Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Impact of Social Sciences – 2016 in review: round-up of our top posts on academic writing

Source: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/12/27/2016-in-review-round-up-of-our-top-posts-on-academic-writing/

2016 in review: round-up of our top posts on academic writing


Five strategies to get your academic writing “unstuck”

raul pachecovegaTo help fight off the January blues and to further inspire a productive year ahead, we have coordinated a series of posts on academic writing.
To kick-start the series, here are some general tips from Dr Raul
Pacheco-Vega on what to do when the words just aren’t flowing. From
conceptual maps to short walks, here are some practical ways to tackle
the blank page. #AcWri2016.

Conversing with ghosts: Prefigurative talk and the shifting contours of intellectual debate

in our #AcWri2016 series is a reflection on conversational writing and
academic thought. Academic discussion typically appears as clustered
conversations. Davina Cooper focuses on the dilemma
posed by prefigurative contributions, where academics respond to a
discussion as if it is taking place, treating it as if it were the one
that ought to be taking place, even though speakers know the actual
conversation is otherwise. What do prefigurative contributions actually

Writing the introduction to a journal article: Say what the reader is going to encounter and why it is important

PatAn introduction has a lot of work to do in few words. Pat Thomson
clarifies the core components of a journal article introduction and
argues it should be thought of as a kind of mini-thesis statement, with
the what, why and how of the argument spelled out in advance of the
extended version. Writing a good introduction typically means
“straightforward” writing and generally lays out a kind of road-map for
the paper to come.

Write As If You Don’t Have the Data: The benefits of a free-writing phase

Howard Aldrich, Sociology, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.When researchers reach the point of actually writing up their analyses, the writing can often centre around the data itself. Howard Aldrich
argues this kind of “data first” strategy to writing goes against the
spirit of disciplined inquiry and also severely limits creativity and
imagination. Literature reviews and conceptual planning phases in
particular would benefit if researchers explored the range of ideas
associated with their study, rather than the constraining reality of
data limitations.

Writing for Impact: How can we write about our research in a way that leads to meaningful change?

thinking writingAcademic
work may have impact in a variety of ways, depending on purpose,
audience and field, but this is most likely to happen when your work
resonates in meaningful ways with people. Ninna Meier
encourages a more systematic investigation of the role of writing in
achieving impact. Impact through writing means getting your readers to
understand and remember your message and leave the reading experience
changed. The challenge is to make what you write resonate with an
audience’s reservoir of experiential knowledge. If the words do not
connect to anything tangible, interest can be quickly lost.

How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists

jennifer raffFrom
vaccinations to climate change, getting science wrong has very real
consequences. But journal articles, a primary way science is
communicated in academia, are a different format to newspaper articles
or blogs and require a level of skill and undoubtedly a greater amount
of patience. Here Jennifer Raff has prepared a helpful
guide for non-scientists on how to read a scientific paper. These steps
and tips will be useful to anyone interested in the presentation of
scientific findings and raise important points for scientists to
consider with their own writing practice.

Woven into the Fabric of the Text: Subversive Material Metaphors in Academic Writing

colorful-fabric-decorationKatie Collins
proposes that we shift our thinking about academic writing from
building metaphors – the language of frameworks, foundations and
buttresses – to stitching, sewing and piecing. Needlecraft metaphors
offer another way of thinking about the creative and generative practice
of academic writing as decentred, able to accommodate multiple sources
and with greater space for the feminine voice.

How to increase your likelihood of publishing in peer reviewed journals

about your research is one thing but knowing how to write an article
for publication in a peer reviewed journal is quite another. From his
perspective as a journal editor, Hugh McLaughlin offers
some helpful tips and insights, ranging from demonstrating your
familiarity with your chosen journal and what it has published to the
importance of paying attention to the ‘heavy lifting’.

Engaging with the process of writing can connect researcher and reader and foster real innovation and impact

new project aims to open academic writing practice to reflections and
experiments with the actual process of writing, with a view to creating
new, open research products that have an impact on peers, public and
policymakers. Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener
outline their vision for the Open Writing project, its importance, and
why Open Science must be about more than merely free access to academic

Submitting to a journal commits you to it for six weeks to six months (or longer) – so choose your journal carefully

is plenty to consider when making a decision about which journal to
submit your paper to; ranging from basic questions over the journal’s
scope, through its review process and open access offerings, all the way
to the likelihood your work will be widely read and cited. Patrick Dunleavy has compiled a comprehensive list of these considerations, complete with tips on what you should be looking out for.
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Impact of Social Sciences – 2016 in review: round-up of our top posts on academic writing

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