strategies for writing academic papers (including prescriptions for procrastination)

Posted by lipsius at 2020-02-27

Tip: This paper focuses on the strategy of academic writing, focusing on the process of writing. I hope it can help people who are shocked by the task of writing academic papers and can't get a word out. This paper does not discuss the specific techniques in academic writing, such as academic norms, methods of reference and so on. The methods and suggestions mentioned in this paper are mainly from the academic writing support center of Lund University. I went to a lecture of them not long ago and felt very good, so I asked for dozens of PPT pages. The teachers generously said that the content had no copyright and was handled at will. Because the content is a little too much, I combine my own experience in writing papers, and choose some strategies I have used that I think are most useful to share. Because it's a pure sharing nature, there is no copyright in this article. It's OK to indicate the source of the author, and the friends can take it by themselves according to their needs. Every day, when I brush the Douban, I can see the pain of someone wailing to write the paper. There are so many things in the world that are more painful than writing a paper, but it can't dilute the pain that is still rolling in the paper. Obviously, in academic life, having ideas and being able to write are totally different things. Many people who are full of reading poetry are constipated for a long time when they are faced with academic writing. It's quite normal. It is normal for academic writing training to be ignored. It's not just the poor performance at home. Foreign countries may be better than academic norms, but there are only a few people who can really write clearly. When I was in undergraduate course, the whole course related to academic writing was only two hours long. The school can't help but assume that everyone has no teacher to teach himself how to write, which is actually too high a requirement. When a paper is regarded as the most important evaluation standard of what a person has learned, it is really difficult to ask students to write high-quality papers without training and support. Otherwise, I would like to make complaints about two Tucao when I wrote my thesis.

Do you have a lot of resonance:) let's get to the point. I've also been tortured by papers. Anyone who is really interested in his own field understands this feeling: the creation of the thesis is independent and depends on his own success or failure. However, it is the most important criterion for his thinking and learning after several years of university life. If he fails to write, he cannot push it to others. The writer will think that if the paper is not well written, he has raised the white flag on the level of intelligence. Constipation will bring a disastrous blow to one's academic confidence. I have experienced such a ordeal when I was in undergraduate course. Fortunately, the requirements of undergraduate thesis are not too high. After I went abroad, I was completely blind when I faced the 5000 word English thesis in the first course. It's almost the length of my undergraduate thesis when I translated 5000 words of English into Chinese:) I stumbled and stumbled for several months before I finished writing my thesis. Now I have to write an article of the same length in two weeks, and I still have to write it in English. At that time, I was scared to faint. It turns out that my first paper was full of incoherence. How can I survive a 20000 word dissertation with 5000 words? Later, I learned that the school has an English writing support center, and I decided to take the initiative to ask for help. Academic writing support center plays an important role in my writing process. [academic writing support center] "academic writing support center" sounds good, right? Check your school as soon as possible. If not, suggest one with the headmaster! Lu does this work for a group of teachers with English or Swedish Chinese background, whose task is to help students with writing difficulties to turn ideas into words. Don't have too many students with writing difficulties, OK? Writing obstacles range from "I can't write a single word" syndrome, to "I can't catch up with the plan forever, and my 10 hour work plan always takes 9 hours and 55 minutes to delay" syndrome, to "I can't look at the Shi I wrote directly, and I feel like turning around at a glance" syndrome and so on. This is not funny at all. Students, how high is the ratio of depression among master's and doctoral students? You can check Douban's depression topic by yourself. So teachers can help students with brainstorming, sorting out the information they want to express through dialogue, forming their writing habits by tips, helping students sort out paragraphs, finding the logical connection between fragments and building structures, modifying language diseases and polishing language without saying anything. At that time, I went to the writing center every week or every other week to see the same teacher. I had 45 minutes of tutoring each time, and I agreed on the time and task for the next meeting. The day before the meeting, I emailed the new content and new questions to the teacher and discussed them the next day. The whole process lasted for about two months. The teacher cooperated with the students, and the Socratic midwife teaching method helped people to give birth to the paper, the grinding goblin. So how to write an academic paper successfully? Here are tips from teachers

Don't hesitate to write today! 】Don't wait for everything to be planned before you start writing! Write continuously from the first day! For many people, the difficulty in writing a paper is typing the first paragraph. Because I want to write the paper well in my heart, it seems that the beginning is not right. It seems too dull to write at the beginning, and it seems too pompous to write. If you don't pay attention to it, you're off topic. If you fail at the beginning, how can you write a good article? Then you are stuck in the first step, and the first paragraph of the paper is delayed for a week. In fact, writing itself is a learning process. Teachers have repeatedly stressed that "thinking clearly before writing" is a myth. We don't have to think about everything before we write: we actually learn how to think in writing. Therefore, it is not "write after you think", but "write after you think". So in the face of a large collection of information, I don't know how to draw the structure and how to divide the paragraphs, so stop thinking about it. These are not things that can be thought of at the beginning of writing. To be able to plan out the writing details perfectly before writing, for ordinary people, it is only limited to the length of composition in the college entrance examination. But there are few academic papers, nearly ten thousand words, and more n ten thousand words. Dear ones, if you don't have the hobby of writing and diary, this thing may become the longest article you've ever written in your life. You've never operated such a large article before. Admit it, you just don't know how to plan this article. After accepting this fact, please tell yourself frankly that I just don't know how to write a large academic paper. It's normal. It doesn't mean that I'm worse than others, because everyone is the same. I don't want to write because I can write, but I want to learn to write in the process of writing. What we need to do is not to draw the skeleton and fill in the blank, but to write the fragmentary words first, and then to study how to assemble them properly. [linear process? No! Circulation process? YES! 】We are unlikely to use linear processes to complete the paper. Writing a paper is really not a one-stop process that can be completed by "planning, topic selection, data query, data collection, analysis, demonstration and conclusion". If you want to follow the plan, the biggest possibility is that you can't go on at the beginning. We may as well accept that writing a paper is a circular process. The steps mentioned below are all the processes to be repeated in the paper. When one step gets stuck, you can put it temporarily to try another step. A successful paper is bound to go through many cycles of homework, revision and adjustment. [use writing log] from this point of view, we can try to use writing log. Set up a word document to record the daily writing plan and progress according to the date and fixed template. Template: A / what to do today? Write a specific plan (the specific plan is not "I am going to write a literature review or methodology today", but "I am going to write someone's argument on a certain issue in the literature review", "I am going to read a chapter with a specific issue" or "I am going to do stream of consciousness writing on a certain issue, a full length of one and a half hours" and so on) B / when writing is blocked -Describe the problems that stand in the way of you - think about solutions - who can I ask for help with if I need help? Plan now! C / close - what did you write today? -What's new today? Any new knowledge counts. Write it down. (don't underestimate this step. In the long process of writing, if you can keep a record of your small gains and progress, you can maintain confidence when facing distant goals) [make reference materials into matrix ~] sort out the reference materials according to the problems and the author's classification! No matter what is involved in the paper, whether it is a large research topic or a small problem after refinement, it can be sorted out by Excel.

[fast writing / stream of consciousness writing] in fact, stream of consciousness writing that seems to be messy can be our source of inspiration. It's also a way for many writers who write big stories to preserve their inspiration. What's interesting is that the words written by oneself are the result of their own intellectual work on the one hand, and on the other hand, they exist out of themselves, so people can talk with their own writing. You may have read 20 articles about the question you are going to write, but in the face of word documents, there is still a blank in your mind. Don't you know how to talk to the high-ranking authors? Then talk to yourself first! Set a time of 30 minutes, sit down and type, don't use any method, don't use punctuation and segmentation, and directly type out any messy information in your mind in a simple language. How to do it? 1. Make sure that you can use key words to start a sentence: what I want to emphasize in particular is Interest / motivation: I think the most interesting thing is I want to say something about Point out your research subjects: what I study / study is Ask questions: because I want to know which / how / why 2. Write loose words without punctuation and center. 3. Keep writing and don't think about what you have written. 4. Don't go back and read and correct what you have written. 5. Keep writing until you have nothing to write (if you are writing in spelling language such as English, you can try to turn the screen black or off directly.) ok, finish the above five items, and you have a mess of words. In addition to this stream of consciousness writing income, you should also have the short comments accumulated in reading, field research and piecemeal feelings in sorting out data. Don't ignore the fragmented text, which is the source of your future paper, even if it doesn't look good now. [from stream of consciousness to draft] 1. Find a starting point for the next stream of consciousness writing - focus on better ideas and expressions, list them separately, and then write down stream of consciousness - repeat the above steps until you get a usable draft 2. Problem finding statement - summarize the most important information in stream of consciousness writing into a sentence- Take this sentence as a problem statement. 3. Find the key words and divide them into paragraphs. 4. Find the questions you want to ask in the references and your own materials [think about these questions when you are not writing] 1. What is your research problem and how do you express this problem 2. What is the purpose of the research? Why do you ask this question? 3. Research materials and data: what do you rely on to answer research questions? 4. Research tools: what concepts do you want to use? Theory? Analytical framework? 5. Research process: how to ask questions? What needs to be done? It's an essential part of the writing process to be able to talk with familiar people. Try to hold on to one person a week and talk to him about your current writing progress and what you have written for ten minutes. The response you need from Ta after you finish is as follows: - the clearest thing I remember is... -The reason I remember clearly is... -I would like to know more about these aspects.. -I didn't quite understand these parts.. Many studies have proved that multi task is a dream. People don't have the ability of multi task, they only have the ability to switch between different tasks. However, every switch can damage attention and cognitive ability. Knowing this makes it clear that we must focus on our writing. [how to focus? Tomato work, or planting trees? ]

Pomodoro is a method that many people are familiar with to help them focus their attention. Its users are not limited to academic researchers. In fact, anyone who is engaged in mental work and has a high degree of freedom over time will have problems of inattention and procrastination. Because the brain can concentrate on memory for a long time, the "25 minute work and 5 minute rest" mode recommended by the tomato work method is more realistic, of course, everyone can adjust appropriately according to their different concentration. Choose a specific goal. 2. Concentrate on your work for 25 minutes, and put a piece of paper at hand. If there is an idea in the middle of your mind that interferes with your concentration (for example, "ah, I suddenly remember that the email from my tutor hasn't been returned yet"). Or "ah, you have to remember to wait for the supermarket to buy the discounted beef, there will be no late to go"), write down these ideas, and the process of writing down is the process of clearing them out of your mind. Then continue to work. 3. At the end of 25 minutes, write down briefly what you just did. 4. Take a five minute break to complete a tomato work cycle. 5. Check the problems that disturb you in 2. If not, you can enter the next 25 minutes. 6. After every four tomato work cycles, take a 15 to 30 minute break to save many people who can't sit down and write. In fact, no matter it is for postgraduate entrance examination or writing papers, this kind of ritual and operational method can benefit people. The academic writing support center holds two or three tomato writing nights a month, which is to gather students who can't sit down and write. In fact, the collective work is very effective. Many people report that those two hours are the most efficient two hours in the near future. So I suggest you try it with your friends. Now, of course, there is a happier tree planting method, poking here:) [white noise: good assistant of tomato working method] Sometimes we have to work in a place with more noise and interference. Wearing headphones is a common practice. Many people can concentrate when listening to music, but there are also many people like me. Even when listening to piano music without voice, they can be quickly led by the music, let alone the good songs with lyrics that people want to follow. In this way, writing becomes a small KTV in my mind. How can I concentrate. White noise is an effective way. There are many kinds of white noise, such as the rain, the wind blowing leaves, the waves, and even the sound of the electric fan. These monotonous background sound can help you to separate the surrounding sound and interference, and not to have a strong sense of existence, so it can lead your thinking to run. Many insomniacs use white noise to improve palpitation. There are many apps for making this sound. I downloaded rain sounds and make it rain, which can adjust the type and volume of rain sound. If you happen to write a paper in a dry season, put on your headphones and turn on a tomato for a while, and feel the feeling of a long dry and rainy day... [don't look down on suggestive words] it's not enough to express opinions. There must be suggestive words. At the beginning of each chapter, the paragraph clearly says, "this paragraph is about... At the end, we must also have a brief summary. Don't look down on this suggestive text. It not only helps readers follow your ideas, but also helps you make clear what you have written. When you have a lot of paragraphs, you have basically completed the summary of suggestive words. At this time, I suddenly find that the existing sections and structures are in disorder. What should I do? At this time, it is recommended to print out all the text. Use a marker to mark every tip you've summarized. Then spread out dozens of pages on the desktop, or find a wall, and paste all the paper on it. At this time, find the relationship between paragraphs according to the prompt text and key words, and cut and paste the more closely related paragraphs together. This process sounds fancy, but it's very useful. It helps people concretize abstract ideas in their minds. It's healthier to cut.

This process should be repeated several times in the writing of long thesis. Each time, it will achieve certain optimization, which is more coherent, clearer and more organized. These are tips from the teacher. In addition, I have two other experiences, which are not necessarily applicable. They are only for reference. [the best language is the language you are familiar with] when writing a paper, do you always worry about using words that are not cutting-edge, not fast enough, or affect forced case? In fact, the frequent use of vocabulary beyond one's own idiom and understanding ability is the major taboo of academic writing. Don't write words that you haven't understood yet. Just getting dizzy! Some people think that writing extra long sentences can better reflect the level of writing. So there is a phenomenon that a sentence takes up half of a piece of paper in academic papers. We don't advocate that. (spit out a slot: what teachers fear most is that they can't find the subject, predicate and object in this kind of English. A few people with strong command of language can achieve both fluency and clear expression, but for most people, extra long sentences mean confusion of expression. Some people guarantee that they will get away with it. They think that the length of the sentence can wrap people in, even if they have finished the task. Students who think like this, listen to my advice: maybe you have been hurt 10000 points by other authors in the process of reading the literature (Foucault, Butler...) But as an ideal and responsible young man, shall we end this kind of injury on ourselves?! Real warrior, dare to write a readable article! Don't take chances. Don't make a fool of yourself. Try to change the long and confused sentences into simple and coherent ones. Use it as pronoun carefully. When it is flying all over the world, check the subject you refer to, is it clear? There are two entities that can be subject in the preceding sentence. Which one is your it? Unless you can be sure, don't assume that the reader thinks the same as you ("I can see who it is, and the reader can't see it?") To prevent confusion caused by the abuse of pronouns. [contact the scholars related to the thesis] if you are really concerned about this problem of your own research, if you use a lot of research of a certain scholar / your research is built on the dialogue and supplement of TA's research in your writing process, I think you can write an email to talk about your research with TA, or even find an opportunity to meet with TA. Of course, it depends on the other party's willingness. If you really read and understand the discussion of TA, and put forward very specific problems and development ideas in this research field, the other party will usually be friendly out of academic interest. In the same field, TA's feedback is more professional and critical than others, and it is also an incentive for your academic confidence. --------------------------------------------------------------Summary: no matter how many tips you read, you still have to sit down and write to succeed. Generally speaking, the quality of a paper is in direct proportion to the effort you spend. Sit down and write, work hard to revise, and the paper will live up to your efforts! I wish the students can finish the thesis as soon as possible and graduate with honor! -----------------------------------------------My articles related to studying abroad: for example, TOEFL oral writing skills / minefields