Since a view weeks I’m working on my first research article. As this is new for me, I would like to share some of my own experiences on this weblog. This blog is about using reference software, learning to write an academic article and peer reviewing.
Two years ago I used Work to write my research proposal. For referencing I used the basic functionalities in Word. I wasn’t quite happy with this tool, but had no real alternative. Recently at the HAN University Refworks was introduced. In september I attended a workshop on using this new tool and wrote a blog (in dutch) about it. I participated in a pilotgroup for Refworks and a month ago I started working with Refworks for real. More information about working with this tool is found at the studycentre site. You can use Refworks to register your references. With some help of my colleague Maarten Hekman, I found easy ways to search for articles from online research databases (see list of databases on ‘digital sources’) and import them directly into Refworks. The administration of your references is made very easy and reliable. Next to the easy import of references, you can also add your own search terms and share references with others working together in shared folders or shared accounts. And it’s also possible to cite literature in a Word-document and automatically create a bibliography in the style you want (e.g. APA). To cite literature in Word you need ‘Write-N-Cite’ to be installed on your computer (ask the ICT-helpdesk for this).
The articles that I plan to write are part of my Phd. Apart from writing a good article, it also has to be published in an international journal. Therefore the article must be written in academic english.To get acquainted with the special rules of academic engagement, I decided to participate in a special course to learn how to write a scientific article that can be published in an international journal. I chose the course on Scientific Writing in English in Utrecht. Some of the things I learned in the course: Structuring a scientific article, Arguing convincingly – avoiding logical fallacies, Academic tone and style and Avoiding plagiarism. I think the course was beneficial. Especially the suggestion of reading good essays to find nice phrases to improve your writing provided me with some new insights.
Writing a scientific article is all about writing, rewriting, structuring, deleting and restructuring. Most of the time you are working solitary and have to be critical on your own writing. In this process peer review can be very helpfull. In the writing course, peer review was part of the program. In the fourth week my paper was discussed by my peers adn I received feedback on parts of my text from both the other participants and the trainer. The focus of the peer review was on the introduction. The discussion with the other participants gave me a lot of input, as they are no experts on area of research and therefore raise different matters. Next to the course there are more people that I would like to read and comment on my article. In the following months I will wisely chose my peers and hope to learn at lot.