Day 17: How have the material conditions of your life changed as a result of studying your subject?

Welcome to ScholarShape’s Academic Writing Month! I’m sharing a new writing reflection question each day all month, in short videos on this blog. For background on this exercise and a full listing of all videos posted so far, check out this page. To turn on subtitles: On a computer, hover at the bottom of the video window to make the row of icons appear; click on the “settings” icon (which looks like a cog), and select “Subtitles.” On a phone, the “subtitles” icon is in the bottom right corner of the screen. To invite friends: Anyone can join this exercise at any point in the 30 days by signing up at the bottom of this page!

DAY 17 CONTENT SUMMARY:

  • This one is short and sweet: How have the material conditions of your life changed — hopefully for the better — as a result of studying your subject? This could be anything about your environment, resources, or physical experience of life that is different than it would have been if you had never studied your subject.

Posted on November 16, 2018 .

Day 16: What’s a key definition in your project, and how does this definition function in your argument?

Welcome to ScholarShape’s Academic Writing Month! I’m sharing a new writing reflection question each day all month, in short videos on this blog. For background on this exercise and a full listing of all videos posted so far, check out this page. To turn on subtitles: On a computer, hover at the bottom of the video window to make the row of icons appear; click on the “settings” icon (which looks like a cog), and select “Subtitles.” On a phone, the “subtitles” icon is in the bottom right corner of the screen. To invite friends: Anyone can join this exercise at any point in the 30 days by signing up at the bottom of this page!

DAY 16 CONTENT SUMMARY:

  • Think about one of the key terms or constructs in your study. How are you defining it, and how does this definition function within your argument? This question isn’t as simple as it may seem: definitions can be slippery, yet they are often foundational building blocks in our arguments, in the sense that we have to establish what we are even talking about before we can build analyses, evaluations, and other more sophisticated levels of argumentation. So, it’s important to be deliberate in how we define things and how we deploy our definitions.

  • Getting really clear on how we are defining a key term in our project may indicate that more space needs to be carved out in the manuscript to make the definition explicit, since the working definition you have in your head may not be identical to the ones readers are bringing to your book. This exercise may also yield insight about how the argument as a whole needs to be framed.

  • Not only are definitions important building blocks in any argument; but also, the act of developing definitions can be an important part of the intellectual work that happens in the creation of an argument. This reflection question is an opportunity to get clear on one of the important definitions in your project and consider the implications of that definition for your argument development or revision.

Posted on November 15, 2018 .

Day 15: How are you scaffolding your manuscript?

Welcome to ScholarShape’s Academic Writing Month! I’m sharing a new writing reflection question each day all month, in short videos on this blog. For background on this exercise and a full listing of all videos posted so far, check out this page. To turn on subtitles: On a computer, hover at the bottom of the video window to make the row of icons appear; click on the “settings” icon (which looks like a cog), and select “Subtitles.” On a phone, the “subtitles” icon is in the bottom right corner of the screen. To invite friends: Anyone can join this exercise at any point in the 30 days by signing up at the bottom of this page!

DAY 15 CONTENT SUMMARY:

  • Like structure, scaffolding exists on multiple levels (macro, meso, micro) because it is those parts of your text where you make the argument structure explicit to the reader.

  • There are two types of scaffolding: labels, e.g. titles and headings, and meta-discourse, e.g. introductions, transitions, and conclusions. The intro-body-conclusion structure, with corresponding scaffolding, is seen across all levels of the argument, from the macro argument, to the meso sections, to the individual micro arguments of each paragraph — though we have to be careful in applying this principle lest our writing become bloated with unnecessary explications of relationships.

  • This question of scaffolding is a big one that we could think about every time we sit down to write, so choose an approach to this question that makes the most sense given where you are in your project at this moment. See what insights it yields about how to structure your argument and how to communicate that structure to readers.

Posted on November 14, 2018 .

Day 14: How does one of your identity categories inform what you're studying or how you're studying it?

Welcome to ScholarShape’s Academic Writing Month! I’m sharing a new writing reflection question each day all month, in short videos on this blog. For background on this exercise and a full listing of all videos posted so far, check out this page. To turn on subtitles: On a computer, hover at the bottom of the video window to make the row of icons appear; click on the “settings” icon (which looks like a cog), and select “Subtitles.” On a phone, the “subtitles” icon is in the bottom right corner of the screen. To invite friends: Anyone can join this exercise at any point in the 30 days by signing up at the bottom of this page!

DAY 14 CONTENT SUMMARY:

  • Think about the identity categories that help explain who you are. These may include categories of class, race, ethnicity, and gender, as well as less “studied” categories like your Myers-Briggs type or zodiac sign. Choose just one of your identity categories to focus on in this reflection; this can be any category you identify with that helps explain some aspect of who you are.

  • Reflect on how this aspect of your identity informs your work in some way, whether the subject you’ve chosen to study, the way you study it, or both. This reflection adds another dimension to our reflection from a few days ago, when we considered what is totally unique about our perspective on our subject.

  • Research is always conducted by human beings, and there is no such thing as a default human. So, by definition, researchers always have a perspective. Being aware of our positionality is essential to our integrity as researchers.

Posted on November 14, 2018 .