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Journal article introductions

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From my writing course, a set of four moves that underpin many journal articles in the social sciences and humanities. Accompanies a blog post on patthomson.net

Published in: Education
  • Thank you Pat! I modified this to suit my course, it was very helpful!
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Journal article introductions

  1. 1. Introductions to journal articles Pat Thomson @ThomsonPat patthomson.net
  2. 2. The work of the introduction • It must interest and engage the reader. Give them a taste of what is to come. • It should create the warrant for the paper – in policy, practice, current event, disciplinary issue, literatures. • It helps to introduce the writer. Establish credibility. Give a flavour of ‘voice’. • Conventionally the introduction also maps out the paper and indicates the shape of the argument
  3. 3. The usual introduction moves • Locate – situate the study in a broad context and connect this to the journal reader • Focus – say what the paper is about in particular • Argue/Expand – say what the paper is going to say • Outline – lay out the steps that the paper will take and signal their order
  4. 4. • Introductions vary a lot • Don’t confuse a move with a formula – they are not the same! • Some of the four moves are often left out Sometimes they are not sequential • Its important to check the target journal to see what’s expected
  5. 5. In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice . . . the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man. (Inscription at the FDR National Memorial, Washington, D.C., from a campaign speech on October 2, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan) FDR’s words—spoken over 80 years ago—resonate profoundly in the twenty-first century. Around the world, we see vocal and public calls for more socially just economic and political arrangements: the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, labor rights rallies, and Save Our Schools marches.1 In today’s “days of difficulty,” these movements share more than a call for social justice. Rather, at the heart of these twenty-first century protests is a call for fundamental human rights, which was also at the heart of FDR’s vision of social justice: the right to work, for example, and the right to protest peacefully, to be free from discrimination, to join labor unions, to participate in democracy, and to be guaranteed adequate health care, shelter, education, and wages. Protection and enactment of fundamental human rights are at the core of these twenty-first century calls for social justice. This remains as true in education as in other justice movements. While critics decry calls for social justice as class warfare, the rise of the welfare state, or even anarchy, we believe that calls for social justice are simply calls for fundamental human rights. To that end, we endeavor here to (re)historicize social justice—specifically social justice education—in the context of human rights. As we seek to understand today’s social justice movements, we often turn to the protest movements of the late twentieth century, such as the… “The path of social justice”: A Human Rights History of Social Justice Education Carl A. Grant and Melissa Leigh Gibson University of Wisconsin, Madison Equity and Ecce;lencei n education 46(1) 81-99 (2013)
  6. 6. In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice . . . the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man. (Inscription at the FDR National Memorial, Washington, D.C., from a campaign speech on October 2, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan) LOCATE FDR’s words—spoken over 80 years ago—resonate profoundly in the twenty-first century. Around the world, we see vocal and public calls for more socially just economic and political arrangements: the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, labor rights rallies, and Save Our Schools marches.1 In today’s “days of difficulty,” these movements share more than a call for social justice. Rather, at the heart of these twenty-first century protests is a call for fundamental human rights, which was also at the heart of FDR’s vision of social justice: the right to work, for example, and the right to protest peacefully, to be free from discrimination, to join labor unions, to participate in democracy, and to be guaranteed adequate health care, shelter, education, and wages. Protection and enactment of fundamental human rights are at the core of these twenty-first century calls for social justice. This remains as true in education as in other justice movements. While critics decry calls for social justice as class warfare, the rise of the welfare state, or even anarchy, we believe that calls for social justice are simply calls for fundamental human rights. FOCUS To that end, we endeavor here to (re)historicize social justice—specifically social justice education—in the context of human rights. ARGUE As we seek to understand today’s social justice movements, we often turn to the protest movements of the late twentieth century, such as the… “The path of social justice”: A Human Rights History of Social Justice Education” Carl A. Grant and Melissa Leigh Gibson University of Wisconsin, Madison Equity and Excellence in Education 46(1) 81-99 (2013)
  7. 7. Recently, there has been a call to situate narrative construction within social dynamics and context and to find analytic strategies that would allow treating narratives not only as a “window” into the subjective or private aspects of the narrator’s experience but also as communicative acts, based on shared socio-cultural resources and practices (e.g., Atkinson, 1997; Duranti, 1986; Edwards, 1997a, 1997b; Gubrium & Holstein, 2009; Lerner, 1992). Gubrium and Hostein, for example, highlighted that “stories aren’t simply conveyed, but they are given shape in the course of social interaction” (p. 16). Potter and Edwards (1999) argued that analyses often fail to address the activities (e.g., accusation, justification, refusal, request) done by people in telling stories. Riessman (2005) similarly discussed the “danger of over-personalising the personal narrative” (p. 6). In this article we propose that the integration of narrative and discursive forms of inquiry, if epistemologically affordable, can be fruitful, particularly for conducting “interactional” analyses of narratives. Although narrative inquiry contextualizes the sense-making process by focusing on the storyteller and, in some cases, taking into account the role of the audience as a shaper of narrative (e.g., Riessman, 2008; Riley & Hawe, 2005), it often lacks the means for explicating the details of how narrative structures and the context of storytelling are produced through talk and writing (Atkinson, 1997), which discursive forms of inquiry can offer. As an illustration of this discursive narrative approach we explore the construction of autobiographical accounts, focusing on narrative sequences. “Discursive Narrative Analysis: A Study of Online Autobiographical Accounts of Self-Injury” Olga Sutherland, Andrea V. Breen, and Stephen P. Lewis The Qualitative Report 2013 Volume 18, Article 95, 1-17 http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR18/sutherland95.pdf
  8. 8. LOCATE Recently, there has been a call to situate narrative construction within social dynamics and context and to find analytic strategies that would allow treating narratives not only as a “window” into the subjective or private aspects of the narrator’s experience but also as communicative acts, based on shared socio-cultural resources and practices (e.g., Atkinson, 1997; Duranti, 1986; Edwards, 1997a, 1997b; Gubrium & Holstein, 2009; Lerner, 1992). Gubrium and Hostein, for example, highlighted that “stories aren’t simply conveyed, but they are given shape in the course of social interaction” (p. 16). Potter and Edwards (1999) argued that analyses often fail to address the activities (e.g., accusation, justification, refusal, request) done by people in telling stories. Riessman (2005) similarly discussed the “danger of over- personalising the personal narrative” (p. 6). FOCUS In this article we propose that the integration of narrative and discursive forms of inquiry, if epistemologically affordable, can be fruitful, particularly for conducting “interactional” analyses of narratives. ARGUE Although narrative inquiry contextualizes the sense-making process by focusing on the storyteller and, in some cases, taking into account the role of the audience as a shaper of narrative (e.g., Riessman, 2008; Riley & Hawe, 2005), it often lacks the means for explicating the details of how narrative structures and the context of storytelling are produced through talk and writing (Atkinson, 1997), which discursive forms of inquiry can offer. OUTLINE? As an illustration of this discursive narrative approach we explore the construction of autobiographical accounts, focusing on narrative sequences. Discursive Narrative Analysis: A Study of Online Autobiographical Accounts of Self-Injury Olga Sutherland, Andrea V. Breen, and Stephen P. Lewis The Qualitative Report 2013 Volume 18, Article 95, 1-17 http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR18/sutherland95.pdf
  9. 9. Over the past decade, there has been a striking renewal of interest in the analysis of social class inequality, driven by accumulating evidence of escalating social inequalities, notably with respect to wealth and income, but also around numerous social and cultural indicators, such as mortality rates, educational attainment, housing conditions and forms of leisure participation (e.g. Bennett et al., 2008; Dorling, 2011; Hills, 2010; Wilkinson and Pickett, 2008). Theoretically, this interest has been influenced by the deployment of Pierre Bourdieu’s conceptual armoury to elaborate a model of class linked not exclusively to employment inequalities, but to the interplay between economic, social and cultural capital (see Bennett et al., 2008; Crompton, 2008; Savage, 2010; Savage et al., 2005). This current of work, sometimes called ‘cultural class analysis’ (Atkinson, 2010) has cross-fertilised with feminist currents (e.g. Adkins and Skeggs, 2005; Skeggs, 1997) to champion multi-dimensional approaches to the analysis of stratification (Yuval-Davis, 2011). This article contributes to this current interest by elaborating a new model of social class which shows how measures of economic, cultural and social capital can be combined to provide a powerful way of mapping contemporary class divisions in the UK. We analyse the largest survey of social class ever conducted in the UK, the BBC’s Great British Class Survey (GBCS), a web survey with the unusually high number of 161,400 respondents, complemented by a parallel national representative survey. Using these two surveys in tandem allows us to provide unusual detail on the link between class and specific occupational, educational and geographical profiles which offer unparalleled insights into the organisation of class inequality in 2011–12. We will show that although a large ‘rump’ of the established middle (or ‘service’) class, and the traditional working class exists, there are five other classes which fit less easily into this conventional sociological framing, and which reveal the extent of social polarisation and class fragmentation in contemporary Britain. Our analysis proceeds in five steps. Firstly, we discuss how our analysis represents a new phase in class analysis. Secondly, we introduce the two surveys. Thirdly, we explain our measures of economic, cultural and social capital. Fourthly, and most importantly, we explain how we combined our measures of the three capitals, using latent class analysis, to generate our new model of social class. Finally, we describe and explicate each of our seven classes, showing how they intersect with age and gender divisions, drawing out their specific occupational and educational profiles. In our conclusion we draw out our findings for the analysis of social class. Mike Savage, Fiona Devine, Niall Cunningham, Mark Taylor, Yaojun Li, Johs Hjellbrekke, Brigitte Le Roux, Sam Friedman, and Andrew Miles A New Model of Social Class? Findings from the BBC’s Great British Class Survey Experiment Sociology April 2013 47: 219-250
  10. 10. LOCATE Over the past decade, there has been a striking renewal of interest in the analysis of social class inequality, driven by accumulating evidence of escalating social inequalities, notably with respect to wealth and income, but also around numerous social and cultural indicators, such as mortality rates, educational attainment, housing conditions and forms of leisure participation (e.g. Bennett et al., 2008; Dorling, 2011; Hills, 2010; Wilkinson and Pickett, 2008). Theoretically, this interest has been influenced by the deployment of Pierre Bourdieu’s conceptual armoury to elaborate a model of class linked not exclusively to employment inequalities, but to the interplay between economic, social and cultural capital (see Bennett et al., 2008; Crompton, 2008; Savage, 2010; Savage et al., 2005). This current of work, sometimes called ‘cultural class analysis’ (Atkinson, 2010) has cross-fertilised with feminist currents (e.g. Adkins and Skeggs, 2005; Skeggs, 1997) to champion multi-dimensional approaches to the analysis of stratification (Yuval-Davis, 2011). FOCUS This article contributes to this current interest by elaborating a new model of social class which shows how measures of economic, cultural and social capital can be combined to provide a powerful way of mapping contemporary class divisions in the UK. We analyse the largest survey of social class ever conducted in the UK, the BBC’s Great British Class Survey (GBCS), a web survey with the unusually high number of 161,400 respondents, complemented by a parallel national representative survey. Using these two surveys in tandem allows us to provide unusual detail on the link between class and specific occupational, educational and geographical profiles which offer unparalleled insights into the organisation of class inequality in 2011–12. ARGUE/EXPAND We will show that although a large ‘rump’ of the established middle (or ‘service’) class, and the traditional working class exists, there are five other classes which fit less easily into this conventional sociological framing, and which reveal the extent of social polarisation and class fragmentation in contemporary Britain. OUTLINE Our analysis proceeds in five steps. Firstly, we discuss how our analysis represents a new phase in class analysis. Secondly, we introduce the two surveys. Thirdly, we explain our measures of economic, cultural and social capital. Fourthly, and most importantly, we explain how we combined our measures of the three capitals, using latent class analysis, to generate our new model of social class. Finally, we describe and explicate each of our seven classes, showing how they intersect with age and gender divisions, drawing out their specific occupational and educational profiles. In our conclusion we draw out our findings for the analysis of social class. Mike Savage, Fiona Devine, Niall Cunningham, Mark Taylor, Yaojun Li, Johs Hjellbrekke, Brigitte Le Roux, Sam Friedman, and Andrew Miles A New Model of Social Class? Findings from the BBC’s Great British Class Survey Experiment Sociology April 2013 47: 219-250
  11. 11. Some approaches to Introductions • Narrative – a vignette from your data • Media headlines • Quotations from your data or from relevant literature • A lively and provocative proposition • A succinct summary of a current problem or puzzle BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS FIRST TIME ROUND. You need to get the content of the Introduction sorted and you can finesse the very opening sentences in second and third drafts. However, some people do find that getting the introduction and title going in the right direction in a first iteration sets the tone, and creates the ‘voice’, for the rest of the writing.

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