a blank page.” – Nora RobertsNora Roberts once said, “You can fix anything but a blank page.” As we prepare for Peer Review Week 2019 next week, we find in our collection of articles from around the web others looking ahead to the event and many other items for consideration in the world of academic writing.

Our list includes advice on what to do in between submission and examination of your thesis, methods for work-life balance, holistic approaches to teaching and mentoring researchers, gamification of academic writing, ethics in data science, pathways to open access, and the art and science of image description.

No matter where your textbook and academic writing efforts take you this week, be sure to start somewhere. After all, you can’t fix a blank page. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 6, 2019

Trust yourselfThis week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with prompts to stimulate your thinking and methods for finding papers for your literature review. It continues with the importance of validating faculty research, consideration of your timeline for finishing a PhD, and expectations when presenting research to an industry audience. Finally, we have some noteworthy industry news on cost per use value models, the value of the big deal, the Cengage-McGraw Hill merger, and a new textbook model at UC Davis.

Neil Gaiman once said, “The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” This week, trust yourself and happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 23, 2019

“The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” – Charles DickensFor many of us, we are at the start of a new academic year, whether as students, faculty, or both. This time of year is laden with opportunity and, oftentimes, apprehension and stress for what’s to come and all that needs to be accomplished. New years bring new challenges and new possibilities in a sea of ever-changing processes and populations.

This week’s collection of posts from around the web will hopefully help you find greater opportunities for success and purpose to the process as we explore the value of writing centers and writing groups, established and new research processes, and ways to improve scholarly communication and dissemination of research.

Charles Dickens wrote, “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” What have you been wishing for in your academic writing efforts? It’s time to stop wishing and start doing. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 16, 2019

“I start with a question. Then try to answer it.” – Mary Lee SettleMary Lee Settle once said, “I start with a question. Then try to answer it.” Isn’t this the foundation of academic work and writing? To find answers to questions. This week’s collection of articles from around the web share a few answers as well as new questions important to authors.

For those asking about the right tools for academic writing, we may have the answers in our first couple links. Wondering if there is a better way to describe academic writing than the pre-writing, writing, and post writing revision description commonly used, Pat Thomson may have the answer below. Questioning quality criteria in scholarship and science or the liability associated with linking to content on Sci-Hub, answers may await in this week’s collection. We also may have some answers (and even more questions) related to applying for an alt-ac job, teaching research methods, the future of FAIR, and the most recent law suit against Cengage by authors.

The world of textbook and academic writing is filled with questions and answers – some of which lead us to even more questions. This week, challenge yourself to answer the questions you have and to share them through your work. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The Why: Explaining the significance of your research

The Why: Explaining the significance of your researchIn the first four articles of this series, we examined The What: Defining a research project, The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment, The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research, and The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literature. In this article, we will explore the fifth, and final, W of academic writing, The Why: Explaining the significance of your research. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 19, 2019

Checklist with two options: yes or noYes or no? The simplest of questions, with the simplest of answers, yet often applied to the most difficult of concepts and discussions. This week’s collection of articles explores several questions you may be asking: Is Sci-Hub good for scholarly communication? Is this the best method for planning? Should we invest more in understanding the researcher experience? Should I hire a proofreader or editor? Should I pre-publish my research? Should I publish in open access journals?

Yes or no? No longer the simplest of answers. The truth is that as we explore these and other questions of value, the answer is rarely as simple as yes or no. It’s more often “whatever is right for you” or, in other words, maybe. But those decisions are what move us forward.

Are you ready to move forward with your writing this week? Yes or no? Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 18, 2019

"All writing is rewriting." ~John GreenAccording to John Green, “All writing is rewriting.” In this week’s collection of posts from around the web, we have a number of revised methods for research and writing efforts discussed.

Beginning with a discussion of the impact of Plan S on researchers, a new approach to Eva Lantsoght’s “This is How I Work” interview series, and the criteria for choosing a research approach, we explore changes that impact academic writing on many levels. Our list continues with a discussion of the thoughts that lead to light bulb moments, mixed, virtual, and augmented realities in scholarly publishing and social research, and a collection of global insights compiled by Scholarly Kitchen.

Perhaps your rewriting efforts this week are literal revisions of your latest article. Perhaps they’re more a revision of thought or process. Whatever change you are experiencing, however, embrace it this week. Rewrite your draft or your mindset and happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 28, 2018

Reading books is like wearing clothes; it covers and warms up the body of your soul.

While most of the academic and textbook community contributors have been quiet throughout this holiday week, we were able to find a few resources that may be of interest as you close out 2018 and prepare for the new year ahead.

At TAA, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season and hope that you will continue to engage with us in 2019. Happy writing!

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