Category / writing

Academic publishing and numbers

Yesterday our team published new paper on academic writing, this time the focus was on the various indices in the field.  Academics from three different departments in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences collaborated on the paper ‘Publishing, identifiers & metrics: Playing the numbers game‘ [1].  The three BU scholars, Dr Shovita Dhakal Adhikari, in the Social Sciences and Social Work Department, Dr. Pramod Regmi in the Department of Nursing Sciences, and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the Department of Midwifery and Health Sciences co-authored the paper with former BU staff Dr. Nirmal Aryal, now researcher at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Alexander van Teijlingen, PhD student at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow), and Dr. Sarita Panday, Lecturer in Public Health in the University of Essex.

This a the latest paper in a long line of publications on aspects of academic writing and publishing [2-16].

References:

  1. van Teijlingen, E.R., Dhakal Adhikari, S., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, A., Aryal, N., Panday, S. (2021). Publishing, identifiers & metrics: Playing the numbers game. Health Prospect20(1). https://doi.org/10.3126/hprospect.v20i1.37391
  2. Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen E., Hundley, V., Simkhada, BD. (2013) Writing an Abstract for a Scientific Conference, Kathmandu Univ Med J 11(3): 262-65. http://www.kumj.com.np/issue/43/262-265.pdf
  3. van Teijlingen, E, Hundley, V. (2002) Getting your paper to the right journal: a case study of an academic paper, J Advanced Nurs 37(6): 506-11.
  4. Pitchforth, E, Porter M, Teijlingen van E, Keenan Forrest, K. (2005) Writing up & presenting qualitative research in family planning & reproductive health care, Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 31(2): 132-135.
  5. van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada, PP, Rizyal A (2012) Submitting a paper to an academic peer-reviewed journal, where to start? (Guest Editorial) Health Renaissance 10(1): 1-4.
  6. van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada. PP, Simkhada, B, Ireland J. (2012) The long & winding road to publication, Nepal Epidemiol 2(4): 213-215 http://nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/7093/6388
  7. Hundley, V, van Teijlingen, E, SimkhadP (2013) Academic authorship: who, why and in what order? Health Renaissance 11(2):98-101 www.healthrenaissance.org.np/uploads/Download/vol-11-2/Page_99_101_Editorial.pdf
  8. Simkhada P, van Teijlingen E, Hundley V. (2013) Writing an academic paper for publication, Health Renaissance 11(1):1-5. www.healthrenaissance.org.np/uploads/Pp_1_5_Guest_Editorial.pdf
  9. van Teijlingen, E., Ireland, J., Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., Sathian, B. (2014) Finding the right title for your article: Advice for academic authors, Nepal Epidemiol 4(1): 344-347.
  10. van Teijlingen E., Hundley, V., Bick, D. (2014) Who should be an author on your academic paper? Midwifery 30: 385-386.
  11. Hall, J., Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) The journal editor: friend or foe? Women & Birth 28(2): e26-e29.
  12. Sathian, B., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Roy, B, Banerjee, I. (2016) Grant writing for innovative medical research: Time to rethink. Med Sci 4(3):332-33.
  13. Adhikari, S. D., van Teijlingen, E. R., Regmi, P. R., Mahato, P., Simkhada, B., & Simkhada, P. P. (2020). The Presentation of Academic Self in The Digital Age: The Role of Electronic Databases. International J Soc Sci Management7(1), 38-41. https://doi.org/10.3126/ijssm.v7i1.27405
  14. Pradhan, AK, van Teijlingen, ER. (2017) Predatory publishing: a great concern for authors, Med Sci 5(4): 43.
  15. van Teijlingen, E (2004), Why I can’t get any academic writing done, Medical Sociol News 30(3): 62-63. britsoc.co.uk/media/26334/MSN_Nov_2004.pd
  16. Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Hundley, V. with Shreesh, K. Writing and Publishing Academic Work, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books

Reflections on examining a PhD by Publications or hybrid PhD

Writing for publication in peer-reviewed journals is increasingly recognised as important for postgraduate students’ career development.   To encourage PhD students to write and submit during their thesis research, more and more UK universities has formally started to accept PhD theses by publication, or a hybrid model of both academic papers and purposely written chapters in a PhD thesis.  For example, both the University of Bath and Bournemouth University offer a hybrid thesis [1-2], whilst Bournemouth University offers separately the opportunity to submit a PhD by Publication.   The paper included in such theses can be: (1) published; (2) accepted/published online first; (3) submitted; or (4) in final draft form for submission.  Published papers, due to the nature of journal word limits are usually much shorter and less detailed than traditional PhD chapter.  The specifically written chapters, of the Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations chapter, and occasionally a Methods chapter will provide the reader (read ‘the examiner’) with further insights into the background of the research and offer details the student had to omit from published papers due to word limit restrictions.  Students may also opt to offer a short explanatory text before or after individual paper.  The overall Discussion chapter should aim to fully contextualise and integrate all papers into the thesis.

It is easy to see that these new format theses may require some adjustment from UK academics examining them.  Below I have listed some of the key issue a PhD examiner may want to consider in a PhD by Publication, such as the notion of integration and repetition, how the critique published papers, especially in quality peer-reviewed journals, and the nature and content of purposely written chapters.

Integration/duplication

Individual papers are free-standing, i.e. they must give enough information about the research question and methods to make sense to the reader.  This means that four papers from the same study in a thesis may appear as both disjointed and repetitive at the same time.  Moreover, details on background and methods are often minimal in papers presenting results.  This offers the examiner an opportunity to ask questions such as:

  • How do the included papers relate to each other in terms of subject matter or theoretical underpinning?
  • Do the included papers together result in a cohesive narrative?

It is worth looking at difference between the included papers.  One of my former students included two qualitative papers, both originating from the same dataset (i.e. the same interviewees) but each paper presented the data analysed in a different way.  The reviewers of the second paper had suggested a different approach to the analysis and the candidate had decided that it was worth the considerable amount of extra work.  This was obviously a topic for debate in the viva.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

It can be daunting for a less experienced examiner to critique an included paper that has been peer-reviewed and published in a prestigious journal in one’s discipline.  Perhaps a starting point could be to ask the candidate what the peer reviewers said when the manuscript was first submitted.  Did you receive and conflicting comments from reviewers or the editor?  The examiner may want to ask for further details of published paper, e.g.  “I know you probably had word-length issues for paper X, but why didn’t you expand on the detailed analysis in the Discussion chapter you included in the thesis?”  Interestingly, the University of Bath states that “Examiners are entitled to specify corrections to any part of the thesis… including parts submitted for publication, or already published” [1].  The latter does not mean changing the published paper, but perhaps adding a comment or explanation to the Discussion chapter or to the text introducing that particular paper.

In many discipline academic papers as co-authored, hence you would expect co-authored papers in a PhD by Publication.  This offers to examiner the opportunity to ask about the candidate’s unique contribution to that paper.  Occasionally, one of the included papers may not list the candidate as first author.  If this is the case in one of the four or five included papers this is not problem per se, but worth asking the same question to the candidate: “What is your unique contribution to the paper?”

Another potential issue to look out for in a PhD by Publication is so-called salami-slicing [3], especially if the candidate has published several small parts of the thesis study in different small papers where a single paper would have been more appropriate.

Written chapters

The examiner may want to start by focusing on the candidate’s Introduction, Discussion, or Conclusion chapters.  Or the overall Methods chapter if there is one.  Typically, a PhD by Publication has an Introduction, four or more papers, an overarching Discussion perhaps a short Conclusion.  What is often missing is a Methodology and Methods chapter.  Since individual papers have only basic methods section of a few hundred words, there is little detail in each paper, let alone nuance in the methods. Often methodological issues and reflections are missed, as are more subtle aspects of research ethics.  These are key topics to raise in the viva.

 

Professor Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH (Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health)

 

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank my colleague Dr. Ann Luce, Associate Professor in Journalism and Communication at Bournemouth University for her encouraging me to write this blog post.

 

References:

  1. University of Bath: https://www.bath.ac.uk/publications/guidelines-for-research-examiners/attachments/Guidelines_for_Examiners_of_Doctoral_Degrees_Nov19.pdf
  2. Bournemouth University (2021-22) 8A Code of Practice for Research Degrees (Policy, Procedure and Guidelines). https://intranetsp.bournemouth.ac.uk/pandptest/8a-code-of-practice-for-research-degrees.pdf
  3. Tolsgaard, M.G., Ellaway, R., Woods, N. et al. Salami-slicing and plagiarism: How should we respond?. Adv in Health Sci Educ 24, 3–14 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10459-019-09876-7

Midwifery paper co-produced with BU students

Congratulations to Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (FHSS) staff and students on their latest publication in the international journal Midwifery (published by Elsevier).   FHSS Professors Carol Clark and Vanora Hundley, undergraduate student researcher Guste Kalanaviciute and CMMPH PhD student Vanessa Bartholomew and Professor Helen Cheyne from the University of Stirling recently had the following paper accepted: ‘Exploring pain characteristics in nulliparous women; a precursor to developing support for women in the latent phase of labour’ [1].

 

Reference:

Clark C, Kalanaviciute G, Bartholomew V, Cheyne H, Hundley VA (2021) Exploring pain characteristics in nulliparous women; a precursor to developing support for women in the latent phase of labour. Midwifery (in press) 

Writing references: The hidden work of academics

Halfway through October I have written several academic references for three people already.  This is one of the more hidden aspects of an academic job.  Writing a good reference is often time consuming for good reasons, including: the reference needs to be tailor-made for the specific job and the candidate; you may not have seen the candidate for several years and finding relevant details, such as ‘when did the candidate work for your organisation?’ takes time;  and last but not least, the employer asking for a reference has its own system.  The latter is a more recent addition to the burden of writing a reference.  Gone are the days of writing a structured letter about the candidate, a letter which you could tweak for different jobs the candidate applied for.  Most employers have their own reference system which may make the job easier them but creates far more work for the writer of the reference.

To illustrate each these points with an example.  One reference I write on an online form automatically assumed I was writing as the most recent employer, the electronic form ‘forced’ me to write as if I was the most recent employer and then explain in the text box for another question that I had worked with the candidate some years ago.  Another request was for a reference for a former colleague whom I had worked with 15 years ago in Aberdeen.  She was returning to a research post and had looking after children and working in clinical practice in the intermediate period.  Lastly, a former BU M.Sc. student  is applying to several universities for a Ph.D. place and each university offered a different thesis topic and required me to complete its own online form, and, of course, each form is slightly different!

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

A small or a large national survey?

Congratulations to Dr. Pramod Regmi and Dr. Nirmal Aryal on the acceptance of their paper ‘Risk of kidney health among returnee Nepali migrant workers: A survey of nephrologists’ [1].  This paper has been accepted by the Asian Journal of Medical Sciences, after having been rejected previous by another scientific journal . The reason for rejection was the small sample size of 38 nephrologists (=medical specialists in kidney disease).  We think one of the reasons for acceptance of this research by the Asian Journal of Medical Sciences is the high proportion (74.5%) of all Nepal’s nephrologists who participated in this national study.  Although the absolute number of participants is low there are only 51 kidney experts in the whole country and three-quarters took part in this study!

Dr. Nirmal Aryal was until recently based in the Department of Midwifery and Health Sciences and he will be starting later this month as a Research Associate at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust.  Dr. Pramod Regmi is Senior Lecturer in International Health in the Department of Nursing Sciences.  This paper was also co-authored with a nephrologist Dr. Arun Sedhai based in Chitwan (Nepal) and a public health expert based at the UN organisation, International Organization for Migration (IOM).

This paper which will be Open Access and hence freely available for any reader across the globe adds to the growing research evidence published by Bournemouth University’s researchers on migration and health, especially of migrants from Nepal [2-21].

 

 

Well done!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

References:

  1. Aryal, N., Sedhain, A., Regmi, P.R., KC, R.K., van Teijlingen, E. (2021) ‘Risk of kidney health among returnee Nepali migrant workers: A survey of nephrologists’, Asian Journal of Medical Sciences (accepted).
  2. Simkhada, B., Vahdaninia, M., van Teijlingen, E., Blunt, H. (2021) Cultural issues on accessing mental health services in Nepali and Iranian migrants communities in the UK, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (accepted).  https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12913
  3. Adhikary, P., Aryal, N., Dhungana, R.R., KC, R.K., Regmi, P.R., Wickramage, K.P., Duigan, P., Inkochasan, M., Sharma, G.N., Devkota, B., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P. (2020) Accessing health services in India: experiences of seasonal migrants returning to Nepal. BMC Health Services Research 20, 992. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05846-7
  4. IOM [International Organization for Migration]. (2019) Health vulnerabilities of cross-border migrants from Nepal. Kathmandu: International Organization for Migration.
  5. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Trenoweth, S., Adhikary, P., Simkhada, P. (2020) The Impact of Spousal Migration on the Mental Health of Nepali Women: A Cross-Sectional Study, International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health 17(4), 1292; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph1704129
  6. Regmi, P., Aryal, N., van Teijlingen, E., Adhikary, P. (2020) Nepali migrant workers and the need for pre-departure training on mental health: a qualitative study, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health 22, 973–981.
  7. Adhikary, P. van Teijlingen, E. (2020) Support networks in the Middle East & Malaysia: A qualitative study of Nepali returnee migrants’ experiences, International Journal of Occupational Safety & Health (IJOSH), 9(2): 31-35.
  8. Simkhada, B., Sah, R.K., Mercel-Sanca, A., van Teijlingen, E., Bhurtyal, Y.M., Regmi, P. (2020) Health and Wellbeing of the Nepali population in the UK: Perceptions and experiences of health and social care utilisation, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health (accepted).
  9. Regmi, P., van Teijlingen, E., Mahato, P., Aryal, N., Jadhav, N., Simkhada, P., Syed Zahiruddin, Q., Gaidhane, A., (2019) The health of Nepali migrants in India: A qualitative study of lifestyles and risks, Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health 16(19), 3655; doi:10.3390/ijerph16193655.
  10. Dhungana, R.R., Aryal, N, Adhikary, P., KC, R., Regmi, P.R., Devkota, B., Sharma, G.N., Wickramage, K., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P. (2019) Psychological morbidity in Nepali cross-border migrants in India: A community-based cross-sectional, BMC Public Health 19:1534 https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-7881-z
  11. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Mahato, P. (2019) Adolescents left behind by migrant workers: a call for community-based mental health interventions in Nepal. WHO South East Asia Journal of Public Health 8(1): 38-41.
  12. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., Faller, E.M,, van Teijlingen, E., Khoon, C.C., Pereira, A., Simkhada, P. (2019) ‘Sudden cardiac death and kidney health related problems among Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia’ Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 9(3): 755-758. https://www.nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/25805
  13. Adhikary P, van Teijlingen E., Keen S. (2019) Workplace accidents among Nepali male workers in the Middle East and Malaysia: A qualitative study, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health 21(5): 1115–1122. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10903-018-0801-y
  14. Simkhada, P.P., van Teijlingen, E.R., Gurung, M., Wasti, S. (2018) A survey of health problems of Nepalese female migrants workers in the Middle-East & Malaysia, BMC International Health & Human Rights 18(4): 1-7. http://rdcu.be/E3Ro
  15. Adhikary P, Sheppard, Z., Keen S., van Teijlingen E. (2018) Health and well-being of Nepalese migrant workers abroad, International Journal of Migration, Health & Social Care 14(1): 96-105. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-12-2015-0052
  16. Adhikary, P, Sheppard, Z., Keen, S., van Teijlingen, E. (2017) Risky work: accidents among Nepalese migrant workers in Malaysia, Qatar & Saudi Arabia, Health Prospect 16(2): 3-10.
  17. Simkhada, P.P., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Aryal, N. (2017) Identifying the gaps in Nepalese migrant workers’ health and well-being: A review of the literature, Journal of Travel Medicine 24 (4): 1-9.
  18. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E.Simkhada, P., Adhikary, P., Bhatta, Y.K.D., Mann, S. (2016) Injury and Mortality in Young Nepalese Migrant Workers: A Call for Public Health Action. Asian-Pacific Journal of Public Health 28(8): 703-705.
  19. Sapkota, T., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2014) Nepalese health workers’ migration to United Kingdom: A qualitative study. Health Science Journal 8(1):57-74.
  20. Adhikary P, Keen S and van Teijlingen E (2011). Health Issues among Nepalese migrant workers in the Middle East. Health Science Journal.5 (3):169-i75 DOI: 2-s2.0-79960420128.
  21. Adhikary, P., Simkhada, P.P., van Teijlingen E., Raja, AE. (2008) Health & Lifestyle of Nepalese Migrants in the UK, BMC International Health & Human Rights 8(6). Web address: www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/8/6

Risk of kidney problems in migrant workers

Congratulations to Dr. Pramod Regmi, Lecturer in International Health & Global Engagement Lead, Department of Nursing Sciences, and Dr. Nirmal Aryal, formerly of the Centre of Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH), whose editorial “Kidney health risk of migrant workers: An issue we can no longer overlook” has been published today in Health Prospect [1].  Further co-authors (Arun Sedhain, Radheshyam Krishna KC, Erwin Martinez Faller, Aney Rijal, and Edwin van Teijlingen) work in India, Nepal, the Philippines and at BU.  The study was funded by GCRF.

This editorial highlights that low-skilled migrant workers in the countries of the Gulf and Malaysia are at a disproportionately higher risk of kidney health problems. The working conditions are often Dirty, Dangerous and Difficult (referred at as the 3Ds) include physically demanding work, exposure to a hot environment, dehydration, chemical exposures, excessive use of pain killers, and lifestyle factors (such as restricted water intake and a high intake of alcohol/sugary drinks) which may precipitate them to acute kidney injuries and subsequent chronic kidney disease.  

References

  1. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., Sedhain, A., KC, R.K., Martinez Faller, E., Rijal, A., van Teijlingen, E., (2021) Kidney health risk of migrant workers: An issue we can no longer overlook. Health Prospect 21(1): 15-17.

BU conference presentation on migration and COVID-19 in Nepal

Yesterday Dr. Pramod Regmi, Dr. Shovita Dhakal Adhikari, Dr. Nirmal Aryal and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, all based in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, presented at the tenth Annual Kathmandu Conference on Nepal & the Himalaya.  Their paper ‘Moral panic and othering practices during Nepal’s COVID-19 Pandemic (A study with returnee migrants and Muslims in Nepal)’ was co-authored by Dr. Sharada Prasad Wasti from the University of Huddersfield and Shreeman Sharma (Department of  Conflict, Peace & Development
Studies, Tribhuvan University, Nepal).  The presentation was partly based on research funded by the British Academy.

 

Pilot studies paper reaches 90,000 reads

Today ResearchGate informed Prof. Vanora Hundley and I that our paper in the Nursing Standard of 2002 had reached 90,000 reads.  This short methods paper called ‘The Importance of Pilot Studies’ [1] was one of our earlier attempts, nearly two decades ago, to publish more of our work in practitioners journals.  This approach has been highly successful in terms of reaching a wider audience.  We have written longer, more sophisticated research methods papers on pilot studies over the years, including in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, Social Research Update, and the SAGE encyclopedia on research methods [2-6], but none of these has been read or cited as often as our short paper in the Nursing Standard. 

The term ‘pilot studies’ refers to mini versions of a full-scale study (also called ‘feasibility’ studies), as well as the specific pre-testing of a particular research instrument such as a questionnaire or interview schedule. Pilot studies are a crucial element of good study design. Conducting a pilot study does not guarantee success in the main study, but it does increase the likelihood of success. Pilot studies fulfill a range of important functions and can provide valuable insights for other researchers. There is a need for more discussion among researchers of both the process and outcomes of pilot studies.

 

References:

  1. van Teijlingen E, Hundley, V. (2002) ‘The importance of pilot studies’ Nursing Standard 16(40): 33-36. Web: nursing-standard.co.uk/archives/vol16-40/pdfs/vol16w40p3336.pdf
  2. van Teijlingen E, Rennie, AM., Hundley, V, Graham, W. (2001) The importance of conducting & reporting pilot studies: example of Scottish Births Survey, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 34: 289-95.
  3. van Teijlingen E, Hundley, V. (2001) The importance of pilot studies, Social Research Update Issue 35, (Editor N. Gilbert), Guildford: University of Surrey. Web:  http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/sru/SRU35.html
  4. Hundley, V., van Teijlingen E. (2002) The role of pilot studies in midwifery research RCM Midwives Journal 5(11): 372-74
  5. van Teijlingen E, Hundley, V. (2005) Pilot studies in family planning & reproductive health care, Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care 31(3): 219-21.
  6. van Teijlingen E, Hundley, V. (2003) Pilot study, In: Encyclopaedia of Social Science Research Methods, Vol. 2, Lewis-Beck, M., Bryman, A. & Liao, T. (eds.), Oregon, Sage: 823-24.

New FHSS nutrition publication

Congratulations to Faculty of Health & Social Sciences’ PhD student Karim Khaled and supervisors Prof. Vanora Hundley and Dr. Fotini Tsofliou on the acceptance of your manuscript ‘Perceived Stress was associated with Poorer Diet Quality among Women of Reproductive Age in the UK’.  This paper will appear in the international journal Nutrients.
All three are associated with our research unit CMMPH (Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health). This paper is supported by BU’s Open Access Fund will be freely available online soon.

Well done!

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH