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  • Julie T. Kinn 2:33 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    A Blog Sabbatical… Blobbatical? 

    Dear Readers,

    Thank you for visiting Publish or Perish over the last year. I’ve had a lot of fun writing about publishing, collaboration, and academic leadership. Due to a couple of new projects in my life, I’ll be putting the blog on an indefinite hiatus. However, I’ll keep up the old posts just in case they can be helpful to a lonely Googler.

    If you’re looking for more great advice on publishing and writing for academia, I not-so-humbly suggest our book, Practical Tips for Publishing Scholarly Articles. Of course, Rich Furman’s blog, Write, Publish, Thrive!, is fantastic (as is everything he does).

    Please comment on other great resources you like, and keep on writing!

    Very truly yours,


  • Julie T. Kinn 7:00 pm on December 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person, point of view, POV   

    Point of View in Academic Papers: When to Choose First- or Third-Person 

    Much of academic writing is constrained by our disciplines. We do not get to experiment with creative interpretations of language and style. In fact, we pretty much follow a distinct set of rules, such as the APA Publication Manual, if we ever want to be published. However, we do get a few choices here and there, including first-person or third-person point of view (POV). In general, always check with the author guide on your target journal’s website. Some journals will specifically state which POV to use. If there is no guidance, then review the most recent issue of the journal to see if there is a standard. If the results are mixed, then the choice is yours! Here’s a few tips for choosing wisely.

    Third-Person Point of View

    Third-person POV has a lot going for it. It is the traditional style and comes across as more formal (is sciencier a word yet?). Such formality can be helpful when your topic is “The individuated hobbit: Jung, Tolkien, and the archetypes of Middle-Earth.” Another benefit is that authors can differentiate between team members without giving credit incorrectly. This is useful when some of the authors may not have been involved with all aspects of the project, and a blanket “we” seems inappropriate. For example, one could write, “the research assistants debriefed participants immediately following the interview.”

    A danger of third-person POV is that it’s easier to fall into the trap of passive voice. For example, consider this quote from “Star Wars: A developmental study of expert and novice knowledge structures:

    “A probe procedure determined whether a subject could successively identify a basic action and its related subgoals and high-level goals.”

    Yucky passive voice! A probe procedure isn’t sentient and didn’t determine anything… humans did. Sticking with the third-person POV, the authors should have written the  sentence above as:

    “The authors used a probe procedure to determine whether…”

    Yeah, sounds kind of stilted, but that’s the nature and glory of third-person POV.

    First-Person Point of View

    First-person POV is my personal preference because I believe it is easier to read. Since I often write about suicide and suicide prevention, I like my academic writing to be as warm and personal as possible. In some disciplines, first-person POV is standard to help elucidate the authors’ personal connections to the topic-at-hand. I always get a kick out of disclosures like this:

    “With regard to full disclosure, we acknowledge long histories of working with individuals with tattooing and body piercings (at least six previous studies and more than 25 years of  advanced clinical practice in women’s health care). None of us, however, have tattoos or piercings other than pierced ear lobes.”

    If you are using qualitative analysis, don’t even think about third-person POV!

    Second-Person Point of View

    Really? Do we need to discuss second-person POV? The only acceptable times to use it are:

    • Informal blogs
    • Choose your own adventure books
    • A bizarre combination of the two

    Any other use gets the red pen!

  • Julie T. Kinn 10:10 am on November 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: evernote, head injury, memory, mTBI, pocketmod, writing tools   

    My New Backup Brains, or What I Learned from my Recent Head Injury 

    Gentle Readers, you may have noticed a lag since my last post. About 6 weeks ago I was in a car accident, and I’ve been milking that for a while (trying to get out of changing poopy diapers, etc.). Overall, I was lucky – my air bags deployed and I received only minimal external injuries. It took me a couple of days to take my head injury seriously, which is ironic considering that I oversee a team that makes mobile health applications for things like mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

    My first clue that something upstairs wasn’t working properly should have been my terrible decision making immediately following the accident, plus the fact that I couldn’t remember any phone numbers. The day after the accident, I got lost while driving. Twice. [Yes, I know, I shouldn’t have been driving. I’ll add that to my list of stupid things I did in the week following my accident.]

    The day after that, as I was getting ready for work, I couldn’t figure out which contact lens went in which eye. I only stayed at work for about an hour, during which time I realized I couldn’t really understand my email and I still couldn’t remember my phone number. Finally a coworker had to scold me before it really sunk in: my grey cells were slightly scrambled.

    Things are pretty much back to normal now. I feel like my cognitive functioning has completely returned, and I am grateful. Overall, this experience has taught me two things:

    1) There are a lot of good writing and memory aids out there. While I was struggling at work in the few weeks following the accident, many folks tuned me into helpful memory and work aids. A couple have been especially helpful for my writing, so I wanted to share them with you all.

    Evernote is a mobile app and website with a cloud-based server that can sync your writing, recordings and photos whether you input them from your smartphone (iPhone or android phone), tablet computer (iPad, kindle fire, etc), or online from a desktop or laptop computer. The mobile interface can be a bit confusing, but once you’ve figured out the navigation, it’s pretty terrific. I like that I can record a note to myself while driving, and it annotates it with the time and place. I can then retrieve it from any device/computer later on. Plus, it has a cute logo. If you’re really into Evernote, here’s a cool post from a SuperUser.

    PocketMod. I love, love, love PocketMod. If I wasn’t already hitched, I would try to marry it. Quite the opposite of Evernote, PocketMod is delightfully low-tech. It’s essentially a folded up paper booklet to help you organize your thoughts. You go to the website and select what kind of information you want in the booklet (to-do lists, blank lines for writing, calendars, tip calculator, etc), and then you print it, do some cutting and taping, and Ta Da: A back-up brain to carry with you on your journey. [So — at the time of this post, the PocketMod site seems to be having some difficulty due to its popularity. Here is a shortcut to the app. PocketMod, I am seriously questioning our imaginary engagement!]

    2) It’s hard to ask for help. I feel much more empathy for our service members who receive head injuries. Part of why I didn’t want to take my mTBI seriously is that I didn’t want to look weak by asking for help. At the scene of the accident, paramedics asked if I was okay. They bandaged my cuts, but I said I was otherwise fine. That was my opportunity to let someone help me, and I blew it off. I really can’t imagine how hard it would be to ask for help for a head injury following a vehicle blast while others have visible injuries. I’m more committed than ever to helping reduce stigma related to head injury and other psychological and physiological health issues. To learn more about brain injury and some amazing work to help prevent and treat mTBI, I suggest the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC).

  • Julie T. Kinn 7:48 pm on October 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: idea generation, positive thinking   

    Dream Big: What’s Your Research or Writing Fantasy? 

    If you are a professional academic then you are used to working within the constraints of low budgets and high competition. Our modus operandi is to make magic happen with five bucks, a couple of grad students and a short deadline. It’s kind of like the show “Chopped,” but you have to wait six months to see if your manuscript was undercooked.

    At times it’s helpful to dream big. It not only elevates your mood, but can help generate ideas for subsequent work. After all, you never know when you might earn a MacArthur Fellowship! Here are a few scenarios to get you started:

    1. Imagine it’s three years from now. What would you like to be presenting at your discipline’s annual conference? What are the steps it would take to get there?
    2. Imagine you had unlimited grant funding for your next project. What would you study or produce? Who would you want to collaborate with?
    3. Imagine you had a funded book deal for the topic of your choice. What would you want to write about? What would be in the table of contents?

    These questions also make great nerdy ice breakers (along with “What’s your favorite curse word and why?”). Try it out at your next after-hours work function. After all, we can’t discuss the latest This American Life for the whole night.

    • Jenn 8:20 pm on October 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Helpful questions to consider and helps keep creative thinking alive. As I enter into my grad program, I will tailor these questions to what I am looking to get out of my education. These remind me to look at the bigger picture when I begin to drown in the weeds of coursework.

      • Julie T. Kinn 9:17 pm on October 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the nice comment, and best of luck in grad school!

  • Julie T. Kinn 2:23 pm on September 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: article idea, testing theories   

    Writing Exercise: Question Everything 

    For a few short months I had the pleasure of the most beautiful office of my life, overlooking the Tacoma History Museum. Part of the fun was being next-door-office neighbors with Dr. George Mobus, owner of way too many houseplants and author of an intriguing blog, Question Everything.

    When I’m in need of a brain cell refresh, I do exactly this. I like to consider a known principle and ask myself the following questions:

    1. How do I know this principle is true?
    2. How can I test this principle?
    3. How would my discipline change is this principle was disproven?

    Try it out… what are some principles or guiding theories in your work? An investigation into the evidence behind the principles could be a great paper.

    Transformers... more than meets the eye!

    The danger of a subjective outcome variable

  • Julie T. Kinn 10:38 am on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: curriculum vitae, CV, , resume   

    Listing Publications on Your CV: Where to Put the Iffy Stuff 

    When I was in my first year of graduate school, I published a short article in The Community Psychologist, the newsletter for the American Psychological Association’s community psychology division, the Society for Community Research and Action. I was stoked to see my name in print, and added it to my Curriculum Vitae (CV) under PUBLICATIONS. I then received some terrible advice – another graduate student said it was unethical to list the article on my CV because it was not peer-reviewed.

    Beautiful Publications to Be

    I challenge the assumption that only refereed works are important. Publications that aren’t peer-reviewed can be highly valuable dependent on your career path. For example, articles in your professional society’s magazine or newsletter indicate your active involvement in the broader community. This contribution will be important to document if you hope to hold a leadership position down the road. Works that aren’t peer-reviewed are also great ways for students to get their feet wet and demonstrate an interest in writing.

    However, there is a right way and a wrong way to list publications. Your CV is a first-glance representation of yourself. Make sure there is nothing dishonest (or semi-mostly-sort-of-honest). One odd feature of a CV sticks out like a sore thumb and will force employers to ask, “what else is he or she embellishing?”

    The best policy is to split out by types of publications. I like the categories Karen Kelsky gave on her blog, The Professor is In, in an excellent post about writing a CV:

    • Books
    • Edited Volumes
    • Refereed Journal Articles
    • Book Chapters
    • Conference Proceedings
    • Book Reviews
    • Manuscripts in Submission (give journal title)
    • Manuscripts in Preparation
    • Web-Based Publications
    • Other Publications

    If you are just starting your academic career, you may only have one or two publications of *any* type. Yeah, it may look a little goofy to have whole categories devoted to “Web-Based Publications” or “Professional Blog” with only one item, but employers won’t mind. After all, it looks more honest than the alternative.

    • Anonymous 8:19 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Good advice. I was struggling with how to organize my various publications. Thanks for the insight. 🙂

  • Julie T. Kinn 5:58 pm on September 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agenda, leadership, meetings   

    How to Run an Effective Meeting Without Being a Total Twerp 

    This week’s post is a departure from my usual snarky writing and publishing guidance. This time it’s snarky leadership guidance. In particular, I’d like to share tips on running a successful meeting.

    Given the amount of time I spend in meetings, I like to see them well-run. I’m lucky that the culture in my organization supports efficient use of time… one benefit to working for the military. However, prior to my current work, I attended my share of ill-managed meetings. The ones that really make me want to put a stick in my eye are those in which the leader spends 15 minutes vainly speaking about Dancing with the Stars while the underlings politely wait and try to look interested. Even worse are meetings in a series in which the leader covers the same ground each week without progressing.

    In both of the above situations, the leaders aren’t trying to be tools. In the first, the leader probably thinks that sharing personal information about something trivial helps the team feel more connected. However, wasting time of team members, especially the time of those who you supervise, is disrespectful. It communicates that your time is more valuable, even if you are spending your time discussing TV. Bear in mind that supervisees rarely complain (except behind your back).

    In the latter situation, the leader probably just doesn’t know how to transition from talk into action. It is also possible that he or she is nervous about pulling rank and directing the team. However, when we waste folks’ time in a regularly occurring meeting, they grow frustrated. Those who can choose whether or not to participate will stop showing up, and those who have no choice will spend the time doodling and whispering under their breath, “Please let this end. Please let this end…”

    Another reason to improve leadership skills is that you are a mentor to others. Even if you’re still in grad school, the students a year behind are learning from watching you. You help set the culture and standards for your organization.

    So let’s say you are leading a series of meetings about a new study. Here are my tips for success:

    1. Start on time. Unless there is a very important person who is needed before you can begin, start about 1 or 2 minutes after the set meeting time. If folks are still chit-chatting, politely redirect them with a statement such as, “in the interest of time, we’re going to get started now.” if folks show up late, don’t embarrass or scold them, but you also don’t need to stop what you’re doing to review everything that has already happened. They’ll come on time for the next meeting.

    2. Use an agenda. You don’t need to use roman numerals, etc. However, a written list of what you hope to accomplish does three things for you. It keeps you organized so you don’t forget anything, it communicates that you care enough about the mission the meeting to put thought into it, and it prevents folks from spending too much time on one topic.

    3. State the purpose of the meeting. Essentially, this is where you look over the agenda as a group and then ask, “anything I’m missing here? Does anyone want to add anything?” This is much better than a free-flowing stream of consciousness meeting, because those are often derailed by the loudest or longest-winded. Asking for agenda items allows the quiet folks a chance to make their voices heard. The key is to make sure you *do* get to those added items.

    4. Review the progress of the last meeting. If you take minutes, go ahead and review them here. This will help keep everyone on track, especially any participants who weren’t at the previous meeting. It’s also helpful for clearing up any confusion. Sometimes we walk away from a meeting with a different understanding than others.

    Why Agendas Rule

    Why Agendas Rule

    5. Discuss progress on due-outs. If Trina stated she was going to consult with the IRB, now is the time to ask how that went. Hold team members accountable.

    6. Move on to the new business. Yay! The fun part! As the group discusses each agenda item, find an action for each. Perhaps it’s “Mike will email everyone the article he mentioned.” If you don’t come to a resolution and no new ideas are coming up, stop the conversation by saying, “let’s all chew on this one for the week and keep it on the agenda for next time.”

    7. Review the action items. Make sure you are correctly documenting who is doing what. This is also a good time to make sure that work is distributed fairly.

    8. Thank everyone.

    9. Stand up, but don’t go anywhere. If you are not in a rush, I suggest you wait around after a meeting to allow the introverts to approach you. Some of our best thinkers don’t feel comfortable speaking up in a group setting and would prefer to speak with you one-on-one.

    10. Email minutes or a recap. I know this one might feel weird, and perhaps will get you teased for being OCD. However, I take that risk. Send out an email that lists what you discussed, the action items (who is responsible for what), and the next meeting time. Be brief but clear. This shows your commitment to the effort, reduces chances for misunderstanding, and also provides you a nice jumping off point for building the next week’s agenda. Also, it’s a good move to cc your supervisor.

    I hope this has been helpful! Let me know if you like this kind of post, and I’ll try to sprinkle them in here and there. I’ll send out the minutes shortly.

    P.S. Happy nuptials Mike and Trina! –JTK

  • Julie T. Kinn 4:34 pm on August 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Happy birthday blog: Revisiting the first post, “Start Your Own Writing Group” 

    In celebration of this blog’s one-year anniversary, I’m reposting the first item. Oh, how young we all were!


    Want some nerdy fun that can help advance your career? Start your own writing group! You have several options, including:

    • A group of random writers from a variety of disciplines. Check out Meetup to see if there are already any groups meeting regularly in a cafe near you. These are fun if your goal is to meet new folks or work on your personal goal setting. However, you may not get a lot of useful feedback on your paper about neural network architecture.
    • A group of peers at work. Good times if you actually like your co-workers (yes, I fall into that category). You can either start a formal group (invite everyone) or informal (just ask around and let it grow organically). The danger in a formal group is that if you are in a leadership position, your invitation can come off more like an expectation. No one likes feeling voluntold.
    • A virtual writing group. There’s no reason you need a group in vivo. There are scads of ways to meet online using a FaceBook page, google docs, virtual teleconferencing or even Second Life. This is especially useful if you are one of a handful of folks studying your particular fascinating fungus. If there seems to be a lot of response to this blog, maybe we can set up something in this forum.

    Okay, so you and a bunch of like-minded others have pens, paper and lattes. What’s next? Again, you’ve got some choices:

    • A real feedback group. Group members provide drafts and get constructive feedback. Not just “this is great!”. Good when you don’t have other sources of feedback.
    • A fake feedback group. Group members share drafts and are told “this is great!”. Pretty annoying if you are expecting constructive feedback, but everyone needs unconditional love once in a while.
    • A goal-setting group. This is my personal fave. Hold regularly-scheduled brief meetings (30 minute tops) to go around the group and state progress on goals and set new ones.

    Any other formats I’ve neglected? What works for you?

  • Julie T. Kinn 4:42 pm on August 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: project conceptualization   

    Kissy-Smoochy Research Advice 

    For the last three posts, I focused on how to complete projects you hate (accepting the hate, strategies for motivation, and strategies for survival). Today I’m switching gears to discuss projects we love. Here’s a quick question for you: What’s your favorite current writing or research project?

    If you answered right away, I hope it was an internal response because people will start worrying about you if you talk to yourself. Also, if you answered right away that’s great news; it means you have at least one fulfilling and intrinsically motivating project. Today’s post is aimed at those of you who are still struggling to identify a favorite project.

    First, let’s develop some insight into why you’re not excited about any of your work. Take a couple of minutes to sit back and reflect on the kinds of work you do, and why none of it is floating your boat.

    My guess is that most of you will answer that you just don’t have time to add on any additional projects right now, and that the ones you are working are higher priority than anything fun. I disagree on both counts. First, finding time (even 30 minutes a week) to work on a fulfilling project will help keep you fresh and happier when you are working on the rest of your piles of dung. Second, taking on an extra project that you enjoy and find satisfying will help you continue to grow professionally. Think of it as a long-term investment in your career. Maybe it’s not something your supervisor is demanding this instant, but it will likely come in handy later.

    Here are steps for finding that next great project.

    1. Make a list of projects or tasks that you really enjoyed… the ones that you got carried away with, and time just flew by. For me, I love reading new articles, so a lot of my recent favorite projects involve searching through databases for obscure papers (see graphic). I also love data analysis, so I’ll write that down. Hopefully jotting down this list will start to get your blood flowing. Just like in couples’ therapy… one of the first questions we like to ask is, “How did you fall in love?”
    2. Spend 10 minutes to brainstorm ideas. These can be based on your answers to step one, or maybe completely novel. What do you want to share with the world?
    3. Schedule 30 minutes to write an outline or a task list for one of the ideas. You don’t need to spend an entire day. Just start with 30 minutes. Think of it as a first date. Repeat.

    Let me know if this process works for you, or what else you’d add. Now go enjoy the honeymoon period!

  • Julie T. Kinn 5:23 pm on August 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bribery, legos, , punishment   

    Dealing with the Project you Hate Part III: Bribery and Punishment 

    Hello Darlings! This week’s post is the last installment of Dealing with the Project you Hate. In prior weeks I blogged about owning your hate and coping with it. This week I’m bringing out the big guns: Bribery and Punishment.

    I sometimes joke that bribery and punishment are my favorite parenting techniques. For example, “please stop pretending you are shooting your sister with your sandwich and I’ll tell you a silly joke. If you don’t, dinner’s over for you.” As adults, we don’t normally need to resort to bribery and punishment in order to finish work. When we’re lucky we are intrinsically motivated to finish projects.  At other times we have excellent extrinsic motivators: paychecks, CVs that need building, tenure review. Bribery and punishment are the big guns I call out when my id is in control and my superego is out to lunch.

    For example, I recently had an annoying errand to run. I had been avoiding this stupid errand to the point that I was waking up in the morning feeling guilty about it. Not good. To force myself to complete the task, I set up a bribery and punishment scenario. I first made a list of potential rewards (Table 1). Then I emailed my best friend and asked him to call me later in the day to see if I had completed my errand. For me, knowing there is a fancy coffee waiting for me at the end of the rainbow will pretty much get me to do anything. Add in the fear of disappointing my bff, and consider the task done. Table 1.

    Take a few moments to list out potential rewards that motivate you. Maybe petting kittens at the pet shelter? A chapter in a trashy book? Perusing the Lego aisle at the toy store? Easy peasy. Now pick a small concrete task that needs doing on your hated project. Not the whole project, mind you… just one concrete goal. Just make sure you actually follow through with the reward. None of this “well, the work wasn’t really that good, so…” No. You did the concrete task, now go look at Legos. Repeat.

    Now let’s talk about punishment. First, let me say that punishment isn’t really that great a choice. It doesn’t help you become a more motivated worker in the long run, and should really only be used in dire circumstances. Also, we humans aren’t really good at doling out punishment to ourselves (back to the id). I can tell myself that if I don’t finish my task I’m not going to read my trashy book. But will I really follow through? Hell no. What do you think I was doing when I should have been doing the task? Here is a nice, easy, concrete way to dole out punishment in those dire circumstances (e.g., grad students who are about to run out of time to finish theses and dissertations):

    1. Go to the bank and get $20 in ones.
    2. Put $1 in an envelope with the address of a charity of your choice.
    3. For every day that you don’t complete your concrete goal, increase your donation (i.e., $1 on Monday plus $2 more on Tuesday, etc.). If you run out of one-dollar bills, go back for more.
    4. If you really want to get evil, make it a charity that you dislike such as a different political party.

    In closing, I want to emphasize that success on stalled-out projects really just comes back to setting small concrete goals. Hope these last few posts have helped kick-start your motivation. Just a warning…. Next week is going to be super mushy lovey dovey.

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