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Academic Writing Conference in Israel

Tel Aviv. Source: Legal Writing Professors Blog

Tel Aviv. Source: Legal Writing Professors Blog

I found the following advertisement from the Legal Writing Professors Blog: „Israel’s first international conference on academic writing, Academic Writing and Beyond in Multicultural Societies, takes place from July 28 to 29, 2010, organized by The Israel Forum for Academic Writing (IFAW) and the Institute of Research, Curriculum and Program Development for Teacher Education (known by its Hebrew acronym, MOFET). Professors Deborah Holdstein (Columbia College, Chicago and editor of CCC), Chris Anson (North Carolina State University, former president of Council of Writing Program Administrators), and Otto Kruse (Director of ZHAW Center for Professional Writing at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, School of Applied Linguistics and Board Member of the European Association of Teachers of Academic Writing) have so far agreed to be plenary speakers for the two-day conference, which will be held in Tel Aviv. The organizers intend to create a dynamic and interesting conference that will engage in critical dialogue about what it means to teach academic writing in  multicultural and multi-lingual societies, and what will best serve students in such societies when they graduate from their studies. There are plans to tour Tel Aviv and Jerusalem before and after the conference, to publish the proceedings, and to provide ample opportunity for attendees to hear and participate in engaged dialogue with thoughtful people“.

I did present the following abstract with the aim to attend, because the topic of this Conference is again related to my research activities:

Abstract

From Dissertation to Publication

Language of Presentation: English

Type of Presentation: A paper demonstrating difference in method  

The Issues to be Explored:

1. What are the aims of and differences between dissertations and scientific publications?

2. The consequent methodological differences of a dissertation and a scientific article.

3. Differences and similarities between scientific articles.

3.1. General elements of a scientific article.

3.2. The scope of a scientific article.

3.3. Technicalities of a scientific article.

3.4. How to give one’s own assessment to one’s scientific article?

Substance:

In order to give practical value to a research, the research results must be published. In addition to inform, the aim of publication is to get assessment and feedback on the work. The pre-conditions for that are that the research results must be published clearly and understandably. Built up like a chain, a research consists of different elements, from which elements, in order to assess, the reader of a research-based publication should find answers at least to the questions, „How has the research been conducted?“, „Why (has the research been conducted) that way?“, „How have the preceding research results been used and interpreted?“, and „What are the new research results?“

The aim of the paper is to discuss how to write about one’s dissertation – Which of the research elements (the choice of the heading, the problems, the sources, the research strategies and methods, the analysis and interpretation, the results) should be transformed into a scientific article, and how?

As the scope of specialization, target groups, style and reference requirements of different publishers differ, and one can find different types of articles, such as theoretical articles, review-articles, research reports, etc., it is very complicated to precisely answer the posed question. There still are certain less dependent variables that could successfully be discussed, such as relevancy, credibility and verifiability of the text, research-ethics, linguistic-technical requirements, etc. From those, the paper most concentrates on the relevancy aspect that in the context of this paper means knowledge, based on preceding research. Although a mainstream in social sciences is to connect one’s research with the leading theories surrounding the topic, the author of this paper would suggest to interpret the word „theory“ significantly as „preceding research“. Because by reliance on the preceding research results, the author of a research inter alia first demonstrates that s/he is acquainted with the research area, included the mainstreams, secondly that her/his research is verifiable and reliable, as having a verifiable basis.

On other hand – all this is not that simple – the previous research may contain gaps; people are subjective, thus they cannot know what the objective truth is; even the fundamentals may err – nevertheless, the check of those elements is the task of the main underlying research, while a scientific article cannot reflect upon all those aspects, but instead of doing parallel research and writing that is characteristic to a scientific research, the task of a scientific article is to describe /present the research results. Which means that all the underlying research materials and data do not belong to publication, but are simply archived, whereas a scientific article should aim at selection and concentration on the most essential, for example, giving only a concentrated overview of the research methods used. In order to enable wider discussion, scientific articles are frequently published in foreign languages – a skill, the possession of which should not be underestimated during the study process.

In the end, the paper brings a generalization of the elements the peer-review scientific journals are looking at, and suggests how can one her-/himself critically review her/his article”.

This abstract has inter alia most recently been influenced by the book: Sirkka Hirsijärvi, Pirkko Remes, Paula Sajavaara, Tutki ja kirjoita (Helsinki, 2004), that was in 2005 published in Estonian, the added value by my abstract to the researched by me relevant sources is, as said in the abstract, that although a mainstream in social sciences is to connect one’s research with the leading theories surrounding the topic, this paper would suggest to interpret the word „theory“ as „the preceding research“, or “the preceding research results”. Why? – Because by reliance on the preceding research results, the author of a research inter alia first demonstrates that s/he is acquainted with the research area, included the mainstreams, secondly that her/his research is verifiable and reliable, as having a verifiable basis.

One thing of many that I like in Hirsijärvi, Remes, Sajavaara is that (p. 247 in the Estonian translation): good writing skills do not help the research, which otherwise contains gaps.



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