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Writing for Academic Publication Workshop 1 by Helen Fallon


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Helen Fallon takes us through how to write for academic publication in this first workshop on the topic. She gives tips on every aspect of writing a piece for an academic publication.

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Writing for Academic Publication Workshop 1 by Helen Fallon

  1. 1. Writing for Academic Publication Workshop 1 Helen Fallon Deputy Librarian, Maynooth University @helenfallon
  2. 2. Learning Outcomes • Develop confidence and motivation to write • Learn techniques for overcoming writers block • Identify publishable material from practice/research • Understand the different requirements for different types of publications • Be aware of different abstract formats and know how to craft an abstract • Develop a structure for a chapter/article and begin writing the article • Draw up a writing plan
  3. 3. Topic Chapter/article needs to relate to Professional Development and/or some aspect of the Professional Development Framework and their engagement with that aspect
  4. 4. Task Writing to Prompt Write for ten minutes, in sentences not bullets, using one of the following prompts – I am interested in writing about… – An area of my experience which I would like to write about is… – A really interesting project that I think people would be interested in reading about is… – I feel at my most creative when I’m writing about…
  5. 5. Clustering Clustering, sometimes called mapping, is a brainstorming technique that generates categories and connections Maimon, E (2003) A Writer’s Resource: A Handbook for Writing and Research, p. 38-39
  6. 6. Clustering
  7. 7. Task • Write a topic relating to an aspect of the professional development framework in the centre of a piece of paper, and draw a circle around it. • Surround the topic with subtopics. Circle each and draw a line from it to the centre circle. • Brainstorm more ideas. As you do this, connect each new concept to a subtopic already on the sheet, or make it a new subtopic. • You will probably find there are many angles to your topic. Pick one specific aspect/angle. Writing projects often fail because they are too broad.
  8. 8. Inspiring Quotes If you’re clear in your mind about what you are going to paint, there is no point in painting it (Picasso) I have to start to write to have ideas (Françoise Sagan) Writing is a process of discovery. Sometimes you don't know what you know. You may know it but have no idea how it fits together (Alice Walker)
  9. 9. Task • Write a summary of the topic in no more than 50 words • Explain the topic to a colleague • Note any questions/comments your colleague has
  10. 10. Task What evidence do you have that could underpin your piece of writing?
  11. 11. What evidence/data do you have? • Your practice • Literature review • Library statistics • National/International statistics • Survey • Interviews • Evaluation forms • Quotes • Photographs • Reflective journal
  12. 12. Titles that get noticed • Stimulate reader’s interest • Working title/final title • Attract and inform the reader • Stand out • Be accurate • Facilitate indexing e.g. Self and Peer Assessment as a method of improving quality: the Maynooth University Library experience
  13. 13. Task • Give your chapter/article a working title • Allocate three keywords to help people retrieve your article
  14. 14. Outlining • Most academic writers work from an outline • Allows you view the structure at a glance and dip into various sections when you have a short amount of time • helps sift and eliminate ideas • Writing a 5,000 word piece can be daunting. Breaking it into sections can make the process more manageable 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
  15. 15. Professional Journal Professional journal Generally draws on practice Articles typically between 1,000 and 2,000 words References/bibliography not essential Editor decides on content, guided by editorial board examples: SCONUL Focus, Irish Archives Bulletin
  16. 16. Peer-Reviewed Journal Academic/Scholarly articles May draw on practice but must have a research context Articles typically 5,000 words plus Literature review and references Peer reviewed examples: New Review of Academic Librarianship, Library Management Journal, All Ireland Society for Higher Education Journal (AISHE-J)
  17. 17. Outlines • who, what, when, where, why, how • What happened? • What was my role in it? • What was the outcome? • Title • Introduction • Context/Background • Description • Evaluation • Reflection • Conclusion
  18. 18. Outline • Title • Keywords • Abstract • Introduction • Background/Context • Literature review • Method/Approach • Results/Analysis • Discussion • Conclusion • References
  19. 19. Journal Article Abstract • Normal in peer reviewed journals • Details essence – tells what the article is going to do • Length determined by journal • Generally around 200 words • informative or structured
  20. 20. Informative Abstract This article explores the integration of a Special Collection – the Ken Saro-Wiwa Archive -into the undergraduate curriculum at Maynooth University (MU). Following background information on the archive, the Development Theories module on the BA in Community Studies is briefly described. The rationale behind the decision to use the archive in the module is presented; learning outcomes are given; the content of the module is described; student feedback is presented and the method of assessment outlined. The article concludes with a discussion on how Special Collections and Archives might be further integrated into the undergraduate curriculum.
  21. 21. Structured Abstract • Purpose • Design/Methodology/Approach • Research limitations • Practical Implications • Originality/Value • Paper type • Keywords
  22. 22. Verbs • Consider the verbs you 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
  23. 23. Task • Write an abstract using one of the following models – Informative – Structured
  24. 24. Task - Peer Review Exchange your abstract with a colleague and give feedback using the following guidelines • Is the text easy to read and does it make sense? • Does the abstract explain what the piece is going to do? • Does the abstract contain more than one main topic/theme? • Does the abstract tell what methodology is going to be used • Is the topic interesting? • What do you like best about it?
  25. 25. Task • Draw up an outline for your chapter/article and begin each section with “This section will cover…” OR Write your chapter/article as a story with a beginning, middle and end in no more than 500 words
  26. 26. Task • Write a section of your chapter/article • You can start at any point - generally not the conclusion • Scientists often start with results – could start with case study and build chapter around it • Background/Context often a good starting point
  27. 27. Task • Exchange your draft with a colleague and give feedback using the following guidelines – Is the text easy to read and does it make sense? – Does one sentence follow logically from another? – Does the piece contain more than one main idea? – Is it interesting? – What do you like best about this piece of writing? – How might it be developed?
  28. 28. Writing • Don’t look for perfection, just write! • Give yourself permission to write badly • All writing is rewriting • Writing is a craft not an art • Style doesn’t come in first drafts • If possible write full article without editing
  29. 29. Writing as Storytelling • A Story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order • How do you create impact/get the attention of the reader Unlike presenting at a conference, with writing there is no opportunity to ask for clarification • Decide what to include and what to exclude
  30. 30. Style in Writing • Style and voice rarely come through clearly in early drafts • Trying to polish too early may hamper the ideas phase, the early drafts when you are chopping and changing and just trying to get ideas down on paper or a PC. • Style is multifaceted and made up of many elements • headings & subheadings, sentences, paragraphs
  31. 31. Headings & Subheadings • Headings & subheadings act as signposts, breaking up text, making the structure clearer and allowing the reader see at a glance the main themes of the paper • Headings help to effectively organise ideas • Headings create connections between the different parts of the paper and can also make a manuscript visually more attractive, as does the white space before and after paragraphs
  32. 32. Signposts • Endings of sections that hark back to what has gone before or opening sections that indicate what is to come act of unofficial signposts • Transitional words help maintain flow of thought. These might be time links (then, next, after, while, since), cause-effect links (therefore, consequently, as a result), addition links (in addition, furthermore, similarly) and contrast links (but, nevertheless, however, although).
  33. 33. Sentences The best writing is always the simplest and the clearest. When you use a word of three syllables or more, check yourself. Is there really a reason to use that longer word? The best way to avoid using the wrong word is to keep your words as simple as possible. (Day, p. 105, 2007) Avoid complicated sentence structure and long sentences linked by the word “and” Read aloud to get a sense of the sound of your text. If a sentence seems “clunky” or unnatural when you read it aloud, check the grammar and punctuation. If a sentence seems too long see if you can shorten it without changing meaning. It may be appropriate to divide it in two. If words are repeated and the sentence sounds unprofessional as you read it aloud, then rephrase.
  34. 34. Paragraphs • New paragraphs begin each time you move from one clear idea to another or change direction • The first sentence or two usually present the topic or theme and the following sentences develop this • Each paragraph should relate logically to the previous paragraph, as well as to the overall theme of the article. If a paragraph contains more than one main topic divide it • Do the paragraphs and sections flow easily or do they jolt from idea to idea? If your writing jolts consider having linking sentences
  35. 35. Tense • Forceful writing results from writing concisely, actively and positively. The present tense is usually more active and therefore more forceful than the past tense.” (Henson, K. Writing for Publication: Road to Academic Advancement, 2005, Boston: Pearson, p. 48) • Discipline style and tense • Different tenses
  36. 36. Moving the story along • Keep related material together and have a logical movement from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph and from section to section • Remember you are a storyteller • Does each sentence moves the story along? Do the paragraphs and sections flow easily or do they jolt from idea to idea?
  37. 37. Task • Write a paragraph describing how you are going to develop your piece over the next six weeks. Be as specific as possible