Category: academic writing

What makes a successful research project blog? Forums for generating ideas fare better than sharing final results.

Coordinating a research project blog has many benefits, but it can lead to some difficulties in practice. Pat Thomson reflects on the types of project blogs in her experience worked better than others. The ones aimed at developing ideas and connecting with external partners were very useful. But the presentation of core findings were a concern to some funders. Furthermore, when does […]

Storyboarding research: How to proactively plan projects, reports and articles from the outset.

A storyboard is just a comprehensive set of rough sketches on paper to help keep a project ticking along to completion. Patrick Dunleavy is a firm supporter of this approach for research projects. The storyboard is what you build as soon as you know you have the grant award or the contract is in the bag, and the precise resources that […]

Why books matter: There is value in what cannot be evaluated.

Academic publishing is intricately bound to evaluation. The demand to publish as much as possible has led to the chopping up of research into  minimum publishable units across journals that are easily counted, ranked and evaluated. Books, however, are not so easily accounted for. Julien McHardy argues the value of books is in this freedom from evaluation which offers the chance to pursue greater […]

Book Review: The Unruly PhD: Doubts, Detours, Departures, and Other Success Stories by Rebecca Peabody

This book is a useful and comforting resource for anyone interested in understanding how individuals get through their PhD journeys and negotiate their career choices. Most importantly, this book reminds us that there is a greater world beyond the academia, and that it is OK to pursue alternative paths, writes Sin Yee Koh. This review originally appeared on LSE Review of […]

Whose ideas are they anyway? Academic work as a form of public action, rather than possession.

Do our academic creations belong to us? Should we think of them as property? Amidst debates about how to cite properly and circulating fears of ideas being stolen, do we risk losing touch with wider questions about how ideas emerge and develop, and the limits of provenance? Davina Cooper argues public action may provide a better way of thinking about […]

Say it once, say it right: Seven strategies to improve your academic writing.

Whether writing a research article or a grant proposal, it can be difficult to pinpoint the sections and areas that need further improvement. It is useful to have a set of tactics on hand to address the work. Patrick Dunleavy outlines seven upgrade strategies for a problematic article or chapter: Do one thing well. Flatten the structure. Say it once, […]

Why do bloggers blog so much about blogging?

More than just the enthusiastic pronouncements of reaching wider audiences, Pat Thomson suspects that blogging has in many ways legitimated, promoted and extended an interest in the practice of academic writing itself. Blogs about blogging suggest that bloggers also find – and frequently point to – new forms of peer support and other academic opportunities generated through their blogging. This suggests […]

How much data do you need? Like documentary film-making, research requires far greater coverage than the final cut.

It can be difficult to determine how much data is required for research analysis. Kerim Friedman compares the process to documentary film-making where they typically shoot sixty times the amount that makes the final cut. The concept of a “shooting ratio” underlines the necessity of collecting a lot of data in order to find that one choice nugget upon which hinges the analysis. But collecting […]

Impact Round Up 10th May: Reputational gaps, registered reports, and serendipity in research.

Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication. Give the pioneers a chance – OA and closing the reputational gap for young scientists by Alexander Grossman: Substitute pay-walled journals with new open science technologies to publicly publish your scientific results; continue to use social network tools […]