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Academic writingcdg


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Slides from the Library Association of Ireland Career Development Group Seminar on Academic Writing presented by Helen Fallon, Maynooth University

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Academic writingcdg

  1. 1. Writing for Academic Publication Helen Fallon, Deputy Librarian, Maynooth University
  2. 2. Learning Outcomes • Increased confidence and motivation to write/present • Have a sense of what is publishable and where to publish or present • Understand the peer-review process and the difference between peer-reviewed and professional publications • Better knowledge of the mechanics of writing • Abstract for conference or article/poster produced • Outline drafted and piece of writing advanced 04/10/14 2
  3. 3. Task 1– Writing to Prompt Write for five minutes, in sentences, without stopping, using one of the following prompts An area of my research/practice which I would like to write about is… I feel at my most creative when I’m writing about… It’s important for me to write because…
  4. 4. What can I write about? • Research/thesis • A particular project • Something you read (book, article, blog post) • Your practice/everyday work • Topic that interests you • A paper you presented • Other • Consider whether you want to collaborate (principal author) • Putting a fence around your writing
  5. 5. Task 2 - Making a case for writing Why Write? Write for five minutes in sentences, in no more than fifty words, explaining to your department head/manager why is it important that you publish
  6. 6. 6 Conference Paper/Poster • Useful method of getting feedback on your work • Some conferences publish proceedings • Precursor to publishing elsewhere • Look for calls for papers • Make a note of comments/questions/feedback • Ask participants how this could be developed further • Establish connections
  7. 7. A&SL Conference The Inside Out Library: Collaboration, Inspiration, Transformation, 26 & 27 February 2015 • Workshops • Posters • Case Studies Deadline: Friday, 17th October 2014 for abstract of not more than 300 words/Workshops and Case Studies no fee/posters reduced fee 04/10/14 7
  8. 8. LILAC Conference Call for Papers, Posters, Workshops LILAC 2015, • Deadline for abstracts 17th November Notification 17th December • Abstracts should be between 300 and 500 words. You should also submit a short description of your paper (50 words max) 8
  9. 9. LILAC Themes • IL and employability • Delivering IL through new technologies • IL for the under-18s • Research based IL • Creative approaches to IL • Outreach and collaboration 04/10/14 9
  10. 10. Task 3 - Reflection Select a project/task you were involved with What happened (brief overview) – 100 words How did it work – 100 words What was the outcome/impact – 100 words 04/10/14 10
  11. 11. Types of Publications • Newsletter • Blog post • Professional magazine • Popular Magazine • Academic (peer-reviewed) Journal • Hybrid Journal • Poster • Book Review • Book Chapter • Book (single author) • Book (edited collection) • Other opportunities – conference presentation, radio broadcast, television, social media
  12. 12. Some Publishing Outlets • An Leabharlann • SCONUL Focus • CILIP Update • Journal of Library Innovation (JOLI) • JEAHIL AISHE-J • Library Review (Emerald) • LibFocus Blog – See for calls for papers etc… 04/10/14 12
  13. 13. Practice-based article • Based primarily on experience • Give some background • Describe what happened • What was the impact • Reflection – what worked, what didn’t work so well, what could be done to improve it • Conclusion • (who, what, when, where, how)
  14. 14. Research-based article • Must draw on research • Generally longer than practice-based article e.g. 5,000 words • Double blind peer review • Has an abstract (informative or structured) • Literature Review • Gives methodology and results • References
  15. 15. Task 4 - Defining audience and Purpose • Describe in one sentence the purpose of the piece you are writing • What is the audience for your article? What’s your angle? What data do you have? Is this topic most suited for a research article/a practice-based article or some other format e.g poster/blog post?
  16. 16. Abstract • Two types – informative and structured • Synopsis • Details essence (not the same as introduction) • typically range from 150 to 300 words
  17. 17. 17 Informative Abstract By surveying reference practitioners on their perceptions of chat reference training, this study presents effective training techniques that could enhance the professional preparation for chat reference personnel. Results indicate that the most effective training techniques involve hands-on practice among trainees and easy access... – Study abstracts in your target journal. What verbs do they use? Addresses, argues, asks, concludes, covers, demonstrates, describes, discusses, elucidates, enhances, evaluates, examines, expands, explains, explores, identifies, maps, outlines, presents, proposes, reports, reviews, shows, suggests, summarises, surveys, synthesizes, touches on
  18. 18. Structured Abstract • Purpose • This article explores the benefits of a writing support programme in developing the skills and motivation of librarians to write for academic publication. • Design/methodology/approach • A brief review of the literature is presented. The model developed and implemented by this author is outlined. Findings from a survey of participants are discussed. • Research limitations/implications • The formal programme commenced in 2007. The publication process takes time, particularly in the case of peer-reviewed journals. This is exploratory work. It will take time to build up a body of information and a community of librarians writing for publication. Initial evidence indicates there is significant value to the programme. • Practical implications • The model is transferable and could help in building skills and confidence in academic writing. In addition academic writing could serve as a bridge between lecturing and library staff, addressing issues of common concern across the academy. • Originality/value • This is the first formal writing support programme for librarians in Irish universities. Models exist in the US. A similar model is used in the UK and Ireland to support lecturing staff writing for publication. • Paper Type • Case Study • Keywords • Librarians, publication, academic writing, writing intervention 10/04/14 18
  19. 19. Task 5 – Title, Keywords and abstract • Give your article/poster a working title • Allocate three keywords which you would expect people would use to retrieve it • Write an abstract for your article/poster – Informative (300 word max) – Structured – as per slide 10/04/14 19
  20. 20. Title • Stimulate reader’s interest • Working title/final title • Attract and inform the reader • Stand out • Be accurate • Be fully explanatory when standing alone • Facilitate indexing and retrieval (avoid using abbreviations) • Suggested length no more than 12 words (APA Publications Manual)
  21. 21. Task 6 - Query e-mail • Before writing/submitting • Identify journal • Identify editor • Single sentences – I am writing an article on… – My experience is this area… – I think that readers of your journal would be interested in… because…
  22. 22. Outlining • Order ideas • Sift & eliminate ideas • Contextualise/Give framework • View structure at a glance The reason many aspiring authors fail is that they throw themselves immediately into the activity of writing without realizing it is the forethought, analysis and preparation that determine the quality of the finished product Day, A. (2007) How to Get Research Published in Journals. Burlington, VT.: Ashgate. P. 9 what, who, when, where, why, how 10/04/14 22
  23. 23. Outlining/Structuring • There are different ways to structure articles • Study the format of articles in the journal you hope to target • Read first for story then for structure • Model articles on other articles that work well (template) • Different structures can achieve the same end in different ways • Be aware of your audience
  24. 24. Outlining Murray, R. (2005) Writing for Academic Journals. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press, p. 9 Context/Background Literature review Method/approach Results/Analysis Discussion Conclusion Topic 1 – 250 words Topic 2 – 250 words Topic 3- 250 words Introduction
  25. 25. Title: Enter Title Here (36pt Arial)… Subject: Enter Subject Here… Overview: … How it Works: Impact: Enter Text Here… Contacts: Name, Organisation…
  26. 26. Task 7 - Outlining Draw up an outline for an article for a journal using what, who, when, where, why & how (max words 300) OR Draw up an outline for a poster as per slide OR Draw up an outline for a research article using Murray’s outline. Write a description of each section beginning with the words This section will cover… (max words 300) OR Write your article as a story with a beginning, middle and end (max words 400) 10/04/14 26
  27. 27. Writing • To begin writing you have to begin writing • Writing generates ideas • Don’t look for perfection, just write • Give yourself permission to write badly • All writing is rewriting • Can start at any point, but generally not introduction or conclusion • Scientists often write the results section up first 04/10/14 27
  28. 28. Task 8 - Writing • Consider your outline • Select a section and begin writing Don’t try to write something perfect, just write • Every sentence you write, every word, can be revised later 04/10/14 28
  29. 29. Style • House style (journal style) • First, second or third person • Active or passive voice • Verbs • Tense • Language • Sentences • Paragraphs • Transitions • Signposts Headings & subheadings (official) Endings of sections that hark back to what went before, announce what comes next (unofficial) • Movement/Coherenc e 04/10/14 29
  30. 30. Task 9 – Peer Review • Exchange your writing with a colleague – List three things you like about the piece – List three areas/aspects you think could be developed/changed 04/10/14 30
  31. 31. introduction • Introduces the substantive content of the paper • Sets the scene • Brings the reader in and gives a flavour of what is to come • States the purpose and scope • States how issue is addressed • Usually starts from the general and progresses to the specific • In general the introduction should be quite brief and certainly no more that a sixth of the total article length • May include context/background or this may follow introduction 10/04/14 31
  32. 32. literature review • Tells what others have found on topic • Provides a context from which to illustrate how the work documented in the rest of the paper extends or advances understanding and knowledge • Demonstrates that the author is familiar with past and present thinking on a topic and understands where their work fits • Highly selective and specific, referring to other pieces of work most relevant to the argument being made • Review article 10/04/14 32
  33. 33. Methodology & analysis/outcomes/results • Methodology details how the research was carried out • The analysis should state clearly and unambiguously what the findings are and how they are being interpreted • Where required it should supplement the argument made with analytic evidence e.g.statistics, tables, charts, maps, or quotes 10/04/14 33
  34. 34. Discussion and Conclusion Discussion Folds together the previous sections, linking the findings to the literature review and makes the case for the argument developed Conclusion Brings key points together Summarises rationale and findings Reaffirming how the research advances understanding and knowledge Outlining how future studies could build on and extend the research and argument reported Try to link with introduction 10/04/14 34
  35. 35. References and keywords References – Follow journal guidelines – Complete – Accurate Keywords – Indexing terms – The way your article will be retrieved by databases/search engines etc. 10/04/14 35
  36. 36. Editing • All writing is rewriting • Draft and redraft • Number, date and save drafts • Read aloud • Wordiness – Cut unnecessary words and phrases; delete repetitive words • Delete unnecessary adjectives – Helpful tips, terrible tragedy • Delete unnecessary adverbs – very, really, quite, basically, generally • Ask a critical colleague to read • Refer back to your abstract & journal guidelines
  37. 37. Submission • When finished put aside for a period then reread • Spell check • Date and File preprint • Let it go! • If you have already sent a query e-mail to the editor refer to that in your submission
  38. 38. 38 Submission • Blog • Professional Journal – editor • Academic Journal – peer-reviewers • Referees Accept as is Accept with revisions Revise and resubmit Reject • Make changes as quickly as possible • Reread • Resubmit • Keep postprint
  39. 39. 39 Why editors reject manuscripts • Author guidelines not followed • Not thorough • Bad writing (lack of clarity and style) • Subject of no interest to readers • Poor statistics, tables, figures • Old subject • Unprofessional appearance • Title • Too simple – reporting • Written at the wrong level
  40. 40. 40 Developing Your Writing • Set realistic goals • Write (Describe, reflect and evaluate) • Read (angle?) • Collect potentially useful data • Notebook/Journal – snack & sandwich writing • Talk to colleagues • Collaborate • Give and look for peer support • Celebrate success • Keep writing
  41. 41. Task 10 • Draw up your writing plan for the next three month. Include specific goals 04/10/14 41
  42. 42. Bibliography & other resources Academic Writing Librarians 04/10/14 42