Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 14, 2019

A different type of writerAs I complete this collection of articles from around the web this week, our 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference is underway in Philadelphia. Over the next couple of days, authors from different disciplines, backgrounds, and geographic regions will come together to discuss topics of common interest, each with a common goal of becoming a more successful author.

This week’s collection includes some ideas that face most, if not all, of this diverse group, including writer’s block, thesis statements, data visualization, authorship, and author contribution. It also contains articles on specific issues facing subsets of our collective authoring community, including work/life balance for PhD students, diversity factors in awards and recognition, and open source initiatives and funding.

No matter the differences among us, and whether you are here in Philly with us this weekend or part of our larger authoring community, know that you are not alone. Take comfort in the things that we share and that are shared with us. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 31, 2019

"A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses." ~James AllenThis week’s collection of articles from around the web provides insight into a variety of ways that academics can improve their success both in their individual academic efforts and those that require collaboration or presentation of work to others.

We begin with advice on managing the isolation that often exists in academe and balance that with tips for collaborative writing. We then look at creative ways to reach new audiences, how to avoid a bad first impression, and different tactics for presenting at conferences. Finally we explore concepts of showing up, working on your own timeline, and preparing for the next steps in you academic efforts.

As James Allen shared in his book, As a Man Thinketh, “A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses.” This week, be limitless. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 24, 2019

"Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way." ~Ray BradburyThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes a variety of topics important to authors. We begin the collection with concepts of semantic gravity, using visuals, and personal safety. We then discuss PhD requirements for publishing and the process in New Zealand. Next we explore the use of social media for improving citations or sharing conference material. Finally we explore some of the changing landscape in academic publishing.

As you write this week, be true to yourself and your ideas. As once noted by Ray Bradbury, “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

5 Tips for visualizing data with charts

Show Me! The Art of Using Visual Elements to Enhance a ManuscriptIn my recent TAA webinar, “Show Me! The Art of Using Visual Elements to Enhance a Manuscript“, I shared best practices for incorporating tables, figures, and charts into your manuscripts and the tools available for developing those visual elements.

One of my favorite forms of visual element is a chart. Charts combine the visual appeal of figures with the data content of tables and can be quite effective in conveying context and purpose when used properly. For greatest success, I offer the following five tips for chart usage in your next manuscript. [Read more…]

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…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 15, 2019

"Reading sparks writing." ~A.D. PoseyIn this week’s collection of posts from around the web we found a variety of topics of interest to textbook and academic authors. We begin our collection with articles focused on perspective: on the PhD and employment, on Belbin roles in collaborative writing efforts, and on visualizations of scholarly workflow. Next we explore topics on finding the gap and keeping track of your literature review. We continue with a couple articles on open access. Finally, we close with technology-related articles on sharing research, conducting online surveys, and protecting privacy in digital resources.

A.D. Posey once said, “Reading sparks writing.” As you read through this week’s collection of articles, we hope that the ideas and topics presented serve to spark your writing efforts for the week ahead. Happy writing! [Read more…]

5 Ways to visualize your academic research

5 Ways to Visualize Your Academic ResearchData visualization is the placement of facts and figures in an illustrative design. This can include any form of multimedia such as videos, maps, charts and diagrams, for example. Adding elements of data visualization to academic research is an effective method because 65% of the human population are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. This means their brains are more likely to absorb and retain information that is presented in a graphic format.

Imagery is simple, quick and digestible to process, whereas the majority of attention spans take in just 28% of words on a page, as reported by the Nielsen Norman Group. So because most people need complex material to be broken down into more accessible pictures and patterns, data visualization is essential for securing the readers’ interest and enhancing their retention.

You can integrate data visualization into your own academic research with these creative and interactive techniques for a reader experience that stimulates, informs, and compels your target audience. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: October 5, 2018

"Don't let your fears overwhelm your desire." ~Sheryl SandbergThis week’s collection of posts from around the web begins with three “part two” editions of some useful blog series on dissertation writing, turning your PhD into a book, and ethical principles for independent researchers. We then include articles with insight on how the individual author is part of a larger authoring system and how to develop effective visualizations that say something solid. We close out the list with some industry news and advice on the single project awarded $4.9M in federal funding, research for social good, and the ongoing publisher battle against ResearchGate.

When facing big issues like those addressed in this week’s collection, fear can sometimes undermine success, so as you head forth this week, remember the words of Sheryl Sandberg who said, “Don’t let your fears overwhelm your desire.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 31, 2018

"Half of my life is an act of revision." ~John Irving“Half of my life is an act of revision.” Wise words from John Irving for all writers and ones that thread through our collection of posts this week.

We begin with discussions of how to manage multiple writing projects, interpret data visualizations, and use diary methods in qualitative research. We then share practical advice on successful publishing in journals, informed consent, fellowships, and balancing a PhD with a family. Closing out our list is the prediction that textbooks are here to stay, along with new resources including scholarly podcasts, open and interoperable annotation, YouTube videos, and open science tools.

Whether you are revising a manuscript or your writing craft this week, we hope that you will find value in some of the resources below. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Why vision boards work and why you should make one today [for authors]

Vision BoardVisualization is a powerful tool. Athletes have harnessed this power for decades. In fact, visualization stimulates the same regions of the brain as actually performing the action does. This powerful tool, however, isn’t just for athletes. Writers too, can benefit from it. One way to do this, and express your creative self while doing so, is to create a vision board. A vision board is literally a board of some kind that you display images on to help you concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal (or goals) you have. [Read more…]