On writing an academic paper, preliminary tipsدوره: How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (Project-Centered Course) / فصل: Writing the paper- things you need to know / درس 2
On writing an academic paper, preliminary tips
Do you explain why there is a real gap in the literature, but also why your research question is an interesting one, a relevant one, an important one? The literature review is a delicate exercise finding the right balance between extremes, for getting references, or being too exhaustive. On the last sections, one of the our tips is to show in what your findings are original or surprising or what is unexpected and counter-intuitive about them, and how they bring new light to the literature.
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[MUSIC] Hi, everyone. And welcome back to the MOOC On Writing An Academic Paper, by and for PhD students. My name is Heloise, and in this video I will give you few tips on writing. Everything we think is the most important to know. For instance, let’s start with the writing order. Did you really think that you had to write the paper in the linear order of the building blocks with this [INAUDIBLE] previously. Abstract, introduction, literature review, etcetera. [SOUND] No, no, no. That’s a terrible idea, and I’ll tell you why. Because most of the time, you’re writing in panic mode, a few hours before a deadline for that curriculum, you really, really want to go to. You’re putting all your last efforts in what? In the analysis. Because you’re thinking, well that’s what you’re contributing to. That’s your research. And then, when you’re exhausted, with no more energy, you’re writing the discussion and the conclusion in the last effort, and the result is terrible. Once more you can’t remember what your research question is about, so you conclude on your last thoughts, and not on the core ideas of your paper. Then when the reviewers read the paper what they find is that your conclusion does not answer your introduction, and your introduction does not even fit your paper. What a drama. So how to fix this? Well, first let’s not write at the very last minute. But let’s be serious and talk about real helpful pieces of advice. First of all, and that’s paradoxical, you should rewrite the final versions of the introduction, the conclusion, and the abstract at the very last. It’s important that you understand fully well the core of your paper. That is to say the literature review, the methodology, the results, and your contributions. So you can properly synthesize everything. Always put huge efforts and energy in them, as, unfortunately, they are often what most people re-read first, or worse the only thing that they will read. Another very important tip on writing, and I think we have stressed that a lot in our MOOC, it’s that you should always write for a specific research community and for a specific journal, so you know what work they have done before and what work they are interested in. It also helps to adapt to the style of the journal because not everyone writes the same way. American English, for instance, can be seen as mistakes from British journals. Let us focus on the introduction now. The first sentence is one of the most important because, well, it is the first thing people read. So you have to work it and work it until it is perfect and powerful. Just as the title, remember? [SOUND] Then in the introduction, make sure that you answer what we call the MRCI Framework. M stands for motivation. What is the motivation of your topic? Do you explain why there is a real gap in the literature, but also why your research question is an interesting one, a relevant one, an important one? You could also explain why your research is necessary, but why no one has done it before or that’s your results. What are your findings, basically. That’s the part where you answer the research question. C is for contributions. So how do these results contribute to the ongoing research or previous literature? Contributions can be theoretical. They can also be empirical, when you bring up new data or highlight new phenomena. And they can be methodological, if you design a new method that is better than others or complementary to others. And, finally, I is for implications. What are the implications of your work for future research? For managers, if you’re in management. For consumers, if you’re in marketing. And so on. MRCI should be your Leif motif when writing the introduction, and the abstract too, since the abstract is actually just a short version of the introduction. Another video deals with abstract. We invite you to consult it, and there will be a nice exercise afterwards. Okay, now let’s take a look at the literature review. Keep in mind that most literature reviews are at best very confusing, at worst downright boring. So when you write it, here are some tips to make a good literature review. First of all, while you need to have read everything, you should not put it all down in that section. Just write what is significant, highly relevant, and helpful to get to the problematic. And that’s my second point, always make sure that you have a purpose. You’re not just listing references, but you’re conducting an argumentation and demonstration’s that’s leading you somewhere. To the gap. To help with that, a good organization, a proper outline of the review, are essential. The literature review is a delicate exercise finding the right balance between extremes, for getting references, or being too exhaustive. Not being critical enough or being too critical. Not showing enough respect or showing way too much. Going back to ancient civilization times or rejecting anything that’s older than five years. Let’s keep in mind that the literature review is also a political act. By choosing whom you are quoting, you are choosing side in the research community. So treat carefully and make sure you’re not omitting any key reference. On the last sections, one of the our tips is to show in what your findings are original or surprising or what is unexpected and counter-intuitive about them, and how they bring new light to the literature. And that’s it for this session. Thank you for watching and good luck with your work. Now let’s move to the next video. [MUSIC]
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