29 June 2016

Writing a Good Journal Article

I gave an invited talk today at the University of Sheffield.  The topic is important to me, but the topic had never been the subject of one my talks before.  I was asked to talk about writing a good journal article.  Sure it's something I've learned to do over the years, and it's something I've counselled students on during my time at Lynchburg College.  I've written a couple dozen research articles in my life, including a long review article, and I've written a book for the general public.  But how to describe writing in a talk?  That was definitely out of my comfort zone!

Like any challenge I face, I embraced the task before me and thought about how I could describe good journal writing in a 50-minute talk.  Writing for me is so discombobulated at times.  I jump right in, write a few paragraphs in what will eventually be the middle of the paper, and then I do something else.  The main struggle in preparing today's talk was how to present something nonlinear in a linear way.  Whether I succeeded or not is up to the audience.

The audience, by the way, was great!  I got lots of though-provoking questions.  At least half the audience spoke English as a second language.  I admire those people because not only are they bilingual, something I wish I could join my wife in being, they are making wonderful strides to improve their English and publish the exciting research work they do.  It has to be daunting to express thoughts and ideas in ways one is not accustomed to doing.

My colleague, Zing, was gracious enough to snap a couple of photos of me while I was giving my talk.  The one below shows me just getting going (click on the image for a larger view).
I wish I had a better way to hold my reading glasses, but the top of my head is what works for me!  It was fun giving a talk on a new topic, one I'd not thought of as a talk topic before I was asked to make it a talk topic.

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