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Writing for Impact. UNSW Oct 7 2014. Geoff Hyde writeaboutresearch.com

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Geoffrey Hyde

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Transcript of Writing for Impact. UNSW Oct 7 2014. Geoff Hyde writeaboutresearch.com

Do private prisons in the USA satisfy the humanity and parsimony principles?
Yes, adding a Type C flux capacitor to a prototype increased bandwidth to 1150mHz.
How can the writing up of research lead to the research itself
having more impact?

Impact factor:1
Impact factor: 6
Geoff Hyde
writeaboutresearch.com

& the UNSW
Postgraduate Council

Impact
Research phase
Writing phase
Impact
Research phase
Writing phase
Research phase
Writing phase
Impact
Impact
Impact
Impact
The research is not the only driver of impact
The papers 'significance' (if its claims are true)
How do editors and reviewers
judge potential impact?
Its credibility
The coherence of the communication
Its usefulness
to researchers, esp. the journal audience
to the world
Optimising significance, credibility, coherence
As you make your work seem more significant
you risk losing credibility,
and as you try to fix that problem,
you need greater skill to maintain coherence.
What can you do in the writing phase
to maximise impact,
without unduly reducing
credibility or coherence?

Its novelty
Research phase
6 months
Writing
1 month
Impact
Writing itself is not the most critical task
English language proficiency can be overrated

'Although there're some arguments, plants domestication (e.g. barnyard grass and bottle gourd) was suggested to have occurred in Japan at least by the Middle Jomon Period.'
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021509

Research phase
6 months
Writing
1 month
Impact
Writing: ideal for communicating content, but not for organising it
Reading
Planning
Discussing
4 months
Your supervisor can help
If the draft of paper:
reports a significant finding
is logically coherent ...
...your supervisors will be motivated to help with any English issues by:
their own editing.
hiring of a professional editor (for grammar, spelling, etc.)

3. How does a research blueprint
help you write papers with higher impact?

Planning the paper first:
frees up your brain to write better
leads to a more consistent style
reduces the total writing time

2. How do you make a research blueprint?

1. What is a research blueprint?

1. What is a research blueprint?

2. How do you make a research blueprint?


'GRAND' QUESTION


MAIN QUESTION


MINOR QUESTION


Can we further our understanding in mathematical field X?


Within field X, can we prove theorem T?

Can we prove sub-theorem A?

Proving theorem T furthers our understanding since (1) theorem T is central to field X and (2) theorem A will help with unproven theorems in other fields.
Having proven sub-theorems A, B and C, theorem T must be true.
Yes, via valid sub-steps, sub-theorem C can be proven.
Can we prove sub-theorem B?

Yes, via valid sub-steps, sub-theorem B can be proven.
etc.
Can a voltage-feedback operational amplifier with much greater bandwidth be commercially produced?
Can a prototype of a voltage-feedback operational amplifier be built with much greater bandwidth?

Does mathematical modeling indicate... etc.?
Yes, it is likely that the prototype built here can be manufactured economically.

Yes, adding a flux capacitor increased the voltage-feedback operational amplifier's greatly.

Yes, modeling indicated ... etc.

Does adding a Type C flux capacitor to a prototype increase bandwidth to at least 1000mHz?
Is the distribution of wild primate species consistent across the Western Ghats region of India?
Do Silent Valley NP and Talakaveri Sanctuary have the same ratio of Bonnet to Lion-tailed Macaques?
What is the ratio of Bonnet to Lion-tailed Macaques in Silent Valley NP?
No, the relative abundance of at least two of the 7 primate species varies greatly from area to area.
No these two protected areas have different ratios of these two species.
Based on estimated numbers of the two species in these areas, the ratio is 3.7 : 1.
How might we manage the decline of the Picobar Tree Frog (PTF)?

Is the decline due to increased predation (Rat Snakes) and/or reduced prey (Lady Beetles)?
Do captive Rat Snakes eat PTFs?

We might mitigate the decline of the Picobar Tree Frog by:
1. Killing Rat Snakes etc, etc
It seems more complex: Lady Beetles could provide frogs with a toxin that deters predators.
In experiment 1 Rat Snakes did not eat PTFs.
etc.
Do captive PTFs strongly prefer Lady Beetles in diet?
No the captive frogs moderately preferred Lady Beetles.
Do private prisons in the USA meet the standards expected in a liberal democratic state?
Do private prisons satisfy the humanity principle?

No, the government has neither introduced nor enforced the necessary regulations.
No, compliance is poor, perhaps because of the profit-making incentive and weak regulations.
Overall, private, prisons do not appear to satisfy the humanity principle.
GRAND QUESTION

ORIGINAL MAIN QUESTION

MINOR QUESTION 1
GRAND ANSWER

ORIGINAL MAIN ANSWER

MINOR ANSWER 1
MINOR QUESTION 2
MINOR ANSWER 2
REVISED MAIN QUESTION

MINOR QUESTION 3
MINOR ANSWER 3
REVISED MAIN ANSWER

'UMBRELLA' MAIN QUESTION

'UMBRELLA' MAIN ANSWER


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR ANSWER


MINOR ANSWER


MAIN ANSWER


'GRAND' ANSWER

2. How do we make a research blueprint?

Essays: typically a direct, assertive approach
MAIN ANSWER
MAIN QUESTION
'GRAND' QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
'GRAND' ANSWER
RECAP OF PAPER
INTRODUCTION
BODY
CONCLUSION
MINOR QUESTIONS
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR ANSWER
focus
MAIN QUESTION
'GRAND' QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
'GRAND' ANSWER
BEGINNING
MIDDLE
END
MINOR QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR ANSWER
focus
MAIN ANSWER
MINOR QUESTION
MINOR QUESTION
focus
3. How does a research blueprint
help you write papers with higher impact?

1.The blueprint can be translated into too many paper patterns to cover here, but what you now know will let you analyse the patterns of writing in your field.
- where the various Q/As are located
- common logical weak links you must address
2. We will now see that it can help you understand some common misconceptions:
- that papers can be written like essays
- all types of papers can be written like stories

What can we do in the writing phase
to maximise impact,without unduly reducing credibility or coherence?

The elements of a research blueprint and how they relate to significance and coherence
Reviewer
Editor
No-one?
justify
cross-coherence
justify
Blueprint for project that had unexpected answer
Credibility: Weakest link analysis of maths example
Almost certain to get COHERENCE AND SIGNIFICANCE RIGHT with basic RBP> lets focus just on CREDIBILITY
Weakest link analysis of engineering example
Weakest link analysis of descriptive example
etc.
What is the number of Bonnet
Macaques in Silent Valley NP?
There are about 1200 Bonnet Macaques in Silent Valley NP.
Weakest link analysis of explanatory example
Weakest link analysis of law review example
A system that naturally encourages:

a. thinking about all levels of information, including
those that determine
significance
.

b. logical
coherence
throughout the paper

and that:

c. makes it simpler for you to highlight areas
where
credibility
might be low.


MAIN QUESTION


MAIN ANSWER


'GRAND' QUESTION


'GRAND' ANSWER


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR ANSWER


MINOR ANSWER

Start with answers, focus on the MAIN
PRIOR
EVIDENCE PRO
PRIOR
EVIDENCE CON
PRIOR
EVIDENCE PRO
PRIOR
EVIDENCE PRO
PRIOR
EVIDENCE CON
Rationale
argument mapping software

MAIN QUESTION


MAIN ANSWER


'GRAND' QUESTION


'GRAND' ANSWER


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR ANSWER


MINOR ANSWER

Work back to questions, focus on the MAIN
a. Start with the MAIN ANSWER, supporting it with your evidence (and others', as needed), and scale up to 'grand'.

b. Work back to questions, make sure you bridge
the MAIN QUESTION back to its answer.



Some general insights
Online poll results: two versions of an Intro
Early focus on
main answer:
good for sheltered environment, but assumes a lot, often too assertive for 'outside'.
The story: a gentler, question-focused start
Essay
style
Version 1. This article explores the way in which images of the United States featured in the 1930s Shanghai women’s magazine 'Linglong' and argues that the imagined America reflected a significant point of reorientation in ideas about how to be simultaneously modern and Chinese.
MAIN QUESTION
'GRAND' QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR QUESTION
MINOR QUESTION
'GRAND' ANSWER
RECAP OF PAPER
INTRODUCTION
Some papers don't 'end', or they do so simply
Q.E.D.
The more 'logical' the field,
the greater the emphasis
on a question-focused Introduction,
compared to any
Discussion or Conclusion.
3. How does a research blueprint
help you write papers with higher impact?

a. It helps you analyse how papers in high impact journals of your field are structured.

b. It prepares you for an unfamiliar form of academic writing, with enormous emphasis on a question-focused Introduction.



a. Make a blueprint before writing: naturally boosts
coherence and credibility, and draws in significant points.

b. Other strategies
- Present a seminar before you write
- Ask journal about possible interest
- 'game' the system: keywords, titles, etc.

etc.
Start with answers, focus on the MAIN
CAUSALITY
post-research
5 months
Do private prisons in the USA satisfy the humanity and parsimony principles?
Yes, adding a Type C flux capacitor to a prototype increased bandwidth to 1150mHz.
How can the writing up of research lead to the research itself
having more impact?
Impact factor:1
Impact factor: 6
Geoff Hyde
writeaboutresearch.com

& the UNSW
Postgraduate Council
Impact
Research phase
Writing phase
Impact
Impact
Research phase
Writing phase
Impact
Research phase
Writing phase
Impact
Impact
The research is not the only driver of impact
The papers 'significance' (if its claims are true)
How do editors and reviewers
judge potential impact?
Its credibility
The coherence of the communication
Its usefulness
to researchers, esp. the journal audience
to the world
Optimising significance, credibility, coherence
As you make your work seem more significant
you risk losing credibility,
and as you try to fix that problem,
you need greater skill to maintain coherence.
What can you do in the writing phase
to maximise impact,
without unduly reducing
credibility or coherence?
Its novelty
Research phase
6 months
Writing
1 month
Impact
Writing itself is not the most critical task
English language proficiency can be overrated

'Although there're some arguments, plants domestication (e.g. barnyard grass and bottle gourd) was suggested to have occurred in Japan at least by the Middle Jomon Period.'
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021509

Research phase
6 months
Writing
1 month
Impact
Writing: ideal for communicating content, but not for organising it
Reading
Planning
Discussing
4 months
Your supervisor can help
If the draft of paper:
reports a significant finding
is logically coherent ...
...your supervisors will be motivated to help with any English issues by:
their own editing.
hiring of a professional editor (for grammar, spelling, etc.)

3. How does a research blueprint
help you write papers with higher impact?

Planning the paper first:
frees up your brain to write better
leads to a more consistent style
reduces the total writing time

2. How do you make a research blueprint?

1. What is a research blueprint?

1. What is a research blueprint?

2. How do you make a research blueprint?


MAIN QUESTION


Can we further our understanding in mathematical field X?


Within field X, can we prove theorem T?

Can we prove sub-theorem A?

Proving theorem T furthers our understanding since (1) theorem T is central to field X and (2) theorem A will help with unproven theorems in other fields.
Having proven sub-theorems A, B and C, theorem T must be true.
Yes, via valid sub-steps, sub-theorem C can be proven.
Can we prove sub-theorem B?

Yes, via valid sub-steps, sub-theorem B can be proven.
etc.
Can a voltage-feedback operational amplifier with much greater bandwidth be commercially produced?
Can a prototype of a voltage-feedback operational amplifier be built with much greater bandwidth?

Does mathematical modeling indicate... etc.?
Yes, it is likely that the prototype built here can be manufactured economically.

Yes, adding a flux capacitor increased the voltage-feedback operational amplifier's greatly.

Yes, modeling indicated ... etc.

Does adding a Type C flux capacitor to a prototype increase bandwidth to at least 1000mHz?
Is the distribution of wild primate species consistent across the Western Ghats region of India?
Do Silent Valley NP and Talakaveri Sanctuary have the same ratio of Bonnet to Lion-tailed Macaques?
What is the ratio of Bonnet to Lion-tailed Macaques in Silent Valley NP?
No, the relative abundance of at least two of the 7 primate species varies greatly from area to area.
No these two protected areas have different ratios of these two species.
Based on estimated numbers of the two species in these areas, the ratio is 3.7 : 1.
How might we manage the decline of the Picobar Tree Frog (PTF)?

Is the decline due to increased predation (Rat Snakes) and/or reduced prey (Lady Beetles)?
Do captive Rat Snakes eat PTFs?

We might mitigate the decline of the Picobar Tree Frog by:
1. Killing Rat Snakes etc, etc
It seems more complex: Lady Beetles could provide frogs with a toxin that deters predators.
In experiment 1 Rat Snakes did not eat PTFs.
etc.
Do captive PTFs strongly prefer Lady Beetles in diet?
No the captive frogs moderately preferred Lady Beetles.
Do private prisons in the USA meet the standards expected in a liberal democratic state?
Do private prisons satisfy the humanity principle?

No, the government has neither introduced nor enforced the necessary regulations.
No, compliance is poor, perhaps because of the profit-making incentive and weak regulations.
Overall, private, prisons do not appear to satisfy the humanity principle.
GRAND QUESTION

ORIGINAL MAIN QUESTION

MINOR QUESTION 1
GRAND ANSWER

ORIGINAL MAIN ANSWER

MINOR ANSWER 1
MINOR QUESTION 2
MINOR ANSWER 2
MINOR QUESTION 3
MINOR ANSWER 3
REVISED MAIN ANSWER

REVISED MAIN QUESTION

'UMBRELLA' MAIN ANSWER

'UMBRELLA' MAIN QUESTION


MAIN ANSWER

2. How do we make a research blueprint?

Essays: typically a direct, assertive approach
MAIN ANSWER
MAIN QUESTION
'GRAND' QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
'GRAND' ANSWER
RECAP OF PAPER
INTRODUCTION
BODY
CONCLUSION
MINOR QUESTIONS
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR ANSWER
focus
MAIN QUESTION
'GRAND' QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
'GRAND' ANSWER
BEGINNING
MIDDLE
END
MINOR QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR ANSWER
focus
MAIN ANSWER
MINOR QUESTION
MINOR QUESTION
focus
3. How does a research blueprint
help you write papers with higher impact?

1. What you now know will help you analyse the patterns of writing in your field.
2. You will now be able to understand some common misconceptions:

- papers can be written like essays
- all types of papers can be written like stories

What can we do in the writing phase
to maximise impact,without unduly reducing credibility or coherence?
The elements of a research blueprint and how they relate to significance and coherence
Reviewer
Editor
No-one?
cross-coherence
justify
justify

'GRAND' QUESTION


'GRAND' ANSWER


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR ANSWER


MINOR ANSWER

Blueprint for project that had unexpected answer
Credibility: Weakest link analysis of maths example
Almost certain to get COHERENCE AND SIGNIFICANCE RIGHT with basic RBP> lets focus just on CREDIBILITY
Weakest link analysis of engineering example
Weakest link analysis of descriptive example
etc.
What is the number of Bonnet
Macaques in Silent Valley NP?
There are about 1200 Bonnet Macaques in Silent Valley NP.
Weakest link analysis of explanatory example
Weakest link analysis of law review example
A system that naturally encourages:

a. thinking about all levels of information, including
those that determine significance.
b. logical coherence throughout the paper
and that:

c. makes it simpler for you to highlight areas
where credibility might be low.

MAIN QUESTION


MAIN ANSWER


'GRAND' QUESTION


'GRAND' ANSWER


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR ANSWER


MINOR ANSWER

Start with answers, focus on the MAIN
PRIOR
EVIDENCE PRO
PRIOR
EVIDENCE CON
PRIOR
EVIDENCE PRO
PRIOR
EVIDENCE PRO
PRIOR
EVIDENCE CON
Rationale
argument mapping software

MAIN QUESTION


MAIN ANSWER


'GRAND' QUESTION


'GRAND' ANSWER


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR QUESTION


MINOR ANSWER


MINOR ANSWER

Work back to questions, focus on the MAIN
a. Start with the MAIN ANSWER, supporting it with your evidence (and others', as needed), and scale up to 'grand'.

b. Work back to questions, make sure you bridge
the MAIN QUESTION back to its answer.



Some general insights
Online poll results: two versions of an Intro
Early focus on
main answer:
good for sheltered environment, but assumes a lot, often too assertive for 'outside'.
The story: a gentler, question-focused start
Essay
style
1. This article explores the way in which images of the United States featured in the 1930s Shanghai women’s magazine 'Linglong' and argues that the imagined America reflected a significant point of reorientation in ideas about how to be simultaneously modern and Chinese.
MAIN QUESTION
'GRAND' QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR QUESTION
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR ANSWER
MINOR QUESTION
MINOR QUESTION
'GRAND' ANSWER
RECAP OF PAPER
INTRODUCTION
Some papers don't 'end', or they do so simply
Q.E.D.
The more 'logical' the field,
the greater the emphasis
on a question-focused Introduction,
compared to any
Discussion or Conclusion.
3. How does a research blueprint
help you write papers with higher impact?
a. It helps you analyse how papers in high impact journals of your field are structured.

b. It prepares you for an unfamiliar form of academic writing, with enormous emphasis on a question-focused Introduction.



a. Making a blueprint before writing naturally boosts coherence and credibility and draws in significant points.
b. Other strategies
- Present a seminar before you write
- Ask journal about possible interest
- 'game' the system: keywords, titles, etc.
etc.
Start with answers, focus on the MAIN
CAUSALITY
post-research
5 months
From the same research, publication outcome can be different
Normal expectation
What can happen
To be avoided!
Note: but unlike a building blueprint, it does not tell us the exact layout of the paper. Its focus is the
logical backbone
, which can be translated in many different ways.

Therefore: the story model is good for some situations
but not for all.
When one starts a project one starts with questions, but our research can yield information that bears upon different questions. You can reframe your questions, but the methodology used in your research activities must be suited to the new questions.

In any case, you can usually at least fine-tune the phrasing of your Main/Minor questions, their sequence, and relationship to the Grand Question

Can I always create the questions last?
Full transcript