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How to be a Hackademic #42 by Charlotte Frost & Jesse Stommel
Image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiddleoak/ under this licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en_GB
How to be a hackademic pictureHybrid Pedagogy’s Jesse Stommel and our very own Charlotte Frost rethink academic life and writing productivity in this on-going series of hints, tips and hacks.
READ. Good writing practices usually start with good reading practices. You need to read not just to be more informed about your subject, but about your process. Notice not just what other people say, but how they say it. If there is a book, article or writer you return to again and again, start to think about why that is. How do they shape their ideas for others to understand and work with? Can you read and use a book just for its style? Read your own work over and over too. 1. Sense read it. Stop looking for typos and focus on whether the argument makes sense. Or, perhaps, read only for style, structure, or pace. Too often, we get so caught up in the micro-details that we fail to see the obvious. 2. Proof read it. There are always mistackes you won’t notice yourself which will be glaringly obvious to others. Don’t let them slip through. When in doubt (read: always), get help with this step. Plus, while your proofing-pal looks it over you’ll be getting some valuable distance from the piece. 3. Read it aloud. Reading your writing aloud will be one of the best ways to spot problems. (This can work even better if you can find someone to read to.) As soon as you vocalise your sentences and ideas, you’ll hear what doesn’t work. 4. Alien read it. Even just printing your work out and reading it on paper can help you spot stuff you hadn’t noticed. But you might like to try printing it in a different font or sending it to an e-reading device like a Kindle. This will trick your mind into seeing it afresh and you’ll be surprised what issues sneaked passed you in 12pt Ariel!
Want more tips on Hackademic? Click here!

Weekly Wisdom #83 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew

EDITING YOUR OWN MATERIAL. As you write your dissertation or a paper it is natural to make changes and major revisions. You are, in effect, editing your own material. That’s good and bad. It is good because you add intellectual capital, you clarify, and you consider the knowledge (or lack thereof) of your readers.  It is bad if, like most of us, you become infatuated with the sound of your own words.  It is difficult, if not impossible; to change language or ideas you labored over long and hard. Just like job application letters, have at least one (preferably more) people read what you wrote and suggest improvements. If a word, a paragraph, or a section is unclear to them it is likely to be unclear to others. Better to receive critiques and suggested improvements from your peers than from referees or decision makers.