Tagged / writing

Would you attend a workshop on Writing and Presenting for Non-academic Audiences?

Calling BU’s Early Career Researchers and Post Doc Research Assistants!

RKEO are gauging interest for a proposed externally-facilitated workshop. Please let us know if you would attend a workshop that will:

  • Consider the various audiences for your research
  • How best to write to engage them
  • Increase your the impact for your research outside the academic environment.

Please let us know by Friday, 11th May, via this email. If we have positive replies, we would look to run this one-day event in mid to late June (TBC).

 

 

 

 

Writing Academy Lunchbyte – Structuring your paper: looking at grammar, vocabulary and style

writing academy

Join us in this Writing Academy Lunchbyte session and have a better awareness of structuring your writing in terms of grammar,  vocabulary and style from Paul Barnes, who is the Lecturer in English For Academic Purposes.

Date : 5 October 2016 (Wednesday)

Time : 12.00 – 13.00 (presentation); 13:00 – 13:30 (lunch)

Venue : Talbot Campus

The following language aspects will be covered –

1. Grammar

  • Tense usage
  • Articles
  • Passive voice
  • Punctuation

2. Vocabulary

  • Signposting language
  • Linking words
  • Reporting verbs
  • Collocation

3. Style

  • Levels of formality
  • Objectivity
  • Language to avoid

Come and join us in this session and afterwards, there will be opportunities to have informal discussions with the presenter while having a bite to eat.

To ensure that we place the right catering order, please get in touch with Staff Development to book your place.

Research Publication Clinic – Face your fear!

write

Does the thought of writing a research publication make you feel queasy?

Do publication targets bring you out in a cold sweat?

Are you sick of journal editors and referees?

Maybe our publication clinic can help! This event, facilitated by Professor Adrian Newton, is provided for anyone who has experienced difficulty in producing research publications or getting their manuscripts published. The idea is to provide a forum for discussing such challenges, in an informal and supportive environment. Please bring along your symptoms for diagnosis, or relevant case histories, so that we can explore potential remedies!

Title Date Time Location
Research Publication Clinic Wednesday 17 Feb 2016 12:00-13:30 Lansdowne Campus

To secure a place at this publication clinic, please email OD@bournemouth.ac.uk.

For more info, please refer to – Research Publication Clinic

Writing Space – Talbot and Lansdowne

Writing-Group

Image from www.blog.taaonline.net

Writing can be difficult and lonely at times. Getting out and away from your usual distractions can help boost your productivity. Sometimes, it’s nice to write amongst a group of other like-minded colleagues, working quietly together and gently encouraging each other to soldier on.

The following quiet writing spaces have specifically been arranged for this purpose, in both the Talbot and Lansdowne campuses on Wednesday afternoons, 1pm to 5pm. Please see below for details:

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 22.43.59Please click on this link to download the schedule in a printable .pdf file.

Talbot and Lansdowne – Writing Space

The idea is to work quietly on research/ professional practice related activities. Distractions must be kept to a minimum, so turn off your email system; no mobile phones or talking. If you really have to talk then be considerate for others and do it away from the group.

There is no need to book so whenever you feel like writing, just turn up!

On Academic Writing

Writing is not easy, yet academics must write.  Communicating your research and ideas to your peers through writing is an essential part of an academic career, you may be doing brilliant research, you may be a fantastic speaker or teacher, but if you can’t express your ideas through the written word your career may flounder.  Writing lies at the heart of research.  There are no quick solutions, fixes or dodges and I don’t profess to have any, but I am interested in the process of writing and seek your help in exploring this.

The importance of writing is no great news and if you are, like me, dyslexic and find the challenge of writing exactly that, a challenge, then what can you do?  We all have different approaches to writing – our own coping strategies if you like – that allow us to get the words on the page, the thoughts and ideas clarified and expressed.  It is an intensely personal process and what works for me is unlikely to work for you.

So what does works for you?  How do you go about writing that difficult piece of prose?

Have a think while I share what works for me.

 

How I write

Ideas often flow better for me from conversation, but as an introvert I don’t have much time for conversation!  So I talk to myself, mentally rehearsing what needs to be said, framing initial ideas and nebulous arguments.  I can be seen on the walk to work deep in thought, in fact deep in silent conversation, and not always silent to the amusement of those that walk their dogs in the park I cross each day!

These silent conversations shape my initial draft, since when I sit down to write I am simply noting down the conversation.  I then refine this early draft picking out and questioning the logic, developing the argument as I craft iteratively the text before me.  For me writing is therefore a process of constant refinement, iteration and clarification as my ideas and argument take shape in the words that I write.

 

It’s different for everyone

Others work differently I know, my mother for example who is a retired academic talked to me recently of how she used to coin a statement, or phrase, something elegant and clever that she then picked at to see if it was true, forming her argument in light of it.  For others it is all about the research question that is being posed and I know that some of my colleagues believe that all your ideas should be formed and in sharp focus before you start to write.  It is a bit like having a beautiful artefact that they can see in their mind’s eye, which simply needs to be described.  I cannot write like this and my approach is more akin to that of Stephen King who, in his wonderful book On Writing, describes the process of writing as the excavation of a fossil with the story slowly emerging from the ground with work and care.  No one way of writing is any better than any other and each may have their own particular style that may also vary across discipline boundaries which leads to my basic question how do you approach the process of writing?

It is this question that intrigues me, a question that I would like to explore for its own sake but also perhaps because it might amuse me in time to write about it in a book or paper.

So what do I need, to help me explore this idea?

 

Getting involved

Well I need the help from my fellow academics, not just geoscientists like myself but social scientists, chemists, historians and engineers.  I am interested to know what helps you to write – a short email with ‘a brain dump’, a couple of paragraphs or a list of bullet points is all I need with your own reflections on how you approach the task of writing.  If you are not an academic but write a lot as part of your profession then drop me a line as well.  In return I will reflect on how I can best summarise, or collate your collective ideas, to play them back to the academic community in ways that would be useful for them.

So going back to the questions posed earlier – how do you write?  In framing your response it might help to reflect on the following questions, whilst also adding anything else that you feel it would be relevant for me to know.

How do you approach your academic writing?  Describe for me the process by which you shape your ideas and craft your prose from conception to completion of a piece, whether it is a journal article, a book or a chapter.

What is the most challenging part for you?  And how do you overcome this?

Where do you like to write?  Can you write anywhere – on the plane, train or in a stolen five minutes, or do you need a block of time and a quiet place, or a noisy coffee shop?

Do you write for a specific audience and journal or in a more generic form formatting once written for a particular journal?  Does this vary depending on the piece?  Do you always know where something is to be submitted before you start?  What in truth guides your choice – clinical analysis, convenience or simply the tradition in your discipline?

How do you write collaboratively?  Do you take the lead, or do you write truly by committee?

How much are you influenced by the norms of your discipline – and what is your discipline?

These are the types of thing I am interested in, I am trying not to be prescriptive and all I ask is that after some reflection you open up an email, insert my address – mbennett@bmth.ac.uk – and write to me something about how you write!  I will respond asking you to sign a consent form and with further details of the study and I promise to preserve your anonymity at all times, unless you specifically state that you are happy to be acknowledged.  Thank you.

Comment on BU Blog leads to academic publication

Authorship differs between disciplines

Paper by Hundley et al. published 2013

Last year Prof. Matthew Bennett1 raised some interesting issues about academic authorship on this award-winning BU Blog.  Authorship is an issue that many academic colleague see as challenging.   On September 27th, 2012 two of us replied to this blog by adding some of our own observations on the web. Having penned our online comments we discussed the issue with BU Visiting Faculty Dr. Padam Simkhada Senior Lecturer in International Health at ScHARR, University of Sheffield (www.shef.ac.uk/scharr/sections/ph/staff/profiles/padamsimkhada).  Between the three of us we came to the conclusion that the issue of academic authorship can be very confusing as well as tricky.

 

We discussed a wide-range of issues around academic authorship, including who should be an author and who should not be so, the order of authors, and that there are different conventions between different academic disciplines.  Being academic we rapidly came to the conclusion that there was a paper in this.  We drafted our ideas, searched the literature for other discussions on authorship, general guidelines on authorship, etc.   We wrote the paper and submitted it to the academic journal Health Renaissance; an Open-Access journal, which is freely available world-wide.  The editor liked it and published our paper ‘Academic authorship: who, why and in what order?’ this month as a guest editorial. 3

 

 

We would like to highlight that there are two separate messages in the publication of this paper.  The first message is about academic scholarship; some of our colleagues may find the content of this paper is a useful guide in deciding authorship order, or at least in helping to open the debate about who should be included as co-author and who is not eligible.  The second message is more about academic citizenship, namely that messages on the BU Blog and even comments in reply to other people’s messages may contain useful information to the wider academic community and should be taken further.  Our message here is don’t see the BU Blog as an end point, see it as a stepping stone to the wider academic world!

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen*, Prof. Vanora Hundley* & Dr. Padam Simkhada**

* Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health, HSC, Bournemouth University

** ScHARR, The University of Sheffield

 

References:

1.      Bennett, M. (2012) What’s in a list?, BU Research Blog, http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2012/09/27/whats-in-a-list/?utm_source=digest&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily

 

2.      Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2012) Response to What’s in a list?, http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2012/09/27/whats-in-a-list/#comment-17234

 

3.      Hundley, V., van Teijlingen,      E., Simkhada, P. (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

Publish empirical or experimental data early whilst letting theory mature?

My colleagues and I have written several papers to help budding researchers about the process of writing and publishing academic papers (Hundley, & van Teijlingen 2002; van Teijlingen 2004; Pitchforth et al. 2005; van Teijlingen et al. 2012; Simkhada et al. 2013). For all researchers – students and staff alike publishing research findings is important as new insights will add to the existing knowledge base, advance the academic discipline and, in the case of applied research, perhaps improve something in the lives of others such as, well-being, the economy or the environment. Apart from this general/altruistic drive to add to knowledge, the advice academics give our postgraduate students is: to get your study published as soon as possible. The two main reasons for publishing early are: (a) getting into print to potentially help your careers; and (b) staking once claim as an authority in the field and/or publishing your findings before someone else does.
As always there are exceptions to the rule. As academics we agree that trying to get into print early is a good personal strategy for an early researcher or a postgraduate student especially for those working with empirical or experimental data. However, occasionally it is better to wait and give the underlying idea in the paper time to develop and mature. The kind of paper that often improves with time is one based on theory. Let me share a personal example: a theoretical paper from my PhD (awarded by the University of Aberdeen in 1994). This paper started life as a theory chapter in my PhD thesis (van Teijlingen 1994). This chapter on models of maternity care was not the strongest part of my thesis and it took me another decade of fine-tuning to get it into a state worth publishing. The paper ‘A Critical Analysis of the Medical Model as used in the Study of Pregnancy and Childbirth’ was finally published in Sociological Research Online, the original online-only Sociology journal in the world (van Teijlingen 2005). The wait was worthwhile as the paper is today (May 2013), eight year after publication, the seventh ‘most viewed articles during the past eight weeks’ in the journal (see: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/stats/top20.html).
In conclusion, it is generally sound advice to new researchers and postgraduate students to publish early. Occasionally though, waiting and giving your paper time to improve through discussion with colleagues, presenting the ideas at conferences and on blogs may lead to a better final product.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health
School of Health & Social Care

References
Hundley, V., van Teijlingen E. (2002) How to decide where to send an article for publication? Nursing Standard 16(36): 21.
van Teijlingen (1994) A social or medical comparison of childbirth? : comparing the arguments in Grampian (Scotland) and the Netherlands (PhD thesis), Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen. Available online in the British Library (search for: uk.bl.ethos.387237 ).
Teijlingen van, E. (2004) Why I can’t get any academic writing done, Medical Sociology News 30 (3): 62-6.
van Teijlingen, E. (2005) A Critical Analysis of the Medical Model as used in the Study of Pregnancy and Childbirth, Sociological Research Online 10(2) Freely available online at: www.socresonline.org.uk/10/2/teijlingen.html.
Pitchforth, E., Porter, M., Teijlingen van, E.R., Forrest Keenan, K. (2005) Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care, Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care 31 (2): 132-135.
Teijlingen van, E., Simkhada. P.P., Simkhada, B., Ireland, J. (2012) The long and winding road to publication, Nepal Journal Epidemiology 2(4): 213-215. http://nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/7093
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

Book writing: essential information for researchers

Coming soon is essential training on book writing. A must for researchers, especially those looking to write their first book.

Facilitated by Professor Stuart Allen, this session will provide advice on the following topics:

  • writing for book publications
  • submitting chapters
  • Intellectual property rights
  • copyright
  • attribution
  • co-authorship

Facilitated by: Professor Stuart Allan, The Media School

Aimed at: Academic Staff

Date: Wednesday 22nd January 2014

Time: 14.00-16.00

Location: PG22, Ground Floor, Poole House, Talbot Campus

To book your place on this workshop, please email staffdevelopment@bournemouth.ac.uk

Academic Writing Workshop 13th December

Have you a paper to write?  Do you want to write it well?  Do you need space to focus on developing academic writing skills?  This full-day course is designed for staff at an early stage of their academic careers who write papers or reports as part of their research work. The course consists of intensive tuition and gives participants immediate, useable methods of improving style, developing arguments, strengthening organisation and avoiding common errors, all with the aim of producing succinct and informative prose in a well-organised academic framework. 

The day itself involves instruction, group exercises and discussion, all designed to enable participants to increase the quality of their writing and to develop their confidence and critical thinking.  In addition, there is advice on how to successfully communicate the subject matter.  You can view an outline of the day.

This will be a full day workshop taking place on Tuesday 13th December.  If you would like to attend please email Susan Dowdle asap as there are only a few places remaining.

Life as an AHRC Panel Reviewer

AHRC

At the moment the Arts and Humanities Research Council are recruiting new members for their review panels. I have been member of the review college (as it’s grandly called) for just over two years have reviewed many bids in that time. Like Dr. Richard Shipway of the School of Tourism – who has recently posted about his experiences reviewing for the ESRC – I’ve found it to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

I get around 4-5 bids to review a year. It is all done online – although you can save and print all of the documents as PDFs if you want. I’ve looked at all sorts of bids, submitted by all sorts of academics, at varying stages of their career. Sometimes I have heard of the researcher, sometimes not. Sometimes I know a great deal about the proposed topic, sometimes not so much. That’s OK, because you can evaluate your own expertise in commenting on a proposal when reviewing the bid – this is great if you’re not entirely comfortable.

So, you get to see what other people are bidding for, and for what. The review process then directly informs your own bidding activity. The training for reviewers – at Polaris House in Swindon – is excellent, and the regular sessions are a further opportunity to meet other academics from all over the UK. The most useful thing though is to read and discuss same successful and unsuccessful bids with other reviewers, panel chairs and AHRC staff.

Being a reviewer gives me a great insight into the ways in which a successful research proposal can be crafted. It’s like being at the other end of the ‘pipe’ because on one hand I’m putting together bids with my colleagues here at BU, and then I’m very often reading the submissions at the same time. Right now I have a proposal sitting in my inbox waiting to be reviewed, alongside an almost complete proposal I’m working on with a colleague at the University of Wolverhampton, which we will be submitting to the AHRC very soon.

For me, this dialog between the two processes (reviewing and writing) has been invaluable, and has certainly improved the practice of putting together research bids. It’s also shaped my thinking a lot more strategically in terms of what to go for, and who to work with.

There is still time to put yourself forward as an AHRC reviewer and I would highly recommend it.

If you’re interested in being nominated as a reviewer for the AHRC then read how to do so here: AHRC Still Seeking Nominations for Peer Reviewers