Influences, Research

BAM – writing

After a break, I pick up the threads of my work by taking the train to Paisley for a BAM workshop on writing.

Professor David Denyer is leading the workshop and promises to help us understand what makes a great paper and share the secrets of writing great papers for top ranking journals.

Journal publication seems to make or break academics and researchers.  People write to share their thinking, and sometimes to figure out what they think.   Academics also have to write about their work to secure tenure, get funding, demonstrate impact and build their credentials. It can be pressured and stressful. And of course, it isn’t just about publishing anywhere.  Journals have rankings and stars and writers need to aim high.

Citations – other people referencing your work – also matter as an attempt to evidence academic impact.  Many voices challenge  biases in citation and referencing patterns across disciplines.  It is especially a problem for female and feminist writers and researchers, as Sara Ahmed argues convincingly. When I search through databases, I often feel sorry for the article that has no or fewer than 10 citations.  David Denyer doesn’t have that worry though- one of his key articles has over 5000 citations according to Google scholar.

Even well-established scholars and professors find getting published an endless process of revising and resubmitting.  Drafting version 57 of the same article before publication requires stamina, persistence, and a healthy sense of perspective. The top three reasons journals reject articles are methodology, significance and writing style, so those seem like good places to start.

The workshop has provided a framework to critique articles and create better drafts. On the train home, I begin using it to assess a 10,000 word piece I have already written.  I find gaps and omissions.  I could be clearer.  I can make each section stronger and they can speak more directly to each other.  This is both great learning and mildly frustrating.  I begin to revise. Taking into account supervisor comments, I dread to think which version this now is.

The three key ingredients of a great paper are a good data set, an interesting idea and writing style. In practice, pulling all that together takes craft.

I find out the next day that the Gender Work and Organization Conference 2020 have accepted an abstract I have submitted.  Elation.  And an opportunity to develop my craft as I write the full article for June.

A conference abstract and article I had already written- before the workshop – has been published is now available on Proquest.  I was ridiculously pleased with the title – Don’t leave me this way.  On the subject of hummable tunes, am I the only one who cannot take the train to Paisley without looking for Linda?




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