.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Flog of the Prokonsul

Internet fluency, digital governance and Wikipedia propaganda. You have been warned.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sessions Three and Four

Seems like I saved the Session Three as a draft and forgot to publish it. So now - two sessions in one post, for your reading pleasure.

Session Three

After a major revision, save your paper under a different name - so you can go back and see past revisions if needed.

When the paper is ready? Ask a friend to judge - or if you have no deadline, take breaks and after a week or two 'take a fresh look' at it.

Consider reading your text aloud to yourself. You can hear some akward phares and correct them then.

Coauthors are great reviewers. Try getting one :)

Make your sentences flow logicaly. Don't repeat yourself, consider where to place important information. Don't put it where nobody expects it.

Look at articles you like in a journal you'd like to publish in. How can you make your article look similar to those?

PS. Few interesting things that came in various discussions recently. If you have a video to share and want to reach people, consider video sharing services like YouTube or Google Video. Similarly, consider sharing pictures - for example Flickr or Wikimedia Commons. Important thing to consider: free licences. If you want your contributions to have large impact, I strongly recommend sharing them under free licences; most popular one are the Creative Commons. Highly recommend reading: open access. If you quickly want to build a webpage, consider Google Page Creator (or any wiki farm, for course).

Session Four

Not strictly related to writing, but I have to say that teaching through games is one of my favourite strategies. Interesting sites to visit to share and discuss such ideas: Wikiversity, Open Content Teaching Educational Games Resources.

If you have a statement that you are unsure about but may be important, consider doing a quick look for references (citations) to support your point. My favourite tools for that: Google Book Search and Google Scholar.

TTags: ,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Session Two

We were discussing Google Documents. As it's a new feature of Google, few people have heard about it: it's quite interesting tool for collaborative editing, you can read more about it here. Other popular proposal included posting docs to our Courseweb and replying in the internal forum.

Has anybody used Web of Science?

Politics and the English Language: read it here from anywhere.

Good tip about 'where to publish your work': look through your bibliography.

Freewriting seems to be popular... or freecharting :)

This week's idea #1: try not to use passive at all. #2 Look at your current writing. Normalize it. See if somebody outside the discipline can understand your writing.

Task: Introductions and conclusions. Find journals you'd like to submit your work to. Look through some articles and find intro's and conclusions you like. Bulletpoint what's nice about them. How can we incorporate them into our work?

Quote of the week: "What's scary about being a writer?" How can be deal with this fear?

PS. Discussed last time: Steven E. Gump, Writing Successful Covering Letters for Unsolicited Submissions to Academic Journals, Journal of Scholarly Publishing 35.2 (2004) 92-102

PS2. Send comments about a paper to the author..

PS3. You can post comments to this blog, you know - just click 'comments' below.

TTags: ,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I am reactivating the flog (fluency blog) in order to try some liveblogging (Damien should be proud of me) in a Workshop on Research Proposal & Products class (read: we are learning how to write).

Useful tool: works by Howard S. Becker. Check his homepage.

We are talking about writing projects we are working on. People are working on a combination of paper and thesis. We will be looking at samples of each other's writing and discussing them. Every week two persons will email their 'stuff' by Friday, and by Monday they will receive comments. Peer review is useful, from my experience. Be open to criticism. Even more, invite it.

Scary thought: IRB. Nobody really feels comfortable with it... so we are likely to schedule a class to discuss it.

We discussed two articles as examples of good writing. Night as Frontier by Murray Melbin and Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors by Susan Sontag. They are *nice*. They tell stories. You read them like novels... like literature. And it's surprising - and scary, again. We have this subconscious feeling that reading academic stuff (and writing is...) is painful. We know we like such articles. But can we - starting our adventure in the world of science - afford to write nice? The strategy of hiding behind lots of complex-sounding words is so tempting... 'Look, I use all of those phrases that nobody understands but I am sure you do and so I am 'one of you', too'.

If we have something to say, be brave. Don't write from the perspective that 'I am worthless student and this issue has been researched throughly....'. We can have important stuff to say - don't prostrate yourself in your writing.

When not to cite? Where general knowledge which doesn't need to be cited stops and specialized ones starts? How to avoid block quotes? Rule of thumb: you should be able to take all quotes, tables and similar stuff out and the paper needs to make sense.

Practical exercise: seek and destroy useless words. Avoid jargon, write simply. Avoid passive voice.

Freewriting activity: 10 minuts on: a) what am I trying to say? b) what bothers me about that? and c) why is my project important? Then go back see how much is usefu, mark gems. Finally, one paragraph 'clean, finished' summary of those - what is it that you are investigating?

PS. Don't forget to check Piled Higher and Deeper!

TTags: ,