Chapter 15 The Challenge of Writing Up

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Chapter 15 The Challenge of Writing Up

Zina O’Leary

The Challenge

Because your write-up will be a considerable piece of academic work with major consequences attached to its quality, the writing process can be intimidating. There are, however, practical strategies that can improve the quality of your work and make the task less daunting.

Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Writing as ‘Conversation’

The goal of your write-up is to share your research with others.

Think of your write-up as a communication process or a ‘conversation’ that demands the consideration of your readers. Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Knowing Your Audience

To write effectively you need to know your audience, including: • who they are • what they know • what they are likely to find useful • what their expectations are • and what reactions they may have to your work.

Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

The ‘Standard’ Structure

Your write-up can follow a standard structure that generally includes: 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

introduction literature review methods findings conclusion Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Alternate Structures

Your write-up can also follow an alternate structure that may better suit a particular projects’ aims and objectives. While alternate structures can allow for more creative expression, the standard format gives readers what they tend to expect.

Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Write As You Go

Preparing research accounts and deliverables often involves a relatively unpractised from of writing.

So it’s well worth ‘writing as you go’. In fact writing is now commonly recommended as a practice that should be incorporated throughout the research process. Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Writing as Analysis

Writing itself can be a form of analysis and can be central to the construction and interpretation of meaning.

It can also be instrumental in the development of significant, relevant, logical, and coherent storylines. Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Your ‘Story’

Your research write-up should unfold as an interesting story. As the author of that story you need to: • think of writing as a conversation • become familiar with the craft • find a voice • develop a structure • create a story line • make convincing arguments • get down to the business of writing and rewriting.

Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Writing Purposively

Because each section of your write-up serves a different purpose, the writing required within each section varies. Overall, however, you will need to write purposively and convincingly. Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Seeking Feedback

Incorporation of relevant feedback requires both specific and appropriate requests and a willingness to accept, if not welcome, criticality.

Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Drafting and Redrafting

Moving from first to final draft is a multistage process that sees you working systematically through the development of: • logic and argument • coherence and consistency • fluency and readability • and finally copy editing.

Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

Dissemination

The ultimate goal of any research project is to add to a body of knowledge.

Once your project is complete, it’s worth thinking about broader dissemination, including: • attending conferences • giving presentations • and writing/submitting papers. Zina O’Leary (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage

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