Part 3: Clarifying Your Purpose and Preparing to Draft

Introduction to Part 3

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Part 3 explores some of the topics that can be precursors to writing and engaging in productive dialogue with potential co-authors, editors, reviewers, and readers. These topics include motivations for writing; independent writing versus collaborative writing with colleagues and students; choosing an outlet; selecting a title; and preparing the abstract.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is your motivation for writing?
  2. What kind of approach or structure—following guiding questions or exploring through the writing itself—works best for you as a writing process?
  3. Which genre are you preparing to write for and how might that influence your writing?

Chapter 6: Reflecting on Motivations

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Chapter 6 explores the nature of motivations. It details how to make required writing joyful and fulfilling, how writing for yourself can clarify questions about learning and teaching, how to find inspiration to contribute to evolving and new conversations about learning and teaching, and how to let dialogue with colleagues increase and help direct your motivation.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does your motivation relate to your identity or identities as a learning and teaching scholar?
  2. If you are writing about learning and teaching only because it is required or expected by your department or institution, how can you make such required activity joyful and fulfilling?
  3. What kind of writing is best suited to clarify your own questions about learning and teaching?
  4. How might you inspire yourself to contribute insights, approaches, challenges, and recommendations to any given evolving discussion or new dialogue about learning and teaching?
  5. In what ways might dialogue with colleagues increase and help direct your motivation?

Chapter 7: Writing Alone or with Others

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Chapter 7 first explores the benefits and drawbacks of writing alone then touches on the potential role of writing groups, the nature of collaborative writing, the advantages and challenges of writing in partnership, and ethical authorship.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you prefer writing alone or in partnership? What do you see as the benefits and challenges of each?
  2. If you are new to writing, do you have someone you think you could work with in collaboration?
  3. How can you best promote a culture of ethical authorship?
  4. How might you go about joining a writing group or setting one up with colleagues? How might this benefit you?

Related Book Resources


Chapter 8: Choosing an Outlet

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Chapter 8 explores multiple considerations in choosing an outlet, including identifying the audience and the conversation you are joining or trying to create; publishing within and reaching beyond discipline-specific learning and teaching journals; publishing in “high-prestige,” open access, and institutional outlets; writing a book chapter; identifying when to select an outlet; and understanding the focus and the research norms of the outlet.

Discussion Questions

  1. Will the outlet put you into dialogue with the intended audience (general higher education/discipline/region)?
  2. Does publishing in “top journals” in your field matter for your career progression?
  3. Are you in a hurry to get the work published?
  4. Have you considered developing a publication plan that reaches varied audiences with different forms of scholarship?
  5. Do you have the opportunity to submit a chapter to an edited collection? If so, is this a more suitable outlet for you than submitting to a refereed journal?

Chapter 9: Selecting a Title

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Chapter 9 considers the work the title has to do. It discusses the form of your title and the way your title communicates with your audience.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the first impression your title gives?
  2. How have you balanced being catchy (maybe before the colon) with being informative (maybe after the colon)?
  3. Does it include terms readers will likely search?
  4. How have critical friends responded to the title?

Chapter 10: Preparing the Abstract

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Chapter 10 discusses the function of abstracts. It outlines what the abstract should contain, when you should write it, and how to structure it. The chapter also examines the role the abstract can play in planning the structure and argument of the piece of writing.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the key points from your writing that need to be included in your abstract?
  2. How are you going to structure your abstract?
  3. Will you start your writing by drafting the abstract, or will you leave it until you have finished?
  4. When you go over your abstract from a searcher’s perspective, can you identify what search terms your target audience might be using?

Related Book Resources

  • Planning Tool for Drafting Your Abstract: [PDF] [DOCX]