Updates from September, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Julie T. Kinn 5:00 pm on September 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: feasability study, pilot study,   

    Publishing Crap vs. Flushing it and Moving On 

    “Crap” is not a technical term. Let’s say hypothetically that you have completed a sub-par paper, literature review or study. Given the fast OPTEMPO of academia, we don’t have time to spare on dead-end projects (especially with a new season of Top Chef starting). Often, we feel the push to get started on the next project right away. However, before you decide to flush your paper, consider a few options for publishing it anyway.

    1) Verify that the work actually sucks. No offense, but we academic-types tend to be extremely critical of ourselves and our work. It’s possible that your paper isn’t quite as bad as you think it is. If you are absolutely unable to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes, go to a trusted peer and ask him or her to tell you the truth.

    2) Write a process paper. Let others learn from your experience. Do a quick lit review for “lessons learned,” and you’ll find many valuable articles. If your work can tell a story to help others and advance the literature, then it’s important enough to publish.

    3) Reframe your work as a feasibility study or pilot. Clearly acknowledge the limitations, but emphasize the wins (however small they may be). Did you discover a good way to measure your outcome variable? Did you determine a better strategy for analysis? Write about those lessons and call out for someone to replicate bigger and better (and then do it yourself and cite your pilot in the lit review).

    4) Use the work in a different context. Consider alternative audiences and media. Perhaps you could cut it down to a short piece for your trade publication. Your professional organization likely has several non-refereed publications with short turn-around time. Although not equivalent to peer-reviewed journals, they often have high readership (and you can still list them on your CV).

    There are a couple conditions in which, yes, you should go ahead and shelve that pile of doo-doo.

    1) Your work is misleading or wrong. Perhaps you had a dreaded Type I error . Maybe you discovered a mistake in the data (did you remember to reverse-code those negatively valenced items?).

    2) Your work is outdated. Some disciplines are fast-moving, and you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the literature. If you tested the efficacy of a drug that is no longer used, your study is probably not going to be published.

    There, there… don’t fret! Think of all the valuable lessons you’ve learned from this beautiful growing experience! Now get back out there and come up with another topic.

    • Edward J. 9:23 pm on September 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      But, what if the paper (my dissertation) is over four years old? Is that too outdated?

      • Julie T. Kinn 9:35 am on September 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hey there, Edward!

        It depends on your topic. If your dissertation compared AZT to Treatment as Usual for HIV infection, then you are probably too late to do much with it. However, most disciplines don’t move too fast. Tell us a bit more about your work… maybe the readers want to chime in. I bet there’s some chunks in there you could repurpose.


    • Anonymous 9:16 pm on September 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Amen, sister!!!

      • Julie T. Kinn 9:35 am on September 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Anom!


  • Julie T. Kinn 1:00 am on September 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: collaboration, intellectual property, scooped   

    Sharing Ideas Promotes Productivity 

    Getting scooped stinks. With the quick flow in information in our high tech era, many of us protect our intellectual property as vigorously as we protect our children (after all, my writing never calls me “poopy head”). However, I believe there is a danger in limiting idea sharing.

    There is an additive property in putting heads together. Working together creates that wonderful dynamic conversation: “Ooh… another thing to look into is…” and “It’s possible you could tie it into….”

    These conversations are invigorating, and motivate me to get pen on paper. Also, it’s a good way to build collaboration. Bring a peer on to your paper, and he or she will return the favor. Everybody wins!

    The danger in writing like a lone wolf is that it ultimately can limit your productivity. More importantly, though, it limits the reach of the literature and progress in our disciplines. I love this effort to promote collaboration among cancer researchers. Come on writers, let’s play nice 🙂

    After all, even if two writers start with the same general idea, it’s nearly impossible that they would end up writing the same article.

    Any good or bad experiences you’d like to share when you’ve shared ideas?

  • Julie T. Kinn 4:11 am on September 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: academics, , , publishing   

    Publication Goals: How much to publish 

    I’m a big believer in setting specific goals to help accomplish objectives.  The literature is pretty consistent: setting measurable goals helps us finish what we start.

    There’s no set rule for appropriate publication goals for academics.  Most research universities expect tenure-track junior faculty to average about two or three peer-reviewed articles a year.  Of course, there’s lots of wiggle room.  First-authored pubs count more than others.  Top-tiered journals count more than the Journal of Some Guy’s Basement.

    I’ve set my goal as three peer-reviewed articles yearly.  Since I’m not working for a University, I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to publish as much as I like.  In truth, I’m pretty happy to publish in the Journal of Some Other Guy’s Basement.  I just want to make sure that I do have a publication record in case I want to go into academia some day.

    What is your publication goal? How did you set it, and have you achieved what you sought?


    • Anonymous 3:29 pm on September 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t really have a publication goal… I just try to publish whatever I’ve been working on most recently. Maybe something to think about. Probably 1 or 2 a year would be good since I’m not at a research institution. Also, I have a heavy teaching load, so my supes cut me some slack.

    • Anonymous 11:48 am on September 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’m lucky if I publish anything at all!

    • Anonymous 10:07 am on September 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I have been fortunate to publish along side some great researchers in the field of psychology. I do not have a PhD and still feel conflicted about going “all the way” but I do love the opportunity to create a paper–well, to be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with the process, but I am rooted in a deep curiosity and thirst for knowledge so, the article is a product of that journey. Do you have any tips for collaborating on papers? It seems that when the ideas are following, folks that come together to write an article are excited, however, the process in actually creating the paper is so different for everyone involved that it can make for difficult situations. What are your thoughts?

  • Julie T. Kinn 1:00 am on September 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: daily writing, Journaling, productivity, routine   

    Daily Journal: Creative Boost or Brain Drain? 

    Lots of folks recommend writing daily in a journal or other non-work-related form to get the juices flowing.  Here’s a whole blog about famous writers’ daily routines.  For a while I maintained a daily humor blog  (List of Sucky Things) and had a great time for the first couple of months. But, soon I felt like all my creativity was going just into the blog.  When I had spare time, I only thought about new posts instead of other writing.

    I believe that journaling daily works for some because it uses ritual to promote discipline. I see the advantage of daily writing for those of you working from home. Scheduling a time to sit and write is one of those nice concrete goals we psychologists always emphasize.

    But let’s be honest about how we spend our time. I know I’m not the only one out there with a household of young mammals who require constant attention and a full-time job on the side. If I have 10 extra minutes in my day, the first five minutes will be spent cleaning up poop (and the last five hopefully with FaceBook and a glass of wine).

    Not every method works for every writer. Try out a few techniques and see what works best for you. If you find that spending a few minutes on purely creative writing prompts you to then write academically, clearly a daily journal is a good fit. For me, I know I can easily get wrapped up in something extra-curricular (especially if it’s a shiny and new), so I am most productive when I force myself to just sit down and get to work. No delays allowed.

    What works for you? How do you get yourself writing? Hoping to hear from some of your successful daily journal folks 🙂

    • Fiona 12:56 pm on September 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve tried journaling before (actually have bought way too many) but can never seem to keep it up.

      • Julie T. Kinn 9:39 am on September 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hola Fiona,

        Your comment really speaks to the fact that some strategies work for some people and not for others. The key is try out different approaches and develop your own toolbox of beneficial strategies.

        Gosh — this reply sounds very CBT!

        Thanks for the reply!

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