Category: academic writing

Shorter, better, faster, free: Blogging changes the nature of academic research, not just how it is communicated

Academic blogging gets your work and research out to a potentially massive audience at very, very low cost and relative amount of effort. Patrick Dunleavy argues blogging and tweeting from multi-author blogs especially is a great way to build knowledge of your work, to grow readership of useful articles and research reports, to build up citations, and to foster debate […]

Why Inaccessibility? Despite progressive tone, attacks on academics’ lack of clarity can be profoundly regressive.

It has become popular to denounce academic writing as elitist and unhelpful. Eric Detweiler argues that inaccessibility may be a more complex issue. “Inaccessible” writing may be the result of  an author trying to do things with language that conventional, “clear” uses of language cannot. Furthermore, these critiques are often launched at marginalised fields that are writing in non-standard ways […]

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 […]