#AcWri, BreakDrink, Higher Education, Research, StudentAffairs

Publication Lessons Learned as an Early Career Scholar [@BreakDrink Episode no. 11]

As a follow-up to @BreakDrink Episode no. 9 and no. 8, Jeff and I continue to discuss the lessons we have learned in our early days of scholarship. HINT: We are still (and always) learning about the #acwri process. You can listen to some of our publishing ponderings on @BreakDrink episode no. 11: So You Want To Publish? On Academic Writing [Full Show Notes] and listen via SoundCloud here:

Much of what we’re discussing, is really just us processing ideas for a potential conference session and/or toolkit to get other higher education professionals involved in scholarly work. That is, front-line practitioners who directly work with and support learners. Typically these are professional staff who are involved in practice and rarely jump into the realm of scholarly writing and academic publishing — where we NEED to showcase and share evidence-based practices from the field. In talking and working with various scholar-practitioners, I have learned so much about how graduate prep programs vary in student affairs/services and/or higher education programs. Many of these applied education experiences are leaving higher education practitioners with minimal academic research knowledge and limited scholarly writing opportunities. In turn, the programs and practices implemented in post-secondary education, often leave out a research design, data analysis, and production towards an academic manuscript.

It is a critical time in post-secondary education where we MUST SHOW EVIDENCE and we SHOULD be contributing to the canon of student support services and student affairs scholarship. Higher ed professionals should be contributing to the empirical trail of our applied work beyond traditional teaching and learning — so it’s time #ShutUpAndWrite to PUBLISH!

We are just scratching the surface in this podcasts, as we being to think about developmental support for engaging practitioners and professionals in higher ed with the #AcWri process.  After listening to the out-loud ponderings on this podcast, here are a few lessons learned from our own early career research experiences with academic writing/publishing:

  • Create products for publication. Always. We need to have graduate students, master’s and doctoral-level, to think about crafting their academic writing for a publication and not just a paper or assignment. Consider WHERE and HOW you would use each writing piece for publications. You should not just have artifacts from courses submitted for a grade. Consider how you will use each piece of your course work or research for a potential academic publication as well.
  • Get experience with peer-review: Practice of reviewing for peer-review and/or editing to be part of the academic publication process. Academic writing and publishing is a PROCESS. Each paper submitted goes through a particular workflow and are (most often) managed by volunteers and scholars who will review your work. Reviewing manuscripts, copy-editing, and evening managing a journal takes TIME – but it does help you learn what to expect for the stages of submitting an article. If you have not completed any peer review for an academic journal, you should! Learning about the expectations and experiences from the backend of a journal will give you more insights to where manuscripts go when submitted for publication.
  • Share the writing, peer review, and publishing process: The process of comments from editors, rejections from journals, and response to publications needs to be talked about among scholars & practitioners. Let’s normalize the process and share the experience.
  • Search for your manuscript FIT! Scopus is the mega database of abstracts and citations of peer-reviewed literature: scientific journals, books, and conference proceedings. Search and download “Scopus List” a spreadsheet for specific details for each journal. Where could your paper fit in? Could you take another lens or approach to fit the journal scope? Assess the fit of this BEFORE you submit!
  • Avoid desk rejects: This is when an editor rejects your manuscript and (hopefully) offers you feedback on the scope and/or fit for your paper within a few days of the week of submission. This avoids your manuscript sitting through the lengthy peer-review process for no reason. Why not reach out to the editor in advance with your paper abstract to inquire more about the fit/scope and if your manuscript is appropriate for submission first? This is also a great way to learn about what the peer-reviewers will be identifying and develop your professional connections.
  • Not all papers need to be in prestigious journals: Consider submitting to B-level journals and having a few targets for your paper that might fit if it is rejected – so you can take feedback to update and/or turn around to submit somewhere else. There is NO shortage of academic outlets for publications. Consider asking academic mentors or scholars in your specific area of expertise/discipline what other suitable journals might be a good target. Have a few journal outlets in mind to resubmit if rejected.
  • Love Your Librarian: Ask your librarians for support with your research on topics, to journal outlets, databases to search for empirical literature,  and/or where/how to archive your own publications (or say set up your own journal). Academic librarians have an understanding of where to look for publishing outlets with suggestions of database searches and recommendations for various disciplines of study.
  • Support and consider how you involve practitioners in scholarship — AND vice versa! Here are a few thoughts I shared about working with scholar-practitioners. Mentioned on @BreakdRink episode no. 8 and blogged by Laura. OR if you are a practitioner in education reach out to an academic to share about your potential sample population, research design, or general idea of study you want to be involved with for further inquiry.

If you have some resources and ideas on the topic of academic publishing — let us know! We would love for you to post a comment below, or connect with us via any of the “BreakDrink” podcast channels:

We welcome feedback, comments, suggestions, and/or sass in any of the above digital spaces. If the podcast via iTunes (Apple Podcasts), please consider leaving us a rating and review. Cheers!

#AcWri, BreakDrink, Conference, Podcast, publication, Research

The Scholar-Practitioner Paradox for Academic Writing [@BreakDrink Episode No. 8]

I have been thinking about the needs and challenges higher education and student affairs professionals have with regards to evidence-based practices. In higher education, there is no shortage of topics and ideas to explore. I have been fortunate to collaborate with both scholars and practitioners in education to study a number of issues, including scaled-open learning, digital learning strategies, social media policies/guidance, mentoring programs, and networked experiences, just to name a few.  Beyond this short list, there are a number of practitioners who have reached out and we’re in the process of establishing research plans for professional development, mapping competencies to training, and leveraging technology in networked communities. My work partnering and collaborating with scholar-practitioner better informs my research methods and in explaining the findings/implications.

Scholar-practitioners generate new knowledge to improve practice, yet how they prioritize and go about their work varies with where they are on this scholar-practitioner continuum (Wasserman & Kram, 2009). The challenge with this work is there is VERY LITTLE TIME professionals in higher ed have to do scholarly work. When you are working in an educational service role for a 12-month contract, it is a challenge to move through the research process. Wasserman and Kram (2009) observed how competencies, needs, and values align with the competing roles of the scholar-practitioner to match either the work or research interests. Scholarly habits and the writing process requires deep concentration and focus on thinking critically to endure through a research project — from the study design, methodological planning, recruitment of participants, to publication and dissemination of findings.

Although higher education administrators and staff are in the best position to analyze programs, student populations, and services — there is not enough scholarship produced from professionals IN the field.

In their book, A Guide to Becoming a Scholarly Practitioner in Student Affairs, I think Hatfield and Wise (2015, p. 6-8) touch on a few reasons why practitioners do not often contribute to academic writing and publications:

  • Not enough reading – that is, not as knowledgeable of current research in (and out of) the field, theories, and evidence-based practices from academic outlets
  • Not expected of positions and not valued – undervalued and underutilized research skills; some of these skills may have been minimal based on training, education, experience, etc. as it is not required in administrative positions
  • Second-class citizen syndrome – some might not have a terminal degree (Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.) or if they do, little academic scholarship has been completed beyond their dissertation work; also feel on a different level of the faculty at their institution (and often treated that way).
  • Inadequate academic preparation – research, evaluation and assessment training from each graduate program varies and many question skills and competency for research and publishing
  • Silos on campus – little interaction between departments, divisions, functions, and academic departments exist although we are trying to support the whole student.
  • Lack of motivation – when was the last time you saw “scholarship and research” in a practitioner’s job description or expectation to participate in scholarly conferences and publishing?

 

Many of the above items, I think, are describing student service/affairs professionals in the United States — as I have a number of higher ed colleagues who are required to produce research in their staff role. There is no shortage of op-ed pieces often shared among higher education social networks, blogs, podcasts, videos, and more. The issue is we rarely see published conference proceedings, journal articles, or academic outlets producing PEER-REVIEWED pieces from and about practice contributing evidence and understanding from the field.

Over the past few weeks, I have been talking with Jeff Jackson (via our @BreakDrink podcast) about this challenge and what we are witnessing among practitioner peers. The first installment “on academic writing and scholarship” Jeff and I dig into academic writing/scholarship for BreakDrink Episode No. 8, where we discuss the differences of Academic vs. Practitioner Conferences. From the book by Hatfield and Wise (2015), chapter three talks about presenting at professional conferences; however, none of the associations shared offer any published conference proceeding for presentations shared and are not the same as submitting a paper or academic poster for another association that is more scholarly in nature. I think Hatfield and Wise (205) offer a decent introduction to scholarly writing for the novice student affairs professional  — but I think it is lacking in a few areas (as detailed in the podcast and notes below). If you are interested, feel free to read this book review (Delgado & McGill, 2016) and listen to our thoughts via the podcast here:

@BreakDrink Episode No. 8 – Academic vs. Practitioner Conferences [SHOW NOTES]:

Episode No. 8,  might be part 1 of a few series on this topic about “being an academic” or “scholarly work.” Jeff and I have recorded a few meanderings as we think/share on this topic. If you have questions or want to know more about the following items, let us know: mentoring for #AcWri, how to put together a manuscript, proposing a conference paper, data management, or starting a peer-review journal OR being part of an editorial board. Let us know! 

Conferences Run Down in 2017: Scholar vs. Academic Conference

American Educational Research Association (AERA) hosts a research/scholarly conference annually and this year #aera17 conference was in San Antonio, TX with Jeff in attendance. This professional association is HUGE, but thankfully it is broken down into Divisions and  Special Interest Groups (a.k.a. SIGs). Division I is Jeff’s Jam: Education in the Professions as he also attends the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and perhaps Division J may be were some of the doctoral/graduate scholars hang out. Related to this association you will find THE journal, Educational Researcher, that is well-regarded by scholars; however AERA also has AERA Open and other publication outlets.

We just wish we saw more of this at practitioner conferences. Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) also held their annual conference at the same convention center in San Antonio, TX back in March. Both Jeff and I were there, and we attended a session on publishing in the NASPA journals from this association [Sadly the new Technology in Higher Education: Emerging Practice was not represented in this session this year.] It’s not as though sessions at Student Affairs or Practitioner conferences do have a poster session, and I have seen “Research Papers” presented at ACPA Convention and NACADA has offered Research Symposiums at regional conferences.  The conferences mentioned in Chapter 3 of Hatfield and Wise’s (2015) book: ACPA, NACA, NACADA, NASPA, ACUHO-I, NODA, & NIRSA

Academic Conferences We Have Also Attended to Note:

 

Conference Proceedings 101

Conference proceedings are scholarly papers a number of academics/researchers include on their vitae for the tenure and promotion. This is the “carrot” as to why faculty or scholars would attend a conference and allow doctoral researchers grants to travel, beyond the value of networking and discussions with peers. A proceeding could be a short (or long) paper presented at a conference, and sometimes there are even print proceedings published for your conference abstracts/papers (e.g. #SMsociety15 proceedings). All papers typically have a specific format (e.g. AECT’s manuscript requirements) and are submitted for a formal (typically blinded) peer-review process before they are accepted. Typically these are shorter papers or a conference abstract (not a beginning of a journal article abstract format), where you present your completed research projects. A number of social sciences and education conferences have specific formats beyond the APA Style 6th Edition, but that is a good start. If accepted, you will typically present your paper at the conference in a condensed format, such as 10-25 minutes, with a set of other papers in a single session. Each presentation is directed to showcase research by describing a brief literature overview, research methods (data collection, analysis) and findings/implications. This might be moderated by a discussant, moderator, or not at all with a brief (2-5 minutes) for Q&A at the end of your presentation/session time slot.

Other formats typically at scholarly conferences we have seen — but this is not an inclusive list:

  • Conference abstract (1000-2500 words) – how to guide and killer abstract writing
  • Full Papers (up to 8000-10.000 words)
  • Notes  or Work/Research In Progress
  • Poster Sessions (also via a device, e.g. laptop, tablet, etc.)
  • Workshops/Hands-on Sessions (e.g. how to use R-Studio for text mining)
  • Competitions or Expos — challenge/solution program feature to showcase work
  • Plenary/Keynotes
  • Doctoral Colloquium
  • Mentoring Programs

Episode F.A.Q.

  • Q: Is it considered a self-plagiarism to reuse (published) abstracts for talks? A: Yes. You want to avoid text recycling and should NOT but publishing the same work to different publication outlets.
  • Q: Is presenting about my program or an assessment of an initiative at my campus research? Does this count? A: Maybe. Did you get IRB approval from your institution before collecting data? Are you following the scholarly practice of your educational/social science peers? If not — this might be an assessment. Still great — but it could not be submitted as peer-reviewed conference proceeding or journal article.
  • Q: What is this Yellowbook that Jeff referred to during the podcast? A: It was known as a “phone book” and it’s directory of names of people and businesses for you to locate their contact information. You might use the Google or another search engine these days for said things. Apparently, Yellowbook as rebranded to “yb” and now has a website: https://www.yellowpages.com/
  • Q: Why is Tony Parker out for the rest of the NBA season? A: He injured his quadriceps tendon on Wednesday, May 2nd. {tear!}
  • Q: What is Fiesta? A: A 10-day annual party celebrating culture, food, fun, and parades in San Antonio, TX that typically falls at the end of April. More about Fiesta. Best tagline: “A party with a purpose” https://www.fiesta-sa.org/

Our Pro-Tips for Attending Academic Conference:

  1. Prepare for the Conference: Review the conference website to see what research is being presented, who will be attending, and who you should meet (new & friends) while you are both at this event. Are you a fan girl/boy of a particular researcher and you want to chat about their work/your work? Are you hoping to collaborate with other scholars? Do your homework and figure out who will be there. Maybe you want to set up a meeting over a meal/coffee/drinks OR find a particular session where you can be introduced to new peers.
  2. Attend the First Time Attendee Session (if they have one): Get the lay of the conference land and get a good overview/guide to what is going on during the event. Is there a mixer with food and/or drinks? Attend and meet a few people. Prepare to be social and have your own “elevator pitch” about what you are currently studying or working on right now. Think about this before you show up to the conference.

Overall, we think higher education professionals could do better with sharing MORE research-based information at our conferences. Many of these sessions are often hidden within the general program sessions and/or found in a poster session — that is often not well-attended. Hatfield and Wise (2015, p. 8) challenge practitioners to research by asking:

If you could give voice to those who were marginalized, if you could change the field of student affairs through your voice, if you could create better collaborations across campus with our academic colleagues, and if you could share your insights with parents, students, and other invested stakeholders so that they will know what we contribute to student learning and development, why wouldn’t you?”

Why are we not encouraging more scholar-practitioner collaborations? And what incentives could you offer early career researchers and senior scholars to attend these conferences? These are ponderings we are thinking about from reading this book (Hatfield & Wise, 2015) on SA scholarship. We think it’s a decent starting guide to getting into academic writing. Sharing evidence-based initiatives are required to be relevant in higher education. This value needs to be showcased more by and with student affairs, student services, and those not on an academic track to offer others insight to the work we are doing.

@BreakDrink Podcast ShoutOuts

 

If you have a thought or two, please share it with us via one of these channels. We’d love to hear from you on any one or all of following the “BreakDrink” podcast channels:

We welcome comments, questions, and more! If you happen to listen to Apple Podcasts a.k.a. iTunes, please consider leaving us a rating and review. Thanks!

References:

Delgado, A., & McGill, C. M. (2016). A Guide to Becoming a Scholarly Practitioner in Student Affairs by Lisa J. Hatfield and Vicki L. Wise (review). Journal of College Student Development57(7), 898-900.

Hatfield, L. J., & Wise, V. L. (2015). A guide to becoming a scholarly practitioner in student affairs. Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Wasserman, I. C., & Kram, K. E. (2009). Enacting the scholar—practitioner role: An exploration of narrativesThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science45(1), 12-38.

#AcWri, #AcWriSummer

My Lessons Learned from #AcWriSummer 2016

Earlier this summer, I proposed to form a “writing posse” that would encourage support and accountability…and keep my own writing progress in check. Little did I know how important this would be! I am SO very grateful for my scholarly peers who accepted this team challenge, lCatherineCaroline & Patrice. These colleagues were also invested in working on a specific writing project, and they were all willing to join me on this 8-week experiment we’ve called #AcWriSummer 2016.

acwrisummer16

We started using chapters of the book, Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks, to guide our writing process; however, we ended up branching out to figure out what we could accomplish or support over the summer.  I sincerely thank these ladies for their willingness to contribute in our online weekly meetings, tweets for motivation/support, and general advice for editing of manuscripts and resources to develop our academic writing practice.

Here’s what I have learned from #AcWriSummer 2016:

  • Accountability for academic writing is good thing – regular, structured check-ins or checkpoints for the writing process as you draft a manuscript
  • Apparently, holidays take away from my writing habit (I stopped tracking my writing time/progress after Canada Day)
  • Creating a habit of writing is key – always schedule writing chunks early & often on your calendar (block out time)!
  • Laying the foundation of a manuscript helps your writing — outline your paper structure 
  • Focusing and targeting your manuscript for the publication outlet you want is critical! Wr
  • Drafting a solid abstract that will get read and cited — keep in mind this might be all other scholars read and use, so be explicit about your study & findings here
  • Research the empirical literature WELL!  (see resources below or read my #AcWriSummer Week 3 post)
  • What I write is not always what others read — be clear in your arguments and findings
  • Attack & conquer editing with peers to tighten drafts – Google docs are great for a 1st review of a draft
  • Consider what your writing process is and if it needs to be changed (or is it working)
  • Ask a colleague/peer for help if and when you get stuck on something in your writing
  • Solicit for ideas for elements of how to improve and enhance your manuscript from an outside perspective
  • Helpful reads and tips for writing
  • Collaborative team attacks for editing sections of a manuscript
  • Reminders incremental academic writing is still progress
  • Social experience with both peer learning and care – academic writing does not have to be a solo endeavor
  • Sharing of resources, reads, and tips to support writing (see below); however, you really need to figure out what will work best for YOU in your academic writing practice.

Interested in supporting your own #acwri practice? Here are a few great resources our #AcWriSummer group curated during the last couple of months:

Now that our “formal” #AcWriSummer 2016 curriculum is over, it is time to get these drafts finished.  I will need some #ShutUpAndWrite time before I can properly enjoy any holiday time that remains in August. At least I have my motivation for getting my #acrwisummer projects done. Happy writing, y’all!

phd092809s

Image c/o PhD Comics

#AcWri, #AcWriSummer

#AcWriSummer Week 3: Arguments and Reviewing the Literature

It’s week 3 of writing and accountability. This week and next, we’ve bumped up our #AcWriSummer accountability group meeting to Tuesdays (6/21 and 6/21). With my #acwri co-conspirators — Patrice, CatherineCaroline, & Elvira —  are continuing to work through the Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks book. This week we focused on directing our manuscripts we are working on and consider how to read/reflect on the relevant literature. Here are some highlights for what we will be discussing this week:

 Advancing Your Argument (Week 3)

This chapter details a number of reasons why articles are rejected, specifically around an article argument being too narrow, too broad, off topic, too defensive, not sufficiently original, poor structure, not significant, theoretically or methodologically flawed, and too many misspellings and/or grammatical errors. It is important to review the direction of your paper as you prepare your manuscript for journal publication. Belcher (2009) encourages readers to identify if the current manuscript has problems and to consider how to revise the following issues:

  • Focus: contextualization, audience aim, proper length, and giving pertinent examples related to the argument;
  • Topic appropriate for journal selected: subject matter, methods, scope, etc. ;
  • Scholarliness: meticulous about documentation, reference multiple sources, cite recent and relevant literature, reference debates in the field, use discipline-related expertise, provide a critical framework and evidence;
  • Defensiveness: avoid extensive quotations, excessive documenting, monotonous accounts of others work, jargon, and dogmatism;
  • Originality: read literature in your field, focus on what’s new, argue what is, claim your ideas, and develop a voice for your research;
  • Structure: Present your structure clearly, stick to your point, delete the redundant or irrelevant, link article evidence to support argument, and state findings at the beginning of the article;
  • Problems with Significance: did you articulate how this research fills a gap or adds to the topic, and did you target this manuscript for the appropriate journal;
  • Theory or Method Issues: have your work peer reviewed for feedback, detail and describe your methods, avoid imbalance in writing, and review the analysis of your data or interpretations
  • Spelling and Grammer: improve your paper for these issues, run a spelling and grammar check, ask a peer for review before submission, get help in a writing group, hire an editor, and follow the submission’s guidelines for author.

Homework: Find an Article (or a few) to Model Your Article’s Argument
Find “model” articles for your manuscript that might be:

  • part of your literature review search
  • from the target journal(s) you selected (from Week 4)
  • outside your discipline or topic area
  • the way you will structure the presentation of your article’s argument

BONUS WORK: Abstract Revisions: Abstract examples on pp. 86-87 will help you in revising of your  abstract; consider how you to present  entire topic and findings in short form.

Reviewing the Related Literature (Week 5)

This chapter shared strategies for reading literature directed towards your articles focus. I like how it suggested setting up your electronic software or platforms first. This is critical — here are a few I have used or currently use myself with a quick “about” the platform:

references_phdcomics

I really appreciated Belcher’s (2009) suggestions on refining and targeting the literature review by reading materials that specifically contribute to the central argument of your manuscript. Here are a few categories to limit how you collect relevant literature:

  • Set a time limit:  i.e. read nothing written over 10 years ago or five or two depending on your field of scholarship/topic of research
  • Language: read articles in English or designated other languages
  • Questionable or not recommended publishing outlets e.g. trade journals, non-peer reviewed, some conference proceedings not always suitable (find a journal publication)
  • Journal outside your discipline (if not interdisciplinary work)
  • Certain kinds of authors (established vs. early career?)
  • Different geographical areas (by author country of origin)
  • Different time periods (related to your genre — this might apply to humanities more)
  • Different kinds of experiments (by your methods of study/research)
  • Different kinds of participants (by research sample type, size, etc)
  • Different variables (e.g. gender, age, etc.)
  • Without your keywords in the title or abstract – focus your search for these items
  • Non-electronic formats – if you can’t access the research from home/library resources

Homework: Share How You Review Literature
-Explain methods of how you search, find, read, review, and select your literature
-Outline strategies for effective ways to approach this part of the research process

Here are a few of my suggestions and approaches for how I read & review literature:

  • Make reading/review social – find others to collaborate and add them into your Mendeley (or another software program) group to add and review publications
  • Scopus Search (ALL.THE.PUBS) and Track: I record the different search strings, track what I find, and set an alert to receive any updates — this is relevant in my field as technology, methods, and research continue to build. Here’s a screenshot of one of recent Google spreadsheets for search with a colleague: Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 1.15.32 PM
  • Search for Publications Beyond Reach: articles I don’t have access to in my own library databases I tweet #iCanHazPDF [in action #icanhazpdf], ask a friend on Twitter, or email the author
  • Take fewer notes: Tag articles in the software,  group articles into specific folders, skim abstracts to code/organize, and identify literature for easy recall and use later
  • Don’t wait to write: Create annotations about publications as you would write it
  • Create an annotated bib for focused/small literature collections: include the APA 6th edition citation + a quick line or two making note about the study, methods, findings + personal thoughts on articles/methods
  • Google Scholar search the “Cited by ###” section of the site: this is to identify other relevant paper on topic or learn more about this research thread, i.e. a discovery search for missing literature
  •  Use Backward & forward referencing search method: for collecting and reviewing publications to be inclusive of empirical literature
  • Concept mapping the Literature: Check out the great post from Pat Thomson on “spaces between the literature” for reviewing research; a.k.a. bushwhacking
  • Key Searching Suggestions from Doing a Literature Review (Hart, 1998) was blogged about in my Book Review post.

Here’s our continued #AcWriSummer 2016 Plan schedule for the remaining 5 weeks:

  • 27th June WEEK 4: Chapter 6:  Strengthen structure =>Article outline (Meeting Tuesday, June 28th)
  • 4th July WEEK 5: Chapter 7 & 8:Presenting evidence & Opening/Concluding =>Draft article (Meeting Friday, July 8th)
  • 11th July WEEK 6: Chapter 9 & 10: Give/get/use feedback & Edit sentences => Give feedback on manuscripts (Meeting Friday, July 15th)
  • 18th July WEEK 7: Chap 11 & 12 (Wrapping up & Sending article!) => Final article (Meeting Friday, July 22nd)
  • 25th July WEEK 8: X & Other (Meeting Friday, July 29th)

If you’re following along or want to join, we’ll be meeting here from 9-10 am CT June 21st:

References:

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination. Sage.

#AcWri, #AcWriMo, #AcWriSummer

#AcWriSummer: Week 2 – Abstract Writing & Selecting a Journal

Last week, I shared how we were setting up an #AcWriSummer accountability group. Well, it happened. Thanks to Patrice, Catherine, & Caroline who are joining me on this 8-week #AcWri adventure as we go through the workbook created by Wendy Laura Belcher: Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks. Also, much thanks to Wendy, who shared her syllabi, as we work through our “short course” this summer. Here’s what our #AcWriSummer 2016 Plan looks like for the next few weeks:

  • 6th June WEEK 1: Chapter 1: Designing your plan for writing => Ideas for article; barriers; planning this short course
  • 13th June WEEK 2: Chapter 2 & 4: Abstract writing & Selecting a Journal
  • 20th June WEEK 3: Chapter 5: Reviewing the literature => (Reflections on) Lit review
  • 27th June WEEK 4: Chapter 3 & 6: Advancing argument & Strengthen structure => Article outline
  • 4th July WEEK 5: Chapter 7 & 8:Presenting evidence & Opening/Concluding => Draft article
  • 11th July WEEK 6: Chapter 9 & 10: Give/get/use feedback & Edit sentences => Give feedback on manuscripts
  • 18th July WEEK 7: Chap 11 & 12 (Wrapping up & Sending article!) => Final article
  • 25th July WEEK 8: X & Other (wrap up)

journal-1428424_1280

Items we’ll be working on this week are from Chapter (or Week) 2 and 4, which includes creating an abstract and reviewing potential journal publication outlets. We will be discussing these items on Friday (6/17) morning from 9-10 am CT (see more details about our online, synchronous meetings at the end of this post).

Week 2: Starting Your Article: The Abstract

“One of the best ways to get started on a revision of your journal article is to write and abstract – something that describes your article’s topics and argument” (Belcher, 2009, p. 54).

Why is writing an abstract so important?

  • Solving problems – can you clarify your own writing for what your manuscript is about? If not you might need more focus.
  • Connecting with editors (potential journal outlets) – are you able to explain your manuscript to a potential editor to determine fit with a journal?
  • Getting found – Can you explain and outline your research so it is easily found by other scholars? Think beyond title – abstract, keywords, etc.
  • Getting read – Can you introduce your article well enough that scholars will download and read your full article?
  • Getting cited – Would scholars be able to cite you on reading only your abstract? Do you share what the research is about in a succinct way?

The ‘Ingredients of a Good Abstract: Social Science” as suggested by Belcher (2009, p. 55) would answer the following questions:

  • Why did you start this research/project? (gap in literature, debate, or social issue?)
  • What is the project/research about? (topic of the article)
  • How did you conduct the research? (methodology)
  • What are your findings?  
  • What conclusions are formed from the study? (your argument)
  • What are your recommendations? (optional)

 

Chapter 4: Selecting a Journal: Searching & Evaluating

We bumped up Chapter (Week) 4 to this week, as we think it is important to also have an idea of how to formulate your manuscript based on the publication outlet you are aiming for. In this section of the workbook, Belcher offers a number of questions and resources to consider when searching and evaluating journal outlets.

If you have not already spoken to your advisor, colleagues, or peers about potential journal outlets in your discipline or for your research — you should! NOW! We will be discussing our target journals we have searched and evaluated during this week’s #AcWriSummer meeting. Other suggestions from Belcher (2009) include an old-fashioned shelf/online search, reviewing your citations to see where this research was published, identifying where your discipline publishes through your professional/academic associations and searching journal/electronic databases.

Here are a few search resources for finding journal outlets for publishing:

Let us know if you have other suggestions for searching for journals that you like or use – thanks!

Evaluating Academic Journals

Belcher (2009) offers questions to ask as you review these journal options for your own manuscript. I might suggest keeping the above journal and/or database information available AND be sure to DOWNLOAD the Scopus List [in Excel format] as it will also answer these questions when reviewing potential journals:

    • Is the journal peer reviewed?
    • Is the journal in the recommend publishing outlet category?
    • Does the journal have a solid reputation?
    • Does the journal have a reputable publisher?
    • Has the journal been around for a while?
    • Is the journal carefully produced?
    • Does the journal come out on time?
    • Are the authors published in its pages diverse?
    • Does the journal publish more than 5 or 6 articles a year?
    • Is the journal online or indexed electronically and where?
    • Does it take a long time to get published once you submit your manuscript?
    • Is the journal going through a transition?
    • Who reads the journal?
    • Does the journal have an upcoming theme or special issue on your topic?
    • Does the journal have word or page length limits you can meet?
    • Does the style of your article match the journal’s style?
    • Do you know any of the journal’s editors?
    • How does the journal require articles be submitted?

It was great to learn that Wendy is currently updating her book to include the importance of READING relevant journal articles. In listening to the 1st Episode of Research in Action, Wendy shared how more writers should be reading relevant journals. This is true. If you are not reading at least one article a week (or more), then you are not supporting your academic writing craft. Reading relevant journal articles, specifically those in a journal where you would like to target your manuscript allow you to target your paper by:

  • Citing related articles from the journal you select
  • Finding a model article to outline your manuscript to follow preferred style/format
  • Reading and knowing the direction, focus, scope, etc. of the journal
  • Determining articles published in the journal relevant to your topic, methods, etc.
  • Identifying the length of the articles and the number of references
  • Outlining key components in accepted articles published in that journal outlet 

This is not ALL there is in these workbook chapters for Week’s 2 and 4; however I thought a few of these resources might be helpful if you need to prepare your own abstract and you invested in locating the appropriate academic journal outlet for your manuscript.

Interested in Joining Us for our #AcWriSummer 2016 short course? Here are a few things to get involved in our academic writing group:

  1.  COMMIT to the #acwri process EVERY WEEK. This means following the workbook curriculum, check in during our weekly meetings, and following through with goals and objectives set each week for your writing process.
  2. SHARE YOUR PROGRESS via the #AcWriSummer 2016 Accountability Spreadsheet
  3. MEET EACH FRIDAY  (in June and July) from 9-10 am CT via the GoToMeeting link to “check in” and work through the chapter(s) each week:
  • #AcWri Summer Accountability Group 2016
  • Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/648338213
  • You can also dial in using your phone: United States +1 (408) 650-3123; Access Code: 648-338-213

Reference:

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

#AcWri

#AcWriSummer for #AcWri Accountability Summer 2016

I’ve heard the mantra “publish or perish” in academia from a number of scholars, but what we don’t talk about is the true comradery of academic research and writing. I have been fortunate to be part of a few collaborative research and writing groups and pairs (Shout out to: The Center for Knowledge Solutions, my work with Dr. Nick, The Digital Learning & Social Media Research Group, #edusocmedia research team, the Mentoring Research Team, and the UNT Faculty Writing Group). I am proud to say that research and writing need not be a solo process.  This I know to be true.

In reading the @ProfHacker blog post, Academic Through Accountability, I was prompted to think about my own summer research and writing projects ahead. One quote stood out the most: “Finding the motivation to persevere through lengthy tasks with no end or reward in sight is a major part of being an academic.” The analogy of running and training alongside others for the long haul struck a chord with me. As a marathon runner, and one dedicated to long-term “training” for other sports — I am ready to part of another team to account for my writing habit and keep my #acwri practice productive this summer. And… I learned I am not alone.

Over the next couple of months, Patrice (a.k.a. @ProfPatrice) and I have committed to being #acwri writing partners-in-crime. In doing so we are going to work through the Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks, by Wendy Laura Belcher, in maybe 10 weeks this summer. Thanks to the UNT Writing Faculty Group for this resource, the time I have this summer to work through this book over the summer, and to Patrice for joining me in this #acwri journey process. 12 weeks If you want to join us on this #AcWriSummer journey (there’s a few of us using this hashtag on Twitter),  you can get your own book or read my weekly blog posts, and join our #acwri summer productivity group. There are only two rules:

  1. You have to COMMIT to the #acwri process EVERY WEEK. This means following the chapter curriculum (I’ll try to post the chapter themes on a Monday/Tuesday of each week), check in during our weekly meetings, and following through with goals and objectives set each week for your writing process.
  2. Be sure to #SaveTheDate and JOIN US each Friday (in June and July) from 9-10 am CT via the GoToMeeting link to “check in” to discuss your #AcWri progress:

#AcWri Summer Accountability Group 2016

Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/648338213

You can also dial in using your phone: United States +1 (408) 650-3123; Access Code: 648-338-213

Week 1: Designing Your Plan for Writing

  • Understanding your feelings about writing
  • Keys to positive writing experiences
  • Designing a plan for submitting your article in twelve weeks (or less)
  • Selecting a paper or projects for revision/writing
  • Choosing Your Writing Site
  • Organizing your writing Schedule
  • Anticipating and overturning writing obstacles

It’s time to clean off that #AcWri white board of mine and put a few goals up… more to be updated soon! See y’all on Friday (6/10) at 9 am CT if you want to join the fun. Blogging, Instagramming, or tweeting about your academic writing progress? Feel free to use #AcWriSummer to share your updates. Write on!

Reference:

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

#AcDigID, #AcWri, #phdchat, Academia, Higher Education, networkedscholar

#AcDigID: Academic Digital Identity Matters

Over the last few weeks, you might have noticed the #AcDigID hanging off a few of my social posts. In between #OLCInnovate conference wrap-up work and the end-of-semester fun, I was designing a new workshop I’ll be facilitating via the Online Learning Consortium. This 7-day, asynchronous, online workshop is designed to support digital identity development for faculty and staff in higher education.

#AcDigID_hashtag

Developing Your Social Media and Digital Presence

Workshop Description: What does your online identity look like today? Have you Googled yourself lately? In academia, it is becoming increasingly vital to publish and share your teaching, service, and research knowledge. Besides developing an online presence and utilizing social media for professional development, faculty and staff are actively utilizing open and digital channels to support, learn, and contribute a thriving network of connected scholars. In this workshop, you will explore meaningful ways to craft an active, online persona, learn about strategies to effectively include social media and digital resources for your professional development, and understand how an online community of practice can enhance the work you do.

Learning Objectives:

  • Evaluate social media and digital platforms for faculty professional development, connected learning, and research impact.
  • Establish effective strategies for developing an online digital identity for open, networked scholarship.
  • Outline the benefits and challenges of open and digital scholarship while using social

Dates Offered: May 16-22, 2016 and September 26-October 2, 2016; Registration Page (if interested in signing up)

Initially, I was asked to create a workshop around social media; however I thought this could be more. There’s actually a lot more than just social media needed when becoming a networked scholar and in crafting your digital persona. Academic social networks are on the rise and there are a number of reasons why scholars use social media and digital resources (Van Noorden, 2014). This is an important topic we to talk about with our peers in higher ed, as we are all public intellectuals now – at least in some shape or form.

If you have ever attended a webinar and/or concurrent session with me on the topic, there’s way too much to share in just 45-60 minutes – so I was thrilled to think about these issues in an extended format and to figure out how to best support academics interested in building their digital presence. It’s been fun planning this workshop, as it has made me return back to my blog archive, review the articles I have curated, visit texts I’ve read, and also pick up a couple of new ones to learn more (future blog posts to review these books soon!).

Here’s the outline for the #AcDigID workshop this coming week:

  • Why Does Social & Digital Identity Matter in Academia?
    • Getting started, digital identity development, and state of scholars online
  • The Tools of the Digital Academic Trade: Social Media
    • Twitter, hashtags, blogging, podcasting, LinkedIn, and more!
  • Being a Connected and Digital Scholar
    • Digital research impact and influence, ORCID iD, academic social networks designed for scholars, and measuring impact.
  • Openness in Academia: Benefits & Challenges
    • Being open in higher education, the tension between challenges and affordances of online, and experiences from networked scholars.
  • Building Your Social and Digital Presence Online
    • Creating your own space and place for scholarship (at least 3 platforms)
  • Developing Your Digital Academic Identity
    • Bonus: ways to aggregate and showcase your digital/social profiles

I am looking forward to sharing ideas and strategies for digital scholarship and identity online this week in the #AcDigID workshop. I don’t claim to know all, and I continue to learn – however I will say I am grateful for those networked scholars who have supported my digital developing along the way. That being said, I know some of you might have suggestions, experiences, stories, and more when it comes to academic digital identity development. I welcome this. If you are or have been a higher education faculty/staff who is/was on social media, academic networking sites, or just online – please consider giving some advice to my #AcDigID workshop participants.

#AcDigID ADVICE and RESOURCES WANTED for how you share your teaching, service, and research scholarship online:

  • ADD TO THE LIST: to my “Academics Who Tweet” Twitter list? I would like to get a variety of scholars from all disciplines and areas in higher education. Let me know if YOU or someone else should be added.
  • SUGGEST A HASHTAG: Do you follow a particular academic hashtag that my #AcDigID community should know about?

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  • TELL YOUR #AcDigID STORY: Interested in coming to talk about your #AcDigID development? How did you become a networked scholar? Want to share your issues, challenges or affordances for your academic online self? Let me know – happy to have you during a synchronous, online meeting.
  • JOIN THE #AcDigID TWITTER CHAT: Join us for the live Twitter chat this coming Friday, May 20 from 1-2 pm EST – We will, of course, use the #AcDigID to ask questions and discuss the issues, challenges, and affordances of being a scholar online.

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  • USE the #AcDigID HASHTAG this week to introduce yourself, say hello, share resources, or offer advice.

Reference:

Van Noorden, R. (2014). Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network. Nature, 512(7513), 126-129.