Course code SDP406

SDP406 Academic Writing and publishing

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2019 - 2020 .

Course responsible: Timothy Kevin Richardson
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Maximum 14
Teaching exam periods:
In 2020, the course days will be a four day block from 10th-13th February and a follow up day on 16th March.
Course frequency: Annually in January block or spring semester
First time: Study year 2018-2019
Preferential right:
PhD candidates enrolled at the Department of Landscape and Society.
Course contents:

Intended audience:

This PhD course is primarily aimed at candidates who intend to publish their work in peer-reviewed academic journals or write a monograph PhD. It may also be open to other academic staff if there is space. 

Course description:

With a point of departure in a current paper writing project, the course examines the most challenging aspects of scholarly writing and publishing. The personal and contextual aspects of becoming an academic writer are considered, and effective writing practices are introduced. Some basic principles for critical reading and self-critical writing are introduced. The course then uses exercises, presentations, and critical feedback to focus closely on texts, both at the document level and the text level. Processes of academic publishing are introduced, and academics will present and discuss their experiences of submitting papers to journals within the peer-review system. One month later, a follow up day provides an opportunity for reflection and feedback on further drafts of the papers.

Learning outcome:
To increase participants` understanding of what scholarly writing is all about, and of how they can become more effective academic writers. To increase participants´ knowledge of academic publishing.
Learning activities:
The course follows an interactive workshop format, with lectures, full group and small group discussions and exercises, working with a partner, self study, and an individual tutorial.
Teaching support:
Teacher-led seminars. Workshop based supervision and feedback from teachers and fellow students. Individual tutorials will take place between the two course blocks. 

The course reading has been selected to raise quite different issues about good writing practices, about adopting a self-critical approach, about editing, and about writing with style.  In each case one or two chapters have been selected from a book. All of them are quite short and well written, so they may not take as long to read as you think. Hopefully, you will be inspired to read further!

Becker, H.S. (2007) Writing for social scientists: how to start and finish your thesis, book or article, 2nd edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Read Chapter 4, "Editing by ear").

Goodson, P. (2013) Becoming an academic writer: 50 exercises for paced, productive and powerful writing, London: Sage. (Read chapter 2).

Schimel, J. (2012) Writing science: how to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded. Oxford University Press. (chapters 1 and 2).

Sword, H. (2012) Stylish academic writing, London: Harvard University Press. (Read chapters 1 and 2).

Wallace, M., and Wray, A. (2006) Critical reading and writing for postgraduates, London: Sage. (Read Chapter 1).

Enrolled as PhD candidate
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
70 % attendance in the course days, including participation in individual and group exercises, giving feedback to others and analysing one's own text.

The course will be assessed based on the following: active participation during the course; progress on the student's own paper; and the completion of a reflective writing diary.

Submission date for course assessment: 3rd April 2020. 

Nominal workload:

Five full days of workshops including lectures, seminars, discussions (33 hrs). One tutorial (2 hours). In addition, 115 hrs of preparation, reading and independent work.

Indicative programme:

Requirements before the course:

1. Participants must submit a draft of a paper (or draft book chapter) they would like to work on during the course period. The draft should be accompanied by an abstract, and a short statement about the stage the writing has reached, together with details of the name and website for the target journal. The draft paper must be submitted by email to the course leader, Tim Richardson, one week before the course. It is emphasised that this text can be at any stage of preparation, from earliest drafts to those in the editorial process with academic journals. We will focus on the texts in different ways during the course, analysing, giving feedback, and carrying out exercises to improve them.

Note on language: It is preferred that an English language text is submitted, but if this is not possible then a text in Norwegian can be used as the basis for the course activities.  Please contact the course leader, Tim Richardson, if you wish to do this.

2. Preparatory reading: Participants should read all the abstracts submitted for the course. Some background reading is also required, as identified in the course reading list.

3. Participants will be allocated papers to analyse and give feedback to fellow participants, as critical friends.

Main course block

Day 1

Introduction: ourselves as writers

Barriers to writing and good writing practices

Principles of critical reading and self-critical writing

Writing strategies

Day 2

Analysing texts

Giving feedback as critical friends

Writing with style

Day 3

Editing text

Preparing papers for submission

Day 4

What do the editors expect? How do reviewers review?

The peer-reviewed system

Experiences of submitting papers to academic journals

Course reflections

Follow up work

After the first course block, participants are expected to carry out further work developing their paper, and will complete a writing diary during this period, to encourage reflection on their writing experience.

Redrafted papers and writing diaries are submitted before the final session.

Follow up course block: Day 5

Feedback session, to review progress on the papers and discuss reflections on academic writing. 

Entrance requirements:
Participants must be part of a PhD programme
Reduction of credits:
Complete overlap with ILP406
Type of course:
The external censor will read and assess all submitted course materials.
Examination details: Continuous exam: Passed / Failed