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Abbreviations for American states used in citing references

(Source Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5 th edn) (pp. 217 18) (2001). Washington American Psychological Association. Reprinted with permission.) The following cities are used in citing places of publication without their states because they are well known in their own right Amsterdam London Paris Tokyo Baltimore Los Angeles Philadelphia Vienna

Academic Writing

Returning to fully fledged academics, there have been few studies of sex differences in the writings of academics, and thus there are fewer findings to report. In one complex study, using LIWC, we only found minor differences when we compared academic articles written by individual and pairs of men with those written by individual and pairs of women (Hartley et al., 2003). The clearest difference, which we could not explain, was that single men and pairs of women produced texts with higher...

An Example

While writing this section of Academic Writing and Publishing, I coincidentally received a copy of a paper by Slatcher and Pennebaker (2006). This paper was about the effects of one of the partners of a dating couple writing either neutral or strongly emotional letters to the other one about their relationship. The paper concluded that the participants who wrote the emotional letters were significantly more likely to be dating their romantic partners three months later than were the writers of...

Annotated bibliographies

It is a curious thing that we learn more from other people's mistakes than from their successes. I had not thought to include a chapter in this book on annotated bibliographies but was drawn to do so by coming across a bad example. This bibliography was unhelpful because it did not group the titles in clusters of meaningful topics, and it did not offer any commentary on most of the individual entries. Good annotated bibliographies group entries in some way or another for example, by method...

Author index

American Psychological Association 29, 30, 171, 172, 189 Anderson, C. A. 90, 92 Andrews, R. 90, 92 Antelman, K. 141 Austin-Wells, V. 96, 98 Bahr, A. H. 169, 172 Bainbridge, B. 14 Bar-Ilan, J. 132, 136 Barjak, F. 175, 180, 181 Bayley, L. 33, 35 Benos, J. 153, 158 Bensman, J. 65 Bensman, S. J. 142 Bjork, B-C. 131, 136 Boice, R. 166, 167,168 Bornmann, L. 158 Bressler, M. 116, 121 Brown, L. D. 95, 98 Brown, T. 155, 158 Budd, J. M. 175, 181 Buehring, G. C. 29, 30 Bunn, F. 34, 35 Caruso, M. 146, 150...

Book chapters

The refereeing process here is quite different from that used for refereeing papers. Chapters that have been submitted for publication in an edited collection are likely to be longer and written by an authority in the field. The task of the referee here is typically to identify the good points in the chapter and perhaps the weaker ones, and to indicate how things might be improved. Comments may be asked for on the length of the chapter and the coverage of the literature review Is it up to date...

Book reviews

Book reviews play an important part in academic communication. Most academic journals publish book reviews in addition to their articles and, indeed, some journals publish nothing but book reviews. Book reviews are a special form of academic writing. They have well-known structures with familiar components. When writing book reviews, colleagues use a variety of phrases that carry hidden meanings (see Table 3.7.1). Book reviews differ from academic articles submitted for publication because, in...

Choosing The Reviewers

Different editors have different procedures for choosing book reviewers. Some, for example, maintain panels of authors deemed appropriate for the task, whereas others work more with their personal knowledge of authors in their field, perhaps guided by recommendations from colleagues. Today, there are several journals where the editors do not personally select individual authors to review a particular book. Here, lists of books received for review are distributed by email attachments to a panel...

Citing Page Numbers For Quotations In The Text

There is some debate in the literature about the necessity for citing in the text the page numbers of a quotation, table or figure from another article when giving a reference to it. Generally speaking, this is done more frequently in papers in the arts than it is in the sciences, and studies have shown that many science journals are lax in this respect (e.g. Donovan, 2006 Henige, 2006). Clearly the level of detail required for an in-text reference is a matter of debate, but the actual page...

Clarity In Scientific Writing

In my view, following this sort of advice obscures rather than clarifies the text. Indeed, Smyth has rather softened his views with the passage of time (see Smyth, 2004). For me, the views expressed by Fowler and Fowler in 1906, which head this chapter, seem more appropriate. Consider, for example, the following piece by Watson and Crick, announcing their discovery of the structure of DNA, written in 1953. Note how this text contravenes almost all of Smyth's strictures cited above We wish to...

Cloze tests

The cloze test was originally developed in 1953 to measure people's understanding of text. Here, samples from a passage are presented to readers with, say, every sixth word missing. The readers are then required to fill in the missing words. Technically speaking, if every sixth word is deleted, then six versions should be prepared, with the gaps each starting from a different point. However, it is more common_prepare one version and perhaps_ to focus the gaps on_words. Whatever the procedure,...

Collaborative writing

The number of authors who collaborate has been steadily rising over the years, although there are disciplinary variations (Lewison and Hartley, 2005). Collaboration has been highest among scientists and lowest among arts specialists. International collaboration as measured by co-authorships on papers in the sciences has also grown significantly (Abt, 2007). The literature in this area suggests that collaborative writing among academics can 1 be more efficient because different aspects of the...

Comments To The Authors

As noted earlier, referees are not always consistent in what they recommend. Different referees have different opinions, and there has been much research on the reliability and validity of peer review systems (e.g. see Godlee and Strength of supporting data evidence ___ _ Originality of ideas and approach ___ _ Completeness of discussion ___ _ Intelligibility to non-specialists ___ _ Accept_ Accept with minor revisions_ Re-submit after major revision_ Reject_ Please add any comments for the...

Concluding Comments

Table 2.1.2 shows, for example, the original titles proposed by nine final-year psychology students for their projects, followed by what I believe to be more informative ones. Most of the changes expand and clarify the originals. Readers may judge for themselves whether or not they think the revised versions will better attract and inform the readers. Table 2.1.2 Titles used by students for their projects (in the left-hand column) and revised versions (on the...

Conference papers

The conference paper has been described as 'the essential launching pad for nearly all scholarly careers' (Gould, 1995, p. 37). According to Drott (1995), nearly half of the conference papers published in the sciences and the social sciences in the 1960s went on to become published papers - usually within two years or so. Similar results were reported in the field of medicine (see Weller, 2002). However, others have reported smaller proportions than this. Drott (1995), for example, found that...

Constructing tables

The clarity of tables can be improved by paying attention to their size, complexity and organisation, as well as to the captions and the prose descriptions of the tables that appear in the appropriate parts of the text. Table 3.5.1 The percentage of articles containing tables and graphs in four different journals in 2005 Table 3.5.1 The percentage of articles containing tables and graphs in four different journals in 2005 containing containing containing Large tables and figures are...

Contents

1.1 The nature of academic writing 3 2.12 Responding to referees 67 3.8 Letters to the editor 123 3.9 Annotated bibliographies 127 Other aspects of academic writing 129 4.1 Finding, keeping and disseminating information 131 4.2 Choosing where to publish 137 4.3 Delays in the publishing process 143 4.5 Sex differences in academic writing 161 4.6 Procrastination and writer's block 165 4.7 Collaborative writing 169 4.8 Productive writers 175 A.1 Guidelines for academic writing 183 A.2 Guidelines...

Delays In Editing The Text

When publishers receive the author's text, it is usually submitted for copy-editing. The role of the copy-editor is to check the manuscript to ensure that it follows the correct style for setting the references (in the text and in the list) includes all the references cited in the text in the reference list (and that there are no omissions or additions), and vice versa is consistent in its punctuation for lists (such as this one) contains no typographical or spelling errors reads well in terms...

Delays in the publishing process

The publishers of academic journals and textbooks are notorious for what seem to the authors to be lengthy delays in the publishing process, and then announcing that the proofs will be ready in a day or two and please to have them back, corrected, within 48 hours. If authors want to ensure rapid publication, they have to consider that certain kinds of publication are much slower than others. For example, as noted in Chapter 3.1, encyclopaedias, handbooks (with edited chapters), edited texts and...

Different Audiences

Another way of disseminating your research might be to establish your name with a different audience. It is noteworthy that, since 2000, China has become the fifth leading nation in terms of its share of the world's scientific publications. Greenall (2006) describes his experiences working with publishers of school text-books in China, and Han and Zhang (2004) provide an account of the growth of psychology in China, indicating the titles of some Chinese journals in this respect. Jain (2005)...

Different Kinds Of Books

I list here some different kinds of book with my - probably biased - estimates of how time-consuming and difficult it is to write them. 1 The popular science book (e.g. texts such as those by Oliver Sacks, Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould) These books are extremely easy to read, but they are probably much more difficult to write than it might seem. There might be much more polishing of the text than meets the eye. However it is done, it is beyond most of us. 2 The edited collection of previously...

Disciplinary differences

There are disciplinary differences in theses, as there are in articles, in how they are written. Parry (1998) examined twenty-four Australian theses, eight in the arts, eight in the social sciences, and eight in the sciences. She showed that the language of theses (like that of articles) varied subtly within different disciplines. Parry argued that students had to learn to master these subject variations without being taught them explicitly. She found that, in the arts theses, there was a...

Disseminating Information

In the good old days, authors typically sent preprints, or early drafts of their articles, to friends and colleagues and to interested enquirers. Today, most authors supply lists of their publications on the Web or, indeed, make the publications themselves available on the Web. This is extremely helpful for researchers, provided that the lists are regularly updated. One point of interest here is that if you provide a web-based URL it might also be useful to include what is called the digital...

Disseminating The Results Of Doctoral Research

New technology encourages the dissemination of doctoral research. However, theses are not normally written in a style that is appropriate for dissemination in conferences, journals or textbooks. As Luey (1990) points out, 'Textbooks differ in the level of difficulty, in format, and in the degree of illustrations . . .' (p. 121) as well as in their audiences. The same is true of articles. Many of the chapters in this text-book are based upon previously published articles. Some of these were...

Electronic Theses

It is now conventional for Ph.D. writers to use word processing facilities to write their texts. In addition, it is getting more common to produce an electronic version of the thesis. Apparently, more than 50,000 doctoral theses and 100,000 master's theses are produced annually in this way in the USA (Moxley, 2003). Some universities are progressing in this direction in the UK, although there is much debate over the necessary regulations. Currently, there is discussion about providing an...

Email Studies

Investigators have, however, reported more success in using new technology to assess differences between the language of male and female students using email. Here, it is claimed, it is possible to detect whether or not a student's email has been written by a man or a woman by examining the language that is used (Colley et al, 2004 Thomson and Murachver, 2001). Colley et al., for instance, found that female students' emails were longer than those of men, used less offensive language, and...

Evaluation Forms

Figure 4.4.1 shows one such evaluation form. This form is fairly typical, but different journals use different forms, and some ask referees to rate more features than do others. All of these forms, however, require the referee to make one of the following overall recommendations to the editor accept with minor revisions consider a resubmission after major revisions have been made in the light of the referees' comments (the editor alone might consider the resubmission, or the revised paper might...

Faculty Variables

The research listed above indicates that the following factors are, generally speaking, important here (although there are some national differences Teodorescu, 2000) time allocated for research number of graduate students number of teaching assistants support from head of the department support from university management (professors usually publish more than lecturers) (the higher the prestige of the institution, the higher the production rate) (the more the better) (the less the better) (need...

Finding keeping and disseminating information

The World Wide Web has revolutionised how academics find information. In writing this book I have not had to venture far from my office. The information that I have used to write each chapter has mainly come from books on my shelves, papers stored in my filing cabinets, previous papers on the topic that I have written, and papers located in databases and electronic journals on the Web. In searching these latter resources, I have roamed well beyond my own discipline. Only occasionally have I had...

Footnotes

Some journals in some disciplines use footnotes as well as references. Footnotes are most commonly found in journals in the humanities and least in journals in the sciences, with social science journals somewhere in between. Footnotes serve the same purposes as references, as outlined by Robillard in the previous chapter (p. 60) perhaps more clearly. The differences are that they are sometimes more extensive than references, often containing more exposition, and they usually appear, as their...

Further Reading

The hand of science. Lanham, MD Scarecrow Press. Elbow, P. (2000). Everyone can write Essays towards a hopeful theory of writing and teaching writing. Oxford Oxford University Press. Swales, J. M. & Feak, C. B (2004). Academic writing for graduate students A course for non-native speakers of English (2nd edn). Ann Arbor, Michigan, MI University of Michigan Press. Thaiss, C. & Zawacki, T. M. (2006). Engaged writers and academic disciplines. Portsmouth, NH Boynton Cook...

Guidance on content

The Journal of the Medical Library Association, for example, provides potential book reviewers with lengthy notes on the aims and scope of the journal, together with a paragraph on what the content of the review might contain Reviews should contain a brief overview of the scope and content of the book being reviewed so that readers can determine the book's interest to them. Reviewing each chapter of a book is not necessary. For a research or historical work,...

Guidance on technical matters

These instructions often start with an indication of the required length 'Individual book reviews should be between 800 and 1,200 words in length, depending upon the amount of attention which you feel the book merits'. Indeed, advice about length is sometimes the only advice given. There may, however, be further advice on layout 'Reviews should be set justified and double-spaced'. In some journals a good deal of attention is given to how to head the review in the appropriate format for that...

Guidelines for academic writing

Revised list from Hartley, J. (1997). Writing the thesis. In N. Graves & V. Varma (Eds.), Working for a doctorate (pp. 97-100), London Routledge. 1 Keep in mind your readers they may not be experts Imagine that you are writing for a fellow colleague - or for one of your students - who is familiar with the conventions of your discipline, but who does not know your area. Readers need to be able to grasp what you did and what you found, and to follow your arguments easily. 2 Use the first...

Guidelines for revising text

Revised list from Hartley, J. (1997). Writing the thesis. In N. Graves & V. Varma (Eds.), Working for a doctorate (p. 103). London Routledge. 1 Read through the text asking yourself 2 Read through the text again, but this time ask yourself What changes do I need to make to help the reader How can I make the text easier to follow 3 To make these changes you may need to make big or global changes (e.g. rewrite sections) or to make small or minor text changes (e.g. change the original text...

How Often Are People Asked To Referee

Different editors have different conceptions of how many papers referees might reasonably be asked to do. Some argue that, as each paper needs about three referees, including the editor, an author might be expected to referee two papers for every one that they submit. Others think that editors should not try to overwork referees and, therefore, do not ask them to do more than, say, two papers per year. These editors, though, tend to forget that referees might referee for more than one journal....

Impact And Other Factors

Researchers are encouraged these days to submit their articles to journals with high 'impact factors'. Such journals, it is claimed, are of better quality than those with low impact factors, and this will stand them in better stead in any evaluation of their research (however this is done). The impact factor of a journal is found by dividing the number of citations in one year to articles in the previous two years in that particular journal by the number of articles published by that journal in...

Improving The Clarity Of Graphs

Problems of typesetting can also affect the appearance of graphs they too can be squeezed or enlarged to make them fit the space available, and this can affect the perceived importance of the results. And, like tables, graphs too can be separated from where they are first mentioned in the text. Graphs can also be distorted by their authors by expanding or contracting the spaces between the measures on the ordinate or the abscissa, or by only focusing on a range of results. Figure 3.5.1 shows...

Individual Differences

Productive writers are usually defined in terms of the number of their publications relative to others. Such writers vary a great deal in how they write, but research suggests that the following factors are important gender (men generally publish more than women, particularly in the sciences - but women are catching up) age (productivity rises relatively quickly to a career maximum in the early forties, and then gradually declines, but there are individual and disciplinary differences see...

Key words

1 allow readers to judge whether or not an article contains material relevant to their interests 2 provide readers with suitable terms to use in web-based searches to locate other materials on the same or similar topics 3 help indexers editors group together related materials in, say, the end-of-year issues of a particular journal or a set of conference proceedings 4 allow editors researchers to document changes in a subject discipline (over time) and 5 link the specific issues of concern to...

Letters to the editor

Sometimes it strikes you, when reading a recently published paper, that the authors have failed to include some important variable, made a statistical error or omitted a key research finding. One way of responding to this is to write a letter to the editor, or a short note for publication. Letters to the editor typically follow the following format or 'moves' (Magnet and Carnet, 2006). They remind the reader of the contents of the paper to be commented on raise the explicit criticism give...

Level Keyboarding the text

Research at this level of detail is not particularly relevant to this text. However, it is of interest in one respect. In the old days, people produced and kept early drafts of their work. It was possible, therefore, to see how through the changes, deletions and revisions a writer's thoughts changed and developed as the text was produced. Today, with word processing, it is extremely difficult to keep track of changes of this kind. It is now so easy to change a word or phrase without affecting...

Measuring The Difficulty Of Academic Text

There are many different ways of measuring the difficulty of academic text. Three different kinds of measure (which can be used in combination) are 'expert-based', 'reader-based' and 'text-based', respectively (Schriver, 1989). Expert-based methods are ones that use experts to make assessments of the effectiveness of a piece of text. Referees, for example, are typically asked to judge the quality of an article submitted for publication in a scientific journal, and they frequently make comments...

New Technology And Productivity

Barjak (2006a 2006b) has examined the influence of new technology on productivity. In his 2006a paper, Barjak outlined two ways in which new technology can impact on scientific academic writing. He notes that 1 In general, more information is available over computer networks, and the search for, and retrieval of, information is faster. 2 Access to remote instruments and data sets is easier and faster. 1 Learning to use new technology can slow people down. 2 There is a problem with information...

Paper

Articles in this journal are not typically written in the first person. Whilst this may make the manuscript somewhat more accessible for some readers, it is not appropriate for a formal, academic professional outlet such as this one. In addition, the tone of the manuscript is far too informal for this journal. This is an exceptional paper. It is 40 years since the one occasion on which I listened to Jim Hartley's voice, and I cannot recall how he sounded. Yet in this paper the writer speaks out...

Postscript Problems For Nonnative Speakers Of English

The IMRAD format is helpful for non-native speakers and writers, in the sense that anything that has a structure is easier to deal with than anything that has not. Unfortunately, it is more difficult for non-native speakers of English to read and to write in the appropriate style than it is for native speakers. Regrettably, methods of automatic translation have not yet progressed sufficiently for us to be able to turn scientific articles written in different languages into formal scientific...

Powerpoint

Most conference papers these days are accompanied by computer-based slides, and the most common of these use PowerPoint software. Such displays have met with considerable criticism (see Adams, 2006), but it is not all gloom and doom. There is some evidence from students that they like lectures accompanied by PowerPoint presentations (Susskind, 2005) and that slides presented by PowerPoint are preferred to the same materials presented on flip charts and overhead projectors in certain...

Presenting tables

Some ways of printing tables in the text can cause difficulties for readers. One common problem relates to the positioning of the tables on the page. Tables are frequently placed mechanically by typesetters at the top or the bottom of a page (or column), irrespective of where they are mentioned in the text. This can cause difficulties for readers of an article when, say, the last table of the 'results' section appears in the middle of the 'discussion'. Another related problem is how tables are...

Problems Of Measurement

In most of the studies of productive authors listed above, productivity was measured by the number of publications, rather than their quality. For example, in Hartley and Branthwaite's (1989) study carried out before impact factors and research assessment exercises the participants' total productivity scores were arrived at by asking them how many items they had published in various categories over three years. These numbers were then multiplied by various weightings e.g. books were given five...

Procrastination and writers block

As noted in Chapter 1.1, the texts that we read do not display individual differences in the approaches of their authors. Nor do they show how different writers feel about writing. Texts may be written with gusto and joy, or with painstaking agony, but this is not apparent from their surface features. Madigan et al. (1996) show this in their study. Here, the essays of psychology students were grouped into three categories (with about thirty essays in each). These were written by students with...

Productive writers

Some write a good deal more. What motivates these writers How do they do it Do we want to do it too There have been several studies of productive writers - but only a few recent ones that discuss writers enmeshed in new technology. The somewhat earlier studies fall into two main, but sometimes overlapping, categories 1 studies of the faculty in a particular department or institution to see what organisational factors are associated with high productivity and...

Proofs

The day will come when the proofs of an article that you submitted some months ago arrive unexpectedly in the post or on your screen. The proofs will be accompanied by a note 1 indicating that they need to be corrected and returned to the publishers within a day or two and 2 making dire threats about the costs of making major changes. Proofs allow the author to check the accuracy of the typesetting, especially if the text has been altered to fit the printer's house style, and possibly to make...

Prose descriptions of tables

Tables, and their contents, have to be explained to readers in the text. This can partly be done in the caption, but there is usually more to it than this. Salovey (2000) presents contrasting examples (see Table 3.5.7). He argues that the first one is 'statistics-based' and the second one 'reader-based'. In the first passage, we have no idea what was found until the end. In the second one, the findings come first. Table 3.5.6 The effects of inappropriate internal spacing in a table readers...

Reading Versus Speaking

It is important to note that the conference paper is designed to be spoken and listened to it is not a written paper. There may be a written version for the conference delegates who want one, and for other enquirers, but in the conference itself the focus is on speaking and displaying information. In this connection, Gould (1995, p. 39) remarks that humanists inevitably read their papers from a manuscript, whereas scientists speak extemporaneously from written notes. He also says that...

Reasons For Citing References

According to Robillard (2006), students are taught that 'the primary function of citing references is to avoid plagiarism by giving credit where credit is due'. However, when it comes to publishing academic papers, the reasons for citing references increase. Robillard suggests that references tell the readers where they can find the material being discussed provide evidence for the writers' claims draw the readers' attention to little-known or unknown work indicate to the reader the scholarship...

References

S. (1990). Departmental effects on scientific productivity. American Sociological Review, 55(Autumn), 469 78. Barjak, F. (2005). Research productivity in the Internet era. Series A Discussion Paper 2005-1. Olten, C.H.4601 Solothurn University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland. Barjak, F. (2006a). Research productivity in the Internet era. Scientometrics, 68(3), 343-60. Barjak, F. (2006b). The role of the Internet in informal scholarly communication....

Research and grant proposals

The refereeing process here is more like refereeing papers, but it is a good deal more demanding. A great deal is at stake when one recommends acceptance or rejection of a research proposal costing several thousands of pounds. Referees in this context have to be authorities in the field, and they should possibly decline to do the task if they think they are not. Gade et al. (2006) indicate that the reviewer's report has to be thorough, clear, specific, constructive and timely. Referees are...

Responding to referees

As noted in the postscript to Chapter 1.1, refereeing can be a lottery. Referees' comments and recommendations can vary. Consider three more referees' advice and comments to an editor about an article that I had submitted for publication Referee 1 Accept. It would be quite helpful to non-specialists to provide grade reading equivalents to the Flesch scores to give perspective. Referee 2 Accept with revision. This paper addresses an interesting and important topic . . . Despite this . . . the...

Short Notes

Another genre for responding to previous research is the 'short note'. Such notes may be less disparaging than the letter to the editor and possibly a lot longer. The same stages outlined above for letters may again be present in the note, but normally with more detail. Such notes are likely to be refereed, and often there are replies from the original authors. Short notes can also be used to make a particular point in general, rather than target a specific person. Short notes are accepted as...

Some Problems

There are a number of problems in reviewing the literature that apply to all of the above strategies. First of all, there is what is sometimes called the 'file-drawer' problem. This relates to the fact that it is easier to publish studies that have statistically significant findings than it is to publish ones that do not, and so the latter get filed away. Torgerson (2006) calls this 'the Achilles heel' of systematic reviews, but it applies to all attempts to review the literature in any field....

Strategies For The Beginning Thesis Writer

The following tips (updated from Hartley, 1997) may be helpful when starting to write a thesis Try to be well organised. Plan well ahead. Try to keep to the plan. Examine two or three theses in your discipline area. This will show you what is required and how best to present it. Consider how appendices can be used to include material that gets in the way of the flow of the argument. Write from the beginning. Do not leave 'writing up' until the end you will forget what you did, and why you did...

Students Writing In Higher Education

A number of studies have looked to see whether or not male students write differently from female students in English university examinations. Here, there are two particular genres course-work essays done over time, and essay-examination scripts done under pressure of time. The findings for either genre are not particularly convincing. Studies in both situations have found that women do better than men in some situations, and men do better than women in others, but in both genres there seem to...

Subject index

Abstracts, structured 31 36 acknowledgements 53 55 age differences 176, 178 authors' contributions 29 30 listing of 29 voice 17 from hell 79 Beethoven 12 bibliographies 127 book reviews 115 121 books 75-79 citations 37, 137, 139-141, 169-170 Cloze tests 5 colons 170 information in, 97-98 conference papers 95-99 publishing acknowledgements 53 in discussion sections 49 in finding information 131 in introductions 43 in theses 82 in use of key words 37 electronic databases 132 files 134 theses 83...

Tables and graphs

Tables and graphs are important features in academic articles and conference papers and indeed elsewhere. Table 3.5.1 shows the percentage of articles containing tables and graphs in a variety of journals in 2005. Generally speaking there are fewer of these features in journals in the arts and more in journals in the sciences, with the social sciences in between. These data suggest that there is not much to choose between the proportions of authors using tables in the sciences and in the social...

Tables And Graphs In Conference Presentations

Many of the features of tables and graphs discussed above are also relevant to their presentation in conferences. However, in conference presentations, it is best to present data drastically simplified - complexities can be covered in the talk. For conference presentations, tables and figures need to be an adequate size and to use few, possibly only two, contrasting colours (e.g. dark text on a pale background, or the reverse of this for darkened rooms). Full explanatory captions or titles on...

The Language Of Science And Academia

If we examine the text of scientific articles it is clear that there is a generally accepted way of writing them. Scientific text is precise, impersonal and objective. It typically uses the third person, the passive tense, complex terminology, and various footnoting and referencing systems. Such matters are important when it comes to learning how to write scientific articles. Consider, for example, the following advice Good scientific writing is characterised by objectivity. This means that a...

The Structure Of Scientific Articles

Research articles typically have a standard structure to facilitate communication, which is known as IMRAD (introduction, method, results and discussion), although, of course, there are variations on this basic format. The chapters that follow in Section 2 of this book elaborate on each IMRAD section in more detail. It is important to note here, of course, that this structure is actually a charade. Scientists do not proceed in the way that IMRAD implies. IMRAD is a formula for writing up, and...

The Written Text

Although the conference paper is delivered orally, it is useful to have a summary version available as a hand-out during the talk. Handouts help listeners follow the presentation and grasp its overall structure. It may be helpful to reproduce copies of any of the key PowerPoint slides, but it is unwise just to present them all in reduced size. The handout needs to be readable, and much is lost if the spoken accompaniment to the slides is omitted. The hand-out should also contain the title of...

Ulillll

Figure 3.5.3 Two-dimensional displays are easier to read than are three-dimensional displays of the same data (fictitious data). Figure 3.5.4 An interaction between the results obtained from two conditions (methods of instruction) and two groups (introverts and extroverts).*

Using Appropriate Styles And References

In most situations authors have no say in what reference system will be used, and they prepare their texts in accordance with publishers' demands. They do, however, have different aims and can use different referencing styles to match these, as shown in Table 2.10.1. Historical analysis shows that referencing styles are not fixed and predetermined, and that incoming editors can and do make changes. The British Journal of Psychology, for example, started in 1910 with a footnote system and...

Using The Information

There have been few studies of how authors integrate materials from the Internet with that published in scientific articles. Junni (2007) examined the reference lists in masters' theses in economics, psychology and mathematics, written in Finland in 1985, 1993 and 2003, and carried out semi-structured interviews with a selection of students who had completed their theses in 2003. Junni found that the average number of items in the reference lists in the economics and psychology theses had...

What Do Writers Gain By Refereeing

Commentators suggest that writers gain three things by refereeing 1 they feel accepted as part of the scholarly community 2 they have to take a stand and decide what is and what is not acceptable in publications in their discipline and 3 they see the level of quality demanded of other authors and learn to apply it to their own work. Refereeing a paper conscientiously is time-consuming but worthwhile. It may take several hours to do it properly. Many authors acknowledge the contribution of...

Who Chooses The Key Words

Table 2.4.2 shows that there are several different ways of choosing key words. The most common method (used by over fifty per cent of authors) is for them to supply as many words as they choose (within bounds), but sometimes a specified number of words is required (often about six). The next main method (used by about twenty per cent of authors) is for them to choose key words that fit into categories already prescribed by the journal's 'instructions to authors'. Thus, for example, authors...

Writing A Thesis

Writing a thesis is like writing an academic article, only worse. The thesis is much longer. Unfortunately, students normally write their thesis before they start on articles, and they only write one. Thus, thesis writers typically have less practice and are less skilled at academic writing than are the more experienced authors of papers. Furthermore, many Ph.D. students writing their theses in English are non-native speakers of the language. A thesis is much like a graduate student It has a...

Writing As A Genre

Table 4.5.1 shows some data found for men and women writing in different genres, ranging from academic text to what is often called 'women's fiction'. If you read down the table, for both of the measures 'sentence length' and 'reading ease', you will see that the texts typically get easier the further you go down the columns. If you read across the columns, you will find that there is only one significant difference out of eighteen between the average scores achieved by men and women....

Writing Book Reviews Editorial Instructions

Because book reviews are not normally refereed, editors need to make clear what they require. Thus, there are usually instructions on these matters for Table 3.7.1 The hidden meanings of phrases in book reviews Not much in this but one or two chapters worth thinking about 'A useful book for the library' Not very exciting 'The discussion is somewhat abstruse' I could not understand much of this 'For the most part this is a thorough, lucid and well-argued book but a few weaknesses can be noted....

Writing Partners

The 'Writing Partner' was the name given by Zellermayer et al. (1991) to a suite of computer programs designed to help teenagers write essays. Here, I have chosen to use the term to emphasise a slightly different aspect of collaboration - one that emphasises mutual support. Other investigators have used phrases such as 'study buddies', 'personal coaches' or 'mentors' to describe this. Whatever the name, the idea is that one can work together with one, or more, separate partners to facilitate...

Writing Processes

The discussion so far has concentrated on the product of writing the academic paper and its constituents rather than the process how academics go about Table 1.1.3 Some rhetorical devices used in academic articles to persuade the reader of the validity of the argument Jargon language that can become pretentious and opaque. Misuse of references lists of references to support a point, and selective references to support one side of the argument and not the other. Straw men arguments to bolster a...

Grammatical Constructions In Titles

Soler (2007) examined 570 titles used in articles in the biological and social sciences. Some 480 of these were from research papers, and 90 from reviews. Soler distinguished between full-sentence constructions, for example 'Learning induces a CDC2-related protein kinase' nominal group constructions, for example 'Acute liver failure caused by diffuse hepatic melanoma infiltration' compound constructions (i.e. divided into two parts, mainly by a colon), for example 'Romanian nominalizations case...

How To Select Key Words

Gbur and Trumbo (1995) published a list of ways of producing effective key words and phrases. Table 2.4.3 provides an abbreviated version. It is possible that, with future developments, all of these problems will actually disappear. As one colleague has put it, 'Inverted-full-text-Boolean indexing and online searching (with similarity algorithms and citation- Table 2.4.2 Different methods for supplying key words Authors supply them with no restrictions on the numbers allowed. Authors supply up...

General Procedures

In order to publish a book, it is useful to think first about an appropriate publisher. Some publishers will have books on similar topics in their 'list', and others won't. It might be best to look to the first kind, for they will know the market better. Then it is a good idea to check these publishers out on the Web. Each will have a homepage with details about submissions and possibly the names of their commissioning editors for the different categories of texts that they publish. A letter to...

Strategies For Presenting Results In Reviews

There are at least six ways of presenting summaries of the results of research reviews, which can be placed along a continuum of statistical precision. 1 The narrative review This is the kind of review that is typically used in this book. Writers research around a particular topic and then write a review of the field, giving their own 'take' on it, selecting evidence from whatever seems appropriate to them. This type of review is most common in text-books and popular journals. I once provided a...

Delays In Journal Publishing

Publication lags differ in different journals. Most journals now publish with each article the dates of the original submission, the revised submission and when the article was accepted for publication which can be a year or more before it appears in print. Researchers can get a good idea of publication delays by inspecting this information in recent issues of the journals that they intend to submit to. Generally speaking, it takes longer to publish articles in high-quality journals (often well...

James Hartley

Taylor& Francis Croup LONDON AND NEW YORK 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OXI4 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2008. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge's collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk. All rights reserved. No part of this book...

Structured Abstracts

Structured abstracts are typically written using five sub-headings 'background', 'aim', 'method', 'results' and 'conclusions'. Sometimes the wording of these sub-headings varies a little 'objectives' for 'aim', for example, but the meaning is much the same. Structured abstracts were introduced into medical research journals in the 1980s. Since then they have been widely used in medicine and other areas of research (Nakayama et al, 2005). In 2004, I published a narrative review of their...

General Advice

Some points to bear in mind, when writing both general and specific comments, are as follows Be courteous throughout. There is no need to be superior, sarcastic or to show off. Remember the paper that you are refereeing might have been written by a postgraduate, and it could be a first attempt at publication. Table 4.4.1 The main concerns of referees adapted with permission from Brown 2004 courtesy of The Scientist and Sense about Science, www.senseaboutscience. org Significance Are the...

Acknowledgements

Most academic articles contain acknowledgements to various sources of help received during their preparation, although one editor of my acquaintance steadfastly deletes them on the grounds that they add nothing to the content. However, I believe that it is courteous to thank sources of financial support and colleagues and referees for their help in improving articles. Slatcher and Pennebaker conclude Portions of this research were funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health MH53291...

Delays In Book Publishing

When the contract has been signed, authors can get on with completing their text, but a number of things can hold them up. One of these, in particular, is having to obtain permission to reproduce tables, figures and quotations from previously published materials even if they are your own originals . . . Some people counsel authors to start doing this almost as soon as they think they will need to copy something when they set out writing their text. However, because permissions have to be given...

American Historical Review Reading And Writing Book Reviews

In a recent study, I reported on my findings when I sent out an electronic questionnaire on reading and writing book reviews to groups of academics in the arts, sciences and social sciences Hartley, 2006 . Approximately fifty people in each of these groups replied. Almost two-thirds of them recalled reading a dreadful book review. Some of the things they said about such reviews were that they were pointless, uninformative, indecisive and boring a mere listing of the contents pretentious, unkind...

Move Occupying the niche

The introduction concludes in paragraph 5 with the following key phrases 'In the present study we sought to investigate the social effects of expressive writing . . .', 'Three predictions were tested. First . . .'. Slatcher and Pennebaker thus follow Swales and Feak's analysis almost line by line. It is also worth noting, in passing, that the literature review in this paper is quite short, and there are only nine references. Day and Gastel 2006 comment that, 'Introductions should supply...

The Flesch Reading Ease score

The Flesch score is now one of many easily obtained computer-based measures of text readability. The scores run from 0 to 100, and the higher the score, the easier the text. The original measure was created in 1943 by Rudolph Flesch to measure the readability of magazine articles Klare, 1963 . Basically, what current measures of the score do is to count the length of the words and the length of the sentences in a passage and compute these into a reading ease RE score Flesch, 1948 . The...

Different kinds of thesis

Paltridge 2002 described, with examples, four types of thesis, based upon an analysis of fifteen master's and fifteen Australian Ph.D. theses. These types were 1 Traditional simple Here, typically, there were six sections introduction, literature review, materials and methods, results, discussion and conclusions the IMRAD structure writ large. 2 Traditional complex Here there were more sections, for example introduction background to the study and literature review background theory and methods...

Sex differences in academic writing

In Chapter 1.1 I discussed some differences between the writing processes of individual academics. In that chapter, I did not report, nor indeed have I found, any data on sex differences in this respect. This is surprising given that there has always been an interest in differences between the sexes in terms of verbal ability. It is commonly held that women are more verbal than men. Consequently, there is considerable discussion about whether or not men and women write and speak in different...

Unsolicited book reviews

Some editors accept unsolicited reviews, provided that they meet the required standards. As one editor put it I strongly encourage unsolicited reviews. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication Others are more cautious, for example This journal does not publish unsolicited reviews. However, if you would like to be added to our database of potential reviewers, please fill in our potential reviewers data-sheet. The Hispanic American Historical Review Unsolicited book reviews are not...

Thirteen Types Of Title

1 Titles that announce the general subject, for example Designing instructional and informational text. On writing scientific articles in English. 2 Titles that particularise a specific theme following a general heading, Pre-writing The relation between thinking and feeling. The achievement of black Caribbean girls Good practice in Lambeth schools. The role of values in educational research The case for reflexivity. 3 Titles that indicate the controlling question, for example Is academic...

Posters

Imrad Scientific Poster

Poster papers were initially introduced to ensure that people could still have their work presented at conferences when there was insufficient space for it on the main programme. Curiously enough, I have been unable to find any assessments of their effectiveness in this respect. Most papers on posters concern their design. Figure 3.6.1 shows a typical arrangement for a poster at a scientific conference. Conference organisers usually specify how large such posters can be. A conventional size is...

Pie charts bar charts and linegraphs

It is usual in discussions such as this to distinguish between pie charts, bar charts and line graphs. Pie charts are much rarer in academic articles than are bar charts and line graphs, and probably should be avoided in this context. Pie charts are difficult to label and to read if they contain several segments see Figure 3.5.2 . Further, multicoloured segments do not copy well in black and white. 1950 55 60 65 70 1950 55 60 65 70 Figure 3.5.1 Plotting the same data with different vertical...