Tag Archives: style guides

What book is that?

By Dr Linda Glassop

@lindaglassop, @comwriter


“…we rarely teach students about the underlying principles of referencing.”

I recently had a student ask me to explain the difference between an authored book and an edited book. This is not a question you expect to hear, but it is a reasonable question for a student to ask. The problem is, there is no forum within which students can actually ask this question!

The reason for the question is related to referencing. The reference for an edited book is very different to an authored book; but first, you need to know what type of book you have. The same goes for many other resource types (e.g., articles). The key problem is that we rarely teach students about the underlying principles of referencing, expecting that they can pick up a Style Guide and miraculously know how to apply it.

Referencing fundamentals

As a consequence, we devised a course ‘Fundamentals of Referencing‘ that, in Part A, explores five resource types: Articles, Books, Journal Material, Internet Material and Notes or Notebooks. For each resource type, we examine a range of issues. For books, we take a look at:

  • What ‘book’ is that?
  • Parts of a book (e.g., front matter, body, back matter)
  • Elements of a book (e.g., contents, acknowledgments, glossary, references)
  • Contributors to books (e.g., editors, authors)
  • Descriptors for books (e.g., titles, short titles, series titles)
  • Identifiers for books (e.g., year published, publisher, and other key publication data)
  • Recording the source (i.e., hard copy, online or database)
  • Keeping notes (e.g., abstract, summary, legal notes)
  • Finding books
  • Top tips for referencing books
  • Examples of referencing books
  • Tools for storing book references

Students can find out all the intricate details about managing reference data for: Articles, Books, Journal Material, Internet Material and Notes or Notebooks, before they launch into applying a Style Guide. Our course is self-paced, and provides a range of interactive elements to keep it interesting. Also, students can self-test after each section to ensure they are retaining the knowledge.

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Filed under Academic referencing, Improve your writing, Teaching innovations

Academic writing

Academic writing is good writing practice, but it is often misunderstood. The process is not sequential, but organic, and generally involves:

  • searching for relevant literature; today via library databases
  • designing research projects, especially, identifying the methodological approach; e.g., observation, capturing data, interviewing, examining specimens
  • conducting research activities
  • collaborating with peers (students, academics, industry peers) and supervisors
  • examining research findings
  • organising literature, methodology, and research findings to present a discussion of the research (in a thesis or paper)
  • as a student: submitting work for examination
  • as a research student: publishing work at conferences or in the press (e.g., journal articles), and submitting the thesis for examination
  • as an academic: publishing work at conferences or in the press (e.g., journal articles)

Academic writing is difficult, and made more so because of the disparate, fragmented tools and old technology supporting the writing pipeline. The technology that supports the academic writing process is disparate, fragmented, and is, generally speaking, left to the independent researcher to organize. Thus, a significant amount of a researchers time is spent organising data and findings rather than actually researching and presenting their findings.ComWriter is the only writing platform designed for academic work. It will send the archaic concept of ‘word processor‘ straight to the trash where it belongs. ComWriter includes: an on-line library, fully-featured referencing capabilities, a personal resources database, modern writing tools, collaboration in the cloudtask management, smart lists and pre-defined style guides. Writing to academic standards has never been so efficient and easy. Students, academics and business people will finally be able to work smarter with ComWriter. We have more than 25 Universities on three continents already signed up for beta testing.

Website: www.comwriter.com

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Filed under ComWriter features