Academic writing workshop

8 - 12 July 2019  Tshwane University of Technology Pretoria West Campus

R7500 per person, excluding accommodation and travel

More information:   +27825585311

Click HERE to reserve your seat.  Registrations close 0n 1July.

Is there a piece of writing you need to finish?
Is there a piece of writing that you are struggling to start?
Join Prof Johannes Cronje and a few other academics like yourself for a week of undisturbed, guided writing in the shadow of Table Mountain.


Each day will start at 08:00 with a half-hour discussion of the relevant topic below, and continue until 19:00 with a break for small group reflection and progress discussion from 16:00 to 17:00.
To provide for an uninterrupted flow of work there will be  no formal tea or lunch breaks, but refreshments will be available throughout the day.  Prof Cronje will be available for discussions and advice as needed.

 Day Activity
Outline of an academic paper
Common pitfalls preventing you from getting published
Some tricks to get you published more quickly
Common language errors
How to use your technology:  Styles, Referencing software, etc.
How to structure a paragraph. Readability statistics
Target:  Complete introduction - peer reviewed and proofread
 2Literature review
How to structure a piece of writing using a branching tree diagram
The purpose of the literature review
The structure of the literature review
The purpose of a theoretical framework
Target: Complete literature survey, peer reviewed and proofread
 3Research methods
How to present research methods
The body
How to structure the findings for interesting reading
The similarity between an article and a high school theorem: Prove that a radius bisecting a cord does so at right angles
Target: Complete research methods and first stab at body
 4The body
How to ensure you keep the attention of the reader
How to ensure that you maintain relevance to the journal
Target: Body done by lunch time.
Conclusions and recommendations
The review
Journal review checklists
Reasons for rejection
How to deal with reviewer comments
 5 Finalise and upload



How to conceptualise your research in a four-sentence summary. Check out this suggestion by Amanda Wolf of a Four Sentence Research Proposal.  Such a proposal makes a good introductory setting.  Now write your own:
  1. Narrative hook
  2. Puzzle or curiosity
  3. Researchable opportunity
  4. Purpose / significance
Now that you have the concept you need to structure your writing accordingly. Here is an example of the outline of an academic paper.

Here is Wikihow's structure of an introduction for a research paper.
If you are writing an article for publication, you want to avoid what Tanya Maria Golash-Boza's Get a life, PhD blog calls "Rookie mistakes".
Here is a "Guide to writing your research paper" by Ashley Leeds of Rice University.
Here are some workshop notes.

Chris Kapp's four parts of an introduction

The late Prof Chris Kapp developed this four part formula for an introduction. The first two parts correspond roughly with Amanda Wolf's "Narrative hook". The third, "Disruption" talks to the Wolf's "Puzzle or curiosity", while her "Researchable opportunity" and "Purpose / Significance" map onto the "Resolution".

Opening Moves
This is the hook to get your reader interested. You could use a general statement that would be a "catch all", you could use an anecdote or describe an event - people love a good story. You could use statistics, quotations or provocative facts.

Common ground
Here you present the context in a way that will resonate with the reader. Show why this research is relevant and significant. Describe the current status of the problem. Discuss previous studies and show their benefits, but specifically also their limitations and omissions. Explain where your research fits into the current body of literature.

Now it is your turn. Explain what does not work. (On the other hand...). Show gaps, inconsistencies or misunderstandings in previous research. Finally show the cost of leaving the matter unresolved, or the benefit of the solution.

Present YOUR response to the problem What is the purpose of your research and how will it differ from others. Indicate your research methods, clarify concepts and give an indication of what is to follow.

Here is Arkansas State University's example of an introductory paragraph.

Here are some academic writing checklists from:

Literature review

The purpose of the literature survey is not to impress us with how much you have read. Its purpose is to show why your research was unique and necessary. A good literature survey would describe the current state of the field, identify gaps or errors, add new perspectives and present the basis of your argument.
There are two main "metaphors" that you could use for your literature survey, the debate and the foil. 
    You could present the reader with one point of view, and contrast that with another point of view, and then point out that your research will either side with one of them, or produce a third position, which could be a synthesis of theirs, or could be an entirely new position all together.
    Alternatively you could use the literature as a foil, or a sword to "cut down" all the current positions already taken.  You would present an argument by a certain author, and then show why it is not the ultimate solution. Maybe the sample size is too small. Perhaps it is a quantitative study whereas you need the depth of a qualitative study or vice versa. Maybe it was done too long ago, or, maybe it was so good that it needs to be replicated.

Research methods

The purpose of the research methods section is to establish the credibility of your results and to enable replication.
The pattern is:  I did this, because I wanted to achieve the following, as is suggested by this author. 

Grammar and style

Most of your article will be in the past tense. The literature survey is in the present tense, but Don't be tense about tense.
Delete all your commas. Then go back and put them only where they belong.
Take a break and watch some comics for grammar nerds.

Revision and Review

Here are the guidelines for reviewers used by Taylor and Francis.

Advice from Tanya Maria Golash-Boza's Get a life, PhD blog on How to Respond to a “Revise and Resubmit” from an Academic Journal: Ten Steps to a Successful Revision


Here is the answer to the question about submitting to more than one conference.