Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 17, 2019

"It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different." ~Scott BerkunThis week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a number of articles focused on the aspects of writer’s life that are not directly related to the task of writing. Things like use of figures, evaluation methods, motivational efforts, discussion, and networking opportunities.

These same things, while supportive of our writing practice, may also prove to be a distraction or cause of fear of evaluation of our own writing. While it is important to keep them in mind and to incorporate them into our overall writing process, we must be sure to use them in a way that moves us further along in our writing efforts. As Scott Berkun once said, “It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different.” This week let the evaluation, nagging, discussion, and presentation of your work drive you to be better and to move forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research

The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your researchIn the first two articles of this series, we explored The What: Defining a research project and The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment. In this article, we are focused on The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research. Discussion from this TweetChat event focused on accurately estimating the amount of time necessary for completing writing projects and strategies to better manage the time commitments during the writing project.

Q1/1a: Do you regularly track the time spent on research efforts? When planning a research project, do you tend to accurately predict, overestimate, or underestimate the time required? [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: May 4, 2018

"Sometimes writing is like playing with fire...like trying to tame an uncontrollable beast." ~A.D. PoseyA.D. Posey once said, “Sometimes writing is like playing with fire…like trying to tame an uncontrollable beast.” Each year as May arrives, bringing with it the end of an academic school year for many, things can often feel out of control. This week’s collection of articles addresses some of the common issues faced by academics and authors.

For starters, concerns of overwhelm, contribution, speed, soft skills, and academic behavior are highlighted in the posts. We then found articles that discussed relationships both with other researchers, and with family during times of research. [Read more…]

3 Big hints for doing research the easy way

Isn’t research supposed to be EASIER with the research word on wood stamps and booksadvent of the Internet? Then why is it so hard to find that perfect piece of information for your journal article or textbook?

It’s hard because there are a couple of tricks you may not know..…yet. Those tricks (let’s call them “hints”) can help prevent junk information overload – and instead hone in on what you really need.

The three big hints:

  1. Your starting point: Use the web as a starting point for research, then use that information to verify and expand upon your research. Wikipedia and other websites can offer great background information – dates, major names, key terms, and so on. But these same sites may not be authoritative – the information could be MISinformation. So use them to quickly learn more about your topic so that you can then verify and/or add to the information using more traditional tools, such as books or journal articles. [Read more…]

How to research content for your textbook

Q:”How do you go about researching content for your textbook?”

A: Janet Belsky, author of Experiencing the Lifespan, 2e (2009):

“I go to a library database where I can get every single article on the topic I’m writing about in every journal in my field. If I am updating a book, I will only look for articles that were published from the time of the last edition to the present. This strategy gets me about 100 or 200 new articles for each chapter. I do a cursory look at everything, but I won’t need to read all of those articles. Instead, I look through the abstracts, and if I find an interesting one, I’ll read the discussion section of the paper. I’ll have about 900 new references for the newest edition of Experiencing the Lifespan just 3 years after the last edition. It seems like it would be impossible to sift through all this research, but really it’s not that difficult. The real challenge of the revision process is incorporating all the new information while keeping the book about the same length.” [Read more…]