WRITING FOR ACADEMIC JOURNALS ROWENA MURRAY PDF

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Writing for Academic Journals [Rowena Murray] on compwalsoihassre.tk *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Academics are expected to write but seldom consider. Viva (Open University Press ) and Writing for Academic. Journals (Open University Press ). Praise for this edition: “This book has filled a huge. Academic. Writing. Rowena Murray and Sarah Moore. Murray and Moore. A Fresh Approach . Whether you are writing your doctorate, planning a journal article ment of Educational Studies. compwalsoihassre.tk pdf.


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What writing for your thesis have you done, and what would you Viva. Murray, R. () Writing for Academic. Journals. Maidenhead: Open University Press-. ROWENA MURRAY, Writing for Academic Journals. Maidenhead: Open University. Press, + xiii pp. ISBN 0 8 (pbk). JUDITH BELL, Doing. This is a collection of papers written by twelve writers, most of whom are currently academic staff of Britain's Liverpool Hope University. For- tunately, the editor.

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Author of "Whether writing the first draft or the final draft, this book enables and inspires academics to develop their own writing strategies and goals. Not only does it enable them to increase their publication output and meet deadlines, but it boosts enthusiasm for writing and stimulates creative thinking. The approach streamlines the process and provides strategies for overcoming barriers.

Feedback from the professionals using the approach was excellent. It tells readers what good papers look like, and explains how they come to be written. Busy academics must develop productive writing practices quickly. No one has time for trial and error.

To pass external tests of research output we must write to a high standard while juggling other professional tasks. This may mean changing writing behaviours.

Writing for Academic Journals draws on current research and theory to provide new knowledge on writing across the disciplines. Drawing on her extensive experience of running writing workshops and working closely with academics on developing writing, Rowena Murray offers a host of practical tried and tested strategies for good academic writing.

She teaches on the Advanced Academic Studies course and the Postgraduate Programme and her courses on academic writing are sought after across the UK and overseas. John McFarlane cover design: Except for the quotation of short passages for the purposes of criticism and review, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher or a licence from the Copyright Licensing Agency Limited.

A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library. Beyond reason and vanity 1 Why write for academic journals?

Can it be learned? Is it innate?

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A writing plan Goal setting minute slots Monitoring progress Creating a place for writing in your life Becoming a regular writer A six-month writing programme Checklist 8 What constitutes good writing in journals? Acceptance Proofs Offprints Marketing your writing What next? This is to say that we can all develop our writing skills throughout our careers, and that writing development — or whatever you want to call it — is not remedial; far from it. When we come to the subject of writing for academic journals, there are other problematic misconceptions: You cannot write for academic journals until you have immersed yourself in the literature and you cannot write for academic journals if you have not done any research.

These and other widely accepted conceptions about writing for academic journals have, of course, an element of truth in them; you do have to know the literature and you do have to contextualize your contribution in terms of the other work that has been done.

If you wait until you feel you have achieved that, you may never write. If you wait until you have found your place in the literature, you may lose the creative spark, the germ of your own idea and your commitment to write. In reality, it is the process of publishing a paper that helps you to establish your place in the literature. If this is true, then you need strategies to write and develop your ideas while you are still learning about academic writing in your field.

There are, in fact, many varieties of paper published in many fields. Many see writing as a discipline-specific activity and will wonder how this book can possibly address new writers in every field. The answer lies in a generic approach, showing how, while each discipline is indeed in many ways quite different, there are similarities in writing published in journals across disciplines.

Yet each field does have its own rhetoric; in fact, each journal has, in a sense, its own genre, its own prevailing conventions and values.

Detailed analysis of journal articles from different fields demonstrates the process of working out precisely what journal editors and reviewers are looking for. On another level, if we look at practice — what people actually do when they write and how they manage to get it done — writing again presents challenges to new writers in all disciplines: In a sense, of course, these are practical problems, in that they concern practice.

But, as we all know, it is difficult to separate out all the levels of activity that writing involves, to distinguish the purely practical from the cognitive, for example. They are closely connected. This book therefore addresses the key challenges in writing academic papers in terms of actual writing practices: As for any research task, a range of strategies is available, and it is probably good to have more than one.

What is new about this book is my argument that the way to regular, mean- PREFACE xiii ingful and enjoyable writing for journals is through an integrated approach: Many others, in many writing groups and programmes, have helped me understand what goes on when we write. Without all these rehearsals and airings, my ideas would not have developed beyond my reading, observations and my own writing.

Given the lack of immediate, or even long-term, reward for publishing, there must also be personal motives. The satisfaction that writing a paper brings only comes later, sometimes much later, long after the writing. Nor will publication necessarily bring any tangible reward.

Given that few academics who aim to be published in the top journals will ever achieve this, most must have other reasons to write. Nor is regular publication a guarantee — for everyone — of career progression; for most academics publication does not automatically bring status and promotion.

In fact, the dominant characteristic of academic writers is their persistence, as much as anything else, which keeps them going when others have given up: A writer needs obstinate perseverance to succeed. Writing is a fairly thankless undertaking. I think people get tired of it pretty quickly, so sticking with it is the greatest part of the battle. Messud, quoted in Roberts et al. In reality, however, the two types of motivation may work in opposition.

Perhaps the competitiveness endemic in academic writing can be read as an externalization of this internal conflict. This book is aimed at all academic writers, published or otherwise, since continuing to write and publish, and finding a purpose in doing so, is an ongoing challenge.

In the present climate, the same could be said of writing for academic journals. Do academics really need to learn about writing? It has been argued that academics learn about writing in the course of their careers: Successful university lecturers are likely to have spent many years developing acceptable ways of constructing their own knowledge through their own writing practices in a variety of disciplinary contexts.

Lea and Street While it would be interesting — and worthwhile — to research why this might be, it is the purpose of this book to address the stated need for guidance and development in the demanding task of writing for academic journals, particularly for new writers: Given the opportunity to experience writing development, many academics are surprised at how little they know about writing and some are relieved finally to be able to admit it: One of the first topics explored was how is academic writing learned?

The answer. This trial and error process is not just confined to academic writing; it extends to all forms of writing. How could it be? Yet there was an assumption that writing development or instruction was only for those who struggled with writing, perhaps non-native speakers, or those whose writing skills were poor.

Although this assumption persists, there is growing acknowledgement that we ought to learn more about writing if we want to be published in academic journals. In some disciplines, some support is provided during the PhD, but in others there is nothing at all for new writers. What exactly we need to learn is, of course, still a matter of some debate. Pressure on academics to publish increases year by year. In addition, as more institutions are granted university status and new disciplines join higher education, there is an urgent need for support in this area.

Lecturers in these universities, some of whom are highly experienced, face even more intense pressure to participate in audit exercises that make publication targets very specific. Many of these lecturers will not have published in the past, but will be expected to do so immediately. They have to run to catch up with the other, more established disciplines with whom they will be compared.

This pressure to publish is international, as, it appears, is the demand for development and support. Writing for publication requires a difficult transformation for those who have recently completed — or are still working on — a PhD thesis UK or dissertation USA.

It can be a complex transformation, involving several dimensions of change. Many new writers do not have rhetorical knowledge — knowledge of the techniques of persuasive writing that are the building blocks of scholarly writing. Consequently, they may make errors in their first papers, some of which, in my development work across the UK and elsewhere, I find recur across disciplines: Yet many new writers spend too long on this, in their early drafts, and produce an over-long first draft that then has to be radically cut.

They are often able to say, immediately, when challenged, what it is they are trying to write: Balanced, usable sentences often appear in discussions about the paper. Once these flaws are pointed out to writers — as flaws — they can quickly modulate their tone, trim their critique and prune their paper.

Academics can, therefore, learn about writing; in fact, they do so very quickly, once the principles have been pointed out to them.

This book will define and illustrate many of the key principles. What difference will it make? The popularity of the Writing for Publication programme that I designed demonstrates demand for writing development at universities and in other organizations, such as hospital Trusts.

Writers develop both a knowledge base and the behaviours they need to become regular writers. While this book covers a wide range of approaches, the main theme is developing an integrated writing strategy. This involves working on all of the dimensions of the writing act. If you can create situations where you are able to work on all the dimensions of writing at the same time, it is possible to change your academic writing practices quite quickly.

In this way, you include the rhetorical, psycho-social and cognitive aspects of writing. You will not just be talking about text. The distinctiveness of this book is that it brings all these types of approaches together: It is not just about one or the other.

These are tried and tested approaches, refined in many different programmes and in discussions with writers about their papers. What can research tell us about academic writing? There is a body of knowledge on writing — about how it is learned and how it is done, about what constitutes good writing and how it is achieved. There is a substantial amount of scholarship on how undergraduate writing skills can be developed, but less on academic writers.

Blaxter et al. There is research on strategies used by one group of productive academic writers. Hartley and Branthwaite studied British psychologists and found that their results matched closely those of Boice Although the research is not recent, it does offer pointers that later researchers would endorse: Complete sections one at a time.

It may help to do them in order. Use a word processor if possible. Revise and redraft at least twice. Plan to spend about 2 to 5 hours writing per week in term time. Find quiet conditions in which to write and, if possible, always write in the same place or places. Hartley and Branthwaite There is advice on how many hours you should try to spend on writing per week, which does not sound like much, but it is probably more manageable than the higher figure many new writers would set themselves.

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Point 6 recalls all that study skills advice that we give students. In this context it sounds a bit rigid, but this is what worked for the productive writers in this study.

Perhaps, as psychologists, they were better at identifying productive behaviours. They would, for example, know all about the powers of goals and targets both in theory and in practice. Boice , developed writing strategies for academics, backed up by empirical evidence. His approach is still relevant, though contentious to academics who have developed a different mode: Again and again, I have come back to the question, is it possible or sensible to talk about any one of the dimensions of writing separately from the others?

Can we talk about rhetorical skills without, for example, talking about the need to — and skills of, having the confidence to — negotiate on a daily basis time to write? People tell me all the time that there is no time to write. The need constantly to be switching things around, stretching deadlines for other things in order to write — surely that too is a skill?

Although, are we not already doing this kind of thing with other aspects of our professional roles? There are negotiating processes involved in writing and in time management and my work has opened up some of these individual and group negotiations. Can we make any progress if we only work to improve in one area? One wonders why, if writing is so important in academic life, there has not been more research.

The real reason may lie in the complexity of writing, involving potentially several different disciplines: Another block to research may, of course, be the residual stigma attached to writing development. They will function quite well without the explicit support of senior staff, but their active resistance or explicit criticism will make it very difficult to continue. In practice, staff are just as likely to be unsure of how to use the semi-colon as students.

While we let that debate rage on, perhaps we can progress by admitting that what we learned at school about writing — whether that included grammar or not — was never likely to be sufficient for writing an academic paper.

There is also a misconception that writing can be separated from learning and research: He singled out my session for this censure, not only putting me in my place, before I even had a chance to say a word about writing skills, but quite likely also discouraging anyone at his institution from seeking, or perhaps from providing, writing development. This book What distinguishes this book from others on the subject is that it deals not only with increasing or improving output, but also with the process of changing writing practices.

Productive strategies are provided to help writers change their practices. Change takes time. There is also evidence that they will be successful. By working through this book writers can discover their own reasons for writing.

Each chapter includes writing activities that progress the writing project in stages, from start to finish, from finding topics to responding to reviewers. Chapters are linked by questions or comments repeatedly raised by writers. Unless these issues are addressed the writing project falters. In practice, some writers immediately take to some of the writing strategies described here; others find them counter-intuitive or not immediately productive.

The trick is to adopt or adapt them, as appropriate, and, more importantly, to stick with them for long enough to see the benefit. Clearly, reading about a writing strategy, or even trying it once or twice, will have little or no impact on your practice or output. Writing is not treated as a skill that you learn once and for all, but as a professional task that continues to present an on-going challenge to new and experienced writers alike.

Writing for academic journals is widely perceived as one of the most discipline-specific activities. Many academics assume that it is not possible to discuss writing in a generic way and that only someone in their area can provide useful feedback or instruction. Yet, this is to ignore the deep structures of published arguments across a wide range of subjects, illustrated in this book. This material is, therefore, relevant to all disciplines.

This book combines research- and practice-based approaches in order to help writers change their approach to writing and adjust their academic writing practices.

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There is some evidence that, once adopted, these new strategies can help writers with other, non-scholarly writing tasks. The emphasis is on what writers do — or can do — rather than on what editors or reviewers do. Although the role of the reviewers is dealt with in this book, the focus is on how writers can respond to feedback in order to move their writing towards publication. That nature of the academy and of academic work is to foster rivalry through discrimination between various theories and ideas, which are largely — as critics of the academy delight in pointing out — subjective, which heightens the tension between scholars all the more.

Rossen What is academic writing? The aim is to prompt readers, particularly if you have not published much or at all in academic journals, to address your motivations.

These can be quite mixed. New writers are often ambivalent about academic journals, even, sometimes particularly, journals in their field, and this can be a barrier to writing. It is crucial to address the issues that come up most frequently in discussions at this stage; if the issues are not addressed, it is unlikely that there will be any writing. If you are not a regular writer, you may have counter-motivations; there may be factors, people or strategies holding you back from writing.

Alternatively, there may be achievements that occur because you do not write, and you may be worried about losing these if you have to devote time and energy to writing. You may not like the kinds of writing you see in journals in your field. Many new writers express a strong antipathy to what they see there: They may feel guilty, and may have to start by putting the sense of failure — at not having made more progress — behind them.

In order to do this, some type of re-tuning of motivation might be necessary. External drivers also impact on your motivation to write. Ironically, these sometimes interfere with internal, or intrinsic, motivations. Each writer has to work out his or her own answer to the question of why to write for scholarly publication. Important answers include developing your profile, progressing in your career and developing your understanding of your field. Once the ambivalence has been resolved, it is possible to reposition writing as valuable, feasible and enjoyable.

The craft or art of writing is the clumsy attempt to find symbols for the wordlessness. In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.

Steinbeck It is the desire to think and write more, to fill some of these gaps that informs my desire to leave the academy — to think and write on subjects of my choice, in the manner that I wish to write, in whatever voice I choose.

I enjoy writing about many subjects in different ways. This has begun to change recently, in some disciplines, but in others such changes are still seen as inappropriate to the enterprise of research.

The academic approach to research — and the academic style available for writing about it — is inherently limited. Those who find it limiting are not necessarily limited themselves; it is important to acknowledge that much of what we think, say and do in the course of our work can become invisible when we publish. That accounts for academic writing, the product, but what about the process?

A published paper creates an illusion of linear progression, when, as we all know, writing is a dynamic, cyclical process. While the merits of published papers are often discussed, there is relatively little discussion of how writing actually gets done: How do productive writers manage to get so much done?

I ask them if they know what it means and, almost always, a silence falls. Usually, a few immediately respond that they do not know. This can affect not only how they talk about writing with their students, but also how they manage their own writing. Writing can, of course, be learned. The problem is there are very few formal, or informal, opportunities to learn.

Feedback from journal editors and reviewers teaches us some lessons, but it is not advisable to set out to use them in that way. They will not appreciate it. Some report that, in any case, they find it difficult to give feedback on writing.

If it can be learned, then can it be un-learned? People who do not write regularly, or who have stopped writing for a while, feel that they have lost the ability to write: It is possible to have a sense of your incompetence at the thought of writing, and this, if it goes on for long enough, can be aversive: This is something you have to find ways to avoid, if you are to write for academic journals.

As for many other aspects of our professional roles for which we received no training or education, there is a tenacious myth that there are those who can write and those who cannot: For new writers there is a potential double bind here: This suggests that, across many different institutions, and in several countries, it is difficult to get past the remedial model: The ability to write successfully for academic journals is not, of course, innate, although, interestingly, many people still think that it is.

This is not an excuse for avoiding writing development or, importantly, writing discussions. There are strategies for productive writing and ways of making time for writing in the average over-loaded academic life. Perhaps you do need to overcome the sense that writers are a breed apart. Perhaps you need to learn new tricks. This list is no more than a starting point for thinking about where you are in what could be seen as a continuum between writing for yourself and writing for others: Starting today?

If you have always had a feeling — as many have — that you would like to write, if only you knew how to go about it, then now is the time to start. The general purpose of this book is to make a case for two kinds of writing: Writing for others, particularly for academic journals, can sometimes seem too constraining; writing for yourself, if you can silence your internal editor, is a crucial way to make sure that you develop your idea, your voice and your confidence.

Some writers argue that they like writing and do not lack confidence, but see no reason to get into print. They have other ways, they argue, of gaining professional recognition and other outlets for their communications than academic journals. And what about consequences for your learning? Where will you find the kind of hard critique provided by journal reviewers? Co-authoring with students, for example, can help them in their search for a good job after graduation, in some professions.

They will certainly have learned from publishing, provided you allow them to participate in the process, and you will have modelled a form of continuing professional development. In addition, if you have not published before, this is an excellent way of developing a small-scale piece of work for a journal. Internal and external drivers For writing, as for other professional tasks, there is a complex mixture of internal and external motivations.

Even in discussion among those who want to write for journals, there can be resistance to actually doing it. Both external and internal drivers may combine if your aim is to get on in your career, yet this might be complicated by your ambivalence towards the writing you see published in the journal articles in your field.

You may even develop feelings of antipathy towards those who regularly publish, particularly if they are in promoted positions. The important lesson is that once you yourself have a body of work and experience, you too may write quite different types of papers; they may be very different from your first published paper.

Internal drivers include your intention genuinely to develop your writing skills, yet you may feel ambivalent about feedback you receive from peers and reviewers. You may flat out disagree with the feedback. The criticisms may indeed be unfair and unhelpful, but your reaction may be as much about the emotional side of receiving criticism of your writing. You have, after all, invested so much of yourself in it. Until you have been through the process several times, you may find yourself taking criticism personally.

It will come as no comfort to know that as your knowledge of journal writing deepens, you may uncover new layers of ambivalence: This might be the best indication yet that it is an on-going struggle to bridge the gap between your internal and external drivers. You may continue to feel that what started out as your distinctive voice has morphed into journal-speak. There are those who will find all of this a bit pathetic; of course we all have to publish as part of our jobs — why all the ambiguity?

Surely it is your responsibility to add to the store of knowledge and to keep yourself up to date for the sake of your students? If this is your view, you will, in theory, find it easier to make time and space for your writing, although when you start to, for the first time, there will be consequences for other people: You have to be very clear, if you want to write, what place it occupies in your life.

Mantel, quoted in Roberts et al. Even if you simply want to be acknowledged for your work by promotion, there will be those who see you as selfish. No matter how much time and energy you plough into other roles, supporting students when no one else will, representing your department on more than your share of committees, and being course leader on more courses than two or more of your colleagues, there will be people in your peer group who refuse to see all your efforts.

The point of this one-sided narrative is to characterize another type of external driver: These can drive against your writing, convincing you to make less time for it, not more. You do have to make writing more important than anything else at some point, in order to get it done at all. If you never make it the priority you will never do it. You have to ask yourself, what exactly are you waiting for?: Write as if you are dying.

It works. Gemmell, in Roberts et al.

Career implications You may not enjoy the career appraisal or review process — that more or less statutory discussion with your head of department or director about your progress and goals, and you may not even find it useful, but it does give you an opportunity to make connections between what you want to do in your writing and what your department or unit values.

The same goes for promotion time: They are just as likely to read your publications as you are to read theirs — not at all likely. Think again.

Take every opportunity to make that link explicit. In some disciplines, this will be superfluous; in fact, you may think the whole process of formal career review is superfluous. But in some areas, and perhaps at some times, it is much more important to make these links explicit. No one will do this for you; it may be that no one else could.

Find out, if you can, how others would answer these questions, noting the interesting array of answers and areas of convergence. Note any dislocations, however minor, between the stated agenda and what is going on in practice, without, if you can avoid it, becoming too involved in what others are doing or not doing.

You have no control over that, and is it really any of your business? In some disciplines, this would be ridiculous and possibly damaging to your career, but you might be surprised at the flexibility of the discipline bases when there are financial consequences. This is not to say that your output should be fixed for your entire career.

Again, it depends on your discipline and, above all, on your understanding of how people construct a programme of publications at different stages in their careers. Take a look at a few web sites: It may seem premature to be thinking of developing a research profile, but your first publication may present you to the research community in a particular way.

It is important that you can live with that. Even better if you are making a conscious choice, even if it is a compromise determined as much by where you think you can get published as by where you would really like to be published.

If you want to develop a profile, will you have to focus your publications in a certain area, not publishing too widely? Or will you be able to use diversity, in your writing, to make a broader impact?

I discovered long ago in collecting and classifying marine animals that what I found was closely intermeshed with how I felt at the moment.

All sorts of studies count as research, in some disciplines, and the growing rigour and credibility of a range of qualitative methods has opened the door for those who do not want to learn statistics, for example. Research is as much about the work you are currently doing, including teaching, as anything else.

If you have expertise, experience and a profile in an area, then it makes sense to find your research in that area, unless you hate it with a passion. If you can find the right journal, and can construct a sufficient contribution, then you have a potential publication.

For example, a brief survey of the sub-field of social work dealing with residential childcare produced the following in published papers: Pazaratz 3 The author draws upon 30 years of experience in. Gavin and Lister 4 This article looks at how. There is a discussion of practical skills and training directions Ziegler The second example demonstrates that a new model, developed by the author, can make an important contribution.

The third explicitly draws on extensive experience, making the case that this is itself an important body of knowledge. Such options will not be available in all fields, but they are available in more fields than many new writers are aware. In some disciplines, they simply cannot constitute the ingredients of new knowledge. This will be obvious to writers in those disciplines, but it is important that writers in other disciplines are not put off by these criteria.

You will know what does and does not count as new knowledge from your reading. This is no time to be distracted by writing — and what other people say about writing — in other disciplines than your own. Brew has argued that academic research — not just the writing that is published about it — is itself narrow, requiring closer links to living with uncertainty, ambiguity and the actual processes of researching.

There is also a prompt here for analysis of practice. There is bound to be some such critique in your own discipline; you will not be the first to have these feelings or ideas about academic writing in your discipline. Research must acknowledge its disasters as well as its achievements; its rigidities as well as its creativity; its power and its powerlessness; its openness and its dogmatic blinkers.

Brew Research can be quite narrowly defined, but acknowledging that narrowness, carefully identifying its nature and form, can strengthen your arguments. A key problem for researchers in many different fields is about how such critiques can be made credible and robust.

Brew has analysed the conceptions of research held by established senior researchers and has identified four categories of research experience: The domino series of tasks , trading a social phenomenon emphasizing products , layer excavating reality and journey research transforms the researcher.

Whether the research outcomes are conceived in terms of publications, research grants, the achievement of objectives or social benefits, more often than not in this variation, research is described in terms of relationships, activities or ideas of other people e. Clearly, this suggests that it is important to develop not just an internal sense of audience, but also real external audiences, for our research and writing.

The strongest link to writing is, in fact, with this trading orientation, as Brew illustrates with a quotation from one of the participants in her study: You should always be writing,.

Half the time is reading, half the time is writing. This last point may come as no surprise; many academics who want to write identify lack of support as a barrier. But you need to take steps to change this: Brew argues that the trading variation is more likely to lead to publication.

You will, of course, come across others with whom you want to work, but whose orientation towards research clashes with yours. This may mean that they can, for a while, perhaps not forever, serve as research colleagues for you and you for them. This discussion may also sharpen your understanding of research. To complicate matters further, you may change your orientation to research as you do more of it, or as you write more about it or as you learn more from feedback from reviewers.

This too could be the topic of discussion, as long as the driver is the focus on external products the trading variation. In fact, in some disciplines, the question of what does and does not constitute research is a recurring subject of debate, and not just in the academics-versuspractitioners direction. Looking across a range of disciplines, you can see that making the case for your research as sufficient to be given the name is often among the first steps in academic argument.

This is another reason to write about it. You can take this a step further and consider writing in different forms — as a conscious development process, but with the possibility of publication in mind — such as narrative: Many people who are new to research, and to academic writing, have at some stage in their career written themselves out of research and, as their careers take shape, have found it difficult to write themselves back in.

Although academic writing in your discipline may not allow such subjectivity, there are potential benefits in developing a subjective response to research; it may be important for your long-term motivation.

If academic writing — and a great deal of research — has its origins in a set of positivistic assumptions, then it may be productive to explore the limits of those assumptions. In some disciplines, their dominance is being eroded in any case. In others they are ripe for challenge: It is not only cynics, the excluded and the disenchanted who take issue with what constitutes research.

Some creative thinkers never tire of challenging the status quo. In some disciplines, this will seem like wasting time; there is no need to develop an orientation, since researching — and writing about it — is obviously what researchers do. Reasons for not writing Reasons given for actively taking up a position of not writing give insights into the nature of professional workplaces and the terms and conditions of those who are expected to write for publication at this time: My teaching comes first.

I resent giving up so much of my personal time. I do a lot of writing, just not for publication. Many reasons for not writing have their origin in lack of confidence.

This in turn is sustained by lack of education about the characteristics of highquality academic writing — the product and the process — and lack of clear goal setting. Those who decide that the problem lies not with academic writing but with their deficiencies can congratulate themselves on being right: Yet, we can all theoretically, comfortably admit that no one can know everything about academic writing; everyone learns something about it from doing it.

The paradox is that people still fault themselves for not having learned more when no teaching was available in the first place. The problem is that there is little or no discussion about how advanced writing — that is, beyond the level of high school — is learned, about who needs to learn or about which modes of learning might work best for them.

There are, therefore, reasons behind the reasons: The sooner you admit that you can learn about writing, the better.

Then you can set about looking for a course, group, mentor, programme or web site. The activities in this book will help you to start, progress and complete a paper, if, that is, you actually do them. Many think they simply have nothing to write about. The point to make here is that until you have reconfigured your work and your ideas — in writing — they will continue to seem far too modest for a paper in an academic journal.

Yet, most papers do make modest contributions. Define what yours is, as this is an essential element of most papers anyway. Not everyone does, you know. It is a legitimate question, but what was he really asking? The intellectual capacity to do what? To analyse the literature, to work out what still needs to be done and to plan a piece of writing about that? And how would that intellectual capacity have been measured? Do we all need to have first-class undergraduate degrees?

PhDs with distinction? Royal Society Fellowships? And how would that intellectual capacity have been developed in the first place; could it be that writing for academic journals is one way of developing it, teaching us how to raise the standard of our work and our writing? You have to handle the question of your intellectual ability very carefully; it can be transformed into a reason not to write. Much of what experienced writers know about writing for publication was learned through writing for publication.

Many people will challenge your ability to write for academic journals. This challenge may also be legitimate, though its relentless repetition can be wearing. Most academics and professionals will have no dedicated writing time anyway. Whatever your starting point, it is possible to develop your knowledge, understanding and skills — without wanting to get into the debate about whether or not that means developing your intellectual capacity — through writing for publication.

The purpose of your academic writing is to persuade readers to think about your ideas, at least, but it is also to develop those ideas. You will also find ways to strengthen your research. In the end, I do still assume that everyone has something to write about. The question is, can you find the right place to publish it? Turgid writing They make it so tedious — footnotes and bibliographies! Who cares what you read? Just get on with it. Ellmann, quoted in Hanks New writers are often dismayed at what they find in academic journals.

They reject the inherent value of papers published in a style they do not like. They reject the opportunity to transform their ideas into a new genre.

They use the dominant styles and structures to construct an argument for not writing for academic journals. This argument then provides a rationale for not writing at all; after all, the argument goes, who would want to join such degraded, self-serving, navelgazing debates? In many discussions I have heard this literally transformed into a reason not to write for academic journals at all.

Again, that is, of course, an option, but not one explored in this book. Critiquing the dominant norms and forms of academic journals is an important activity.

Negotiating the extent to which we choose to reproduce what we find there is an essential part of the writing process.

The key point is that colleagues will not read our writing, no matter how fresh we think our style is, if we do not make some allowance for their perspective. Writing for academic journals is not about performance; it is about persuasion. This means that we always have to adjust our writing style to suit our audience.

This might require a change of your perspective: The decision not to write for a journal because you do not like its style — or any other aspect of its content or presentation — is superficial.

It may even indicate a lack of understanding of why the journal is written in a certain way. Accepting that you may have something to learn from analysing — and producing — a different style is more likely to develop your writing skills and your understanding of what it is that gets published in your field. Personal preferences are very powerful; people have very strong views on and feelings about what constitutes good writing. Narrow range For some, the range of writing options available in academic journals is just too narrow; others see this as a plus as it helps them decide what to write and how.

But it is about being rhetorical. It involves looking for a way to join a conversation that has been going on, in the literature, for some time. You may think your writing is not ready to show to anyone else. It is probably a good idea not to expect that feeling to go away. What makes people keep their writing from others? Lack of confidence? Unsure of how it might help them? Unsure of what sort of feedback they are looking for?

A bad experience: Not leaving enough time; just wanting to submit it? If you have had bad feedback on your academic writing before, why was that?: All of these must happen sometimes, but the trick is to keep going.

Does it seem convincing? Does it make a contribution? Does it seem appropriate for the journal you are targeting? That might be plenty. Write these questions on a separate page, staple it to your paper, highlight them in colour, put it all in a plastic envelop so that the front sheet cannot become detached, give them or discuss with them a deadline by which your reader will return it to you.

I once asked a senior colleague for feedback on a paper that had been returned with major revisions required. Eight months later he put it in my mail tray with one comment written at the top of the first page: Why did that happen?

In hindsight, I can see that he was not the right person, but I could only have found that out by asking him in the first place. Another way of getting feedback in the early stages of the development of a paper is to email the editor to check that both your proposed subject and what you intend to say about it are of sufficient interest — as they see it — to readers of their journal at all.

Without this early checking, it would be possible to write a paper that they are generally interested in, but that takes a direction that they consider moves away from their area of interest. The purpose of this list of pre-peer reviewers and their possible roles is to prompt new writers particularly to think laterally about finding feedback.

Writing For Academic Journals (3rd ed.)

This is easier said than done: Guilt, fear and anxiety Many people report that they can be quite creative in finding ways to avoid writing: There have even, apparently, been one or two very clean bathrooms. There is potential distraction in an almost endless list of domestic and professional tasks. These avoidance tactics are probably related to uncertainties about the writing project, but they may also be related to writing itself. How many of us were ever taught a range of writing strategies for getting started quickly?

Some consider their displacement activity as an essential step in the writing process, even if they are not entirely happy with it. This is often cited as a reason for not trying the generative strategies that are proposed later in this book: It takes me half an hour to get started. Whatever the purpose or value attributed to such beliefs and behaviours, if they work to stimulate your writing, then all is well.

If they do not, guilt follows. If you want to become a successful academic writer, it might not be enough simply to learn more about the technical skills; it might be equally important to invest time in developing your confidence through new types of writing activity, dealt with later in this book. The institution in which you work is not likely to change, in order to give you more time to write and more recognition for your writing, but you can develop an identity as a writer within that context.

Over time, as you publish more, guilt, fear and anxiety diminish. Before you start to see yourself as a neurotic or timid loser, you should consider the very real risks that you run by submitting your work to an academic journal.

Experts scrutinize your research and your writing. You make mistakes. You attract criticism. You unintentionally criticize an authority, causing conflict. You develop your argument beyond what you can logically claim and beyond the evidence. Until your paper has been peer reviewed, you may not be sure that you have made a contribution. If you are submitting your first paper, there are more potential risks: Your statement of the problem is seen as too general, under-referenced.

Linking your work with that of established figures is seen as presumptuous. Once you are a successful, published author, there are new risks: The trick is to get to grips with these potential risks, work out which ones are holding you back and discuss them with trusted colleagues who want you to succeed.

We have all had these thoughts. We all have our particular trigger, the one that makes us lose confidence from time to time. The good news is that it will make you strengthen your arguments. In practice, over time, these thoughts can become quite destructive prompts for writing, that is, prompts that tell you not to write see Chapter 3 for more on writing to prompts.

They can also make you lose focus in your writing, as you try too hard to strengthen your arguments. This may be why so many new writers put so much into their first drafts of their first papers. This section has gone into fears and anxieties in some depth because new writers do seem able to find many reasons not to get started, or, once started, to give up when they are asked to revise papers.

This is partly due to a lack of understanding of the process and partly to a lack of confidence in your ability to meet this new challenge, often without any training or support, and also partly to fears that may go back to your early education: Throughout my twenty years of teaching at a number of universities I have witnessed the terror and anguish many students feel about writing.

Many acknowledge that their hatred and fear of writing surfaced in grade school and gathered momentum through high school, reaching a paralyzing peak in the college years. Convinced that if you had more time you would write more? Tasks that have deadlines get done before those that do not.

You already know that a deadline forces you to prioritize. Anything with a deadline is automatically more important than something that has not. For some academics, teaching is always a priority. Marking examinations unavoidably consumes large periods of time at certain points in the academic year. For other professionals, caring for patients will be a priority. Even when you do give writing a time slot in your diary, it is very difficult to protect it.

For some, it proves impossible. There are, therefore, very good reasons for putting writing off, as other priorities arise. It may even feel quite subversive to be thinking about ways to lever writing into your timetable. Who else will you tell? Who will support you as you do this? Who will undermine you?

Is it simply easier to procrastinate, rather than risking the hostility of colleagues? Some people will respect your efforts to stop procrastinating. How can you recruit their support and make sure you can access it to keep you going? Those who write for a living can point to antidotes to guilt, fear and anxiety. They know what to do to keep writing. However, it is only by using such strategies that we can find ease, enjoyment and creativity in writing.

You have to find your own antidotes and persevere when even those fail you: You need perseverance, courage, bloody-mindedness, a capacity for hard work, endurance. Weldon, quoted in Roberts et al. It is gendered, raced, classed and, therefore, potentially discriminatory in many ways. The community of academic writers is diverse, though the community of editors and reviewers may be less so. Some will see these issues as irrelevant to the development of the writing self; others will see the writing self as positioned by the organization of other writers and the position of publishing in their disciplines.

For them, the whole enterprise may seem so fixed as to give the illusion of transparency, particularly to those who are already publishing in journals. Where does the new writer fit into all this? Do you really need to let yourself be pinned down? There are ways of finding room for yourself in academic journals. For example, an interesting strategy is noted by Blaxter et al. You might also use different names, as some academics do, for different kinds of writing.

However you choose to deal with the selectivity that operates in journals across the fields, it might help to think of yourself as a writer and to think through what that might mean in terms of your sense of yourself: The sheer numbers of us trying to get published means that there is, in fact, literal competition to get into journals.

But this need not be your motivation to write. Some people are simply not motivated by competition; they find it demotivating. If you expected collegiality in higher education, you may be disappointed. But there is no need to endure competition until you retire. It might help, if you are just starting to write, to have someone who can help you make writing decisions, help you with writing dilemmas or who will simply listen. You may be able to work and write with, and learn from, more experienced colleagues.

You may be able to step outside your territory or tribe. There may be issues of voice, ownership, career implications, politics and time that you should discuss at the earliest opportunity. However, there may also be disadvantages for new writers, and over the longer term this should not be your sole strategy: Anonymous reviewer This reviewer is right: This is evidenced in evaluations, focus groups, questionnaires and informal discussions where academic writers cited lack of time as the barrier they had not been able to overcome.

This suggests that even if you succeed in motivating yourself and are ready to write, you still have this problem to solve: Is your use of time not driven by your motivation? Do you not allocate your time to tasks that you decide to perform, knowing how much is needed for each task? But I am an inadequate reviewer; I cannot remember or reproduce my attitudes when I first started to write as an academic. I need the ca. The suspicion is a lot , but it was a long time ago.

The first sub-heading is the one that summarizes many of the doubts in the minds of prospective readers 2: Yes, they do. Most academic writers could improve, as could some English cricketers.

Some authors are so bad that it would be a mercy if they were permanently discouraged from soiling the page, but so speaks an editor and reviewer who has already dealt with too many weak manuscripts this year. Many academic authors write badly and, rather than learn from experience, lean on editors and reviewers throughout their careers, expecting the latter to rewrite and correct their efforts.

I think 'yes' and 'no' answer these two questions. I passed my last secondary school English exam when I was sixteen and published my first research paper when I was twenty-eight. I had to learn how to write a scientific research paper. I used all the tools that I had available, such as reading the literature thus developing a feel for style and structure , practising, and having my thesis supervisor read everything I wrote.

Murray includes a list of strategies or habits of productive academic authors in psychology, 2 two of which touched nerves with me. Unfortunately, a regular writing spot isn't always quiet, and quiet conditions can occur when you're somewhere else. I made detailed notes for this part of the review in a quiet carriage on the I have made trains a regular place to write, but this express is very different from my commuter train in the Netherlands.

Rather than doing the same writing in the same place s , expand this habit so that you are comfortable writing in the same sorts of places. It also seems reasonable to 'Collaborate with … trusted friends. Work only with those colleagues who do what is expected of them, and actively discard those who ignore your e-mails, don't comment on your draft manuscript, fail to meet deadlines, and generally shed their responsibilities in your direction.

The non-producer is a Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus.What can research tell us about academic writing? In fact, in some disciplines, the question of what does and does not constitute research is a recurring subject of debate, and not just in the academics-versuspractitioners direction. This is not to say that we should all ask editors how we should write our papers, but should be sounding them out at the earliest stage to see if they are interested at all in what we are writing.

Analysing an abstract: Your password has been changed. It involves looking for a way to join a conversation that has been going on, in the literature, for some time. More importantly, once you have defined more specifically the range of types of paper, you will probably find that you are already generating ideas for how you will shape your paper.

ALFREDO from Sterling Heights
I do enjoy studying docunments not. Browse my other articles. I have only one hobby: microscopy.
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