AS Checklist for Articles

Here’s a quite helpful checklist for research articles from the Academy of Sociology.

I guess ‘checklist’ is the wrong way to describe it; it’s more like a list of desiderata for good research articles to be considered before starting to write. I mean who’s going to go through 11 pages before submitting an article?

The points are quite helpful, but they are only starting points — follow the links and do your own research on the topics.


The reviewer raises an important point…

It’s common practice to respond to reviewer comments with the phrase “The reviewer raises an important point”, I’ve seen it recommended on many occasions. Today, I had this following gem:

Me (aka reviewer 1): Major point ….

Response: The reviewer raises an important point …

Didn’t I just say so?

Academic writing: the one book you really need

There is no shortage of books on academic writing. If you cannot decide where to start, in my view, you should start with “Write No Matter What” by Joli Jensen. Here’s why:

  • it’s relatively short
  • it summarizes the best advice out there
  • it’s realistic

Like other books on academic writing, it starts by addressing common myths about academic writing. I find it painful to see these myths repeated in my own environment. In Jensen’s book, you’ll learn three taming techniques (creating a project box, using a ventilation file, and writing at least 15 minutes every day). So we’re looking at being organized, being realistic (i.e. having room for frustration, writing blocks, etc.), and that important continuing contact with the writing project.

Compared to other similar books I know, I really liked how “Write No Matter What” does not imply that if only you were more disciplined, you’d get all that writing done. No, instead there is an entire section on maintaining momentum, lost trails, and handling revisions and rejections. Getting stalled? There’s an entire chapter on that.

I didn’t enjoy the chapters on writing support that much, but if you’re looking into setting up a campus-wide (or even faculty-wide) writing support, you’ll get plenty of ideas what may or may not work.

Writing style is explicitly not covered, and I think that’s a good thing. Not that books on good writing were redundant — to the contrary! — but this way we get a focused book that can serve everyone from a first-year PhD student to established faculty.