Implement Evidence-Based Strategies - From Aspiring Author to Published Scholar - Professional Roles and Publishable Writing

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

Implement Evidence-Based Strategies
From Aspiring Author to Published Scholar
Professional Roles and Publishable Writing

If you honestly feel that your writing abilities are comparatively rudimentary then go back to the basics. For instance, a meta-analysis of research on improving secondary students’ writing identified several powerful, positive influences on the improvement of writing (Deane, Odendahl, Quinlan, Welsh, & Bivens-Tatum, 2008) that we have clustered together here:

· A change in writing habits: replacing less productive planning, revising and editing habits with more practical and effective strategies

· Modifications to the writing context: participating in writing workshops in which authors write together and review one another’s work rather than working in isolation

· More emphasis on idea generation: using prewriting activities to organize ideas before beginning to write

· A focus on the process: setting specific, attainable, intermediate goals for a piece of writing rather than being preoccupied with the finished product

· Use of writing models: studying examples of the genre that merit emulation

Table 1.2 suggests some writers’ tools that can help to break away from less productive habits.

Table 1.2

Strategies for getting started

Play with titles—Many authors make the mistake of working without a title for an extended period of time. If you get a precise title to begin with, it can save quite a bit of rewriting and wasted effort. Remember that your title should be consistent with the manuscript’s purpose, avoid repeating words, and should not exceed 12 words

Interview—Pretend that someone is interviewing you about the manuscript you are preparing. Generate a list of questions that require critical reflection and be certain to answer the “so what?” question—why others should care about this topic/focus (Nackoney, Munn, & Fernandez, 2011)

Cubing—Generate six ideas for each side of a cube—but don’t evaluate them at first. This brainstorming technique is designed to jumpstart idea generation. As a final step, go back to select the best ones to pursue

The Five Ws—To begin generating ideas, use the journalist’s Who, What, When, Where, and Why questions and answer each one

Clustering—Go through notes to identify groups of related ideas and cut and paste them into a semblance of an organization. Might these clusters suggest the main sections of your manuscript? If so, write headings for them

Plus/Minus/Interesting (P/M/I) chart—Analyze your topic in three columns: the positives (plus), the negatives (minus), and the puzzling or surprising (interesting)

Choose the best sentences—Ask someone else to read for you and highlight the best sentences. Take a look at the ones they selected and analyze their characteristics. You may find, for example, that these sentences are shorter. Go back and modify or cull out several sentences that were not identified

Read aloud—Reading aloud—to yourself or in the company of a writers’ circle—is a good check on cadence, variety, pacing, punctuation errors, and sentence length

Chronological—Look at a specific topic from the perspective of past/present/future to organize thinking

Smart art—On the toolbar in Word, click on Insert and then SmartArt. Here you’ll find many different ways to generate visual display for ideas, categorized by type (i.e., process, hierarchy, relationship). Try organizing your ideas for a manuscript or a table or figure for the manuscript with one of these tools

Conclusion/introduction swap—It sometimes is the case that ideas about the paper become much clearer as you go along. Try moving what was your conclusion to the beginning as a way to focus and cut down on a lengthy introduction

Invisiblewriting—If you cannot break the habit of editing as you write, turn off your monitor display and just type your ideas freely to get some text generated. Do not “edit as you go”; the goal is to get ideas down on paper

Argue for/against—To support the goal of producing a balanced argument, begin by generating a list of reasons for and against an idea that you are suggesting. If you anticipate objections and generate responses to them from the start, you can provide a stronger argument

SCAMPER—is an acronym used to stimulate creativity and introduce more novel ideas into your work. It stands for substitute, combine, adapt, modify/magnify/minify, put to another use, eliminate, and reverse or rearrange ( The purpose is to break out of linear thinking

Adapted from: Jalongo (2002) and Strickland (1997)