Writing my first journal article. Where do I start?

January 19, 2017

Encouraged by my supervisors, Dr.Gemma Webster, Dr. Colin Smith and Prof. Hazel Hall;  I decided to write a short paper for DIS2017 and an a 1000 words abstract for  i3. Inspired by first hectic-article-submission-experience, I decided to publish my 'Get your submission done' manifesto' . Enjoy.

 

 

This is something I hadn't done before, so my initial reaction was simply a mixture of excitement ( yay, I can do it!) and anxiety ( what am I doing exactly?). Yes, I had loads of questions and not too much time to search for some answers. As you can imagine, many things didn't go according to plan. In this blog post, I'm discussing this exciting learning 'PhD adventure'. Find out more in my 'Get your submissions done ' manifesto below.

 

 

 

1. Researching (and visualising) the conference

 

I spent some time researching my chosen conferences. I had a chance to look some of the key themes and submissions from lat years. However, due to a avery tight deadline, I didn't really get a chance to get it know well. For instance, I didn't have enough time tracing the links from the conferences, such as social media tweets and accounts. I'm sure that this would have given me a better understanding of the conference's flavour and vibe. Also, spending more time learning about the key people in charge and reviewers would be useful. Although I briefly covered most of these things, I feel like I didn't do it mindfully. Apart from a quick online search, I didn't  managed to create my vision of the event.

 

This 'visualistion' technique - as hippy as it sounds - is something I used to do quite frequently. Particularly, when applying for jobs. I would normally spend some time researching the place, people in charge and their previous experience. Sometimes, I would even go onto the google map street view, to see my possible work area. I'm aware this sounds super silly, but most of the time it really provided me with a flavour of my possible working environment.

 

There is something special about having time just to imagine stuff. If you haven't done it in the past, I would strongly recommend it.

 

The visualization technique really helps me when trying to retain large amount of information. For instance, I would often use Pintrest to collect and 'pin' my ideas. From now on, I'll be doing it when applying to conferences.

 

 

 

2. Collecting and organising my data

 

Over the last seven months, apart from my literature review, I have also been able to facilitate occasional digital storytelling projects. Most of these provided me with some very interesting data, which I collected in various ways - participatory workshops, games, surveys etc. I always felt that I might be able to use the collected information, somehow and somewhere.

 

I recently needed some of my data for an article on the Digital Adultism. The data was gathered during my workshop in Warsaw and I had quite a lot information in a visual format + some notes. While writing my text, I realised how important it is to organise my data more efficiently.

 

I realised that my article's structure, provides me with a clear outline of what information I need to gather. Essentially, by learning how to structure a journal article, I was able to reflect on my data collection processes. For example, I realised that my article's outline could actually provide me with a workshop structure (this is not say that all workshops will go according to plan). Anyway, here are some of the questions I will be considering before collecting my data next time:

 

 

 

3.Journal's format/layout. Getting it right.

 

When starting my article, I mainly focused on the content. In fact, I was so concerned with my words, methodologies and literature review, that I completely ignored the document format required by these conferences. I knew there were going to be some requirements, but I simply assumed it would take me about an hour to get it right. Well, I was wrong. The journal's article format, what totally different to what I've experienced so far. Including the headings, referencing and making sure your submission is annonymised. Perhaps for some of you, PhD-veterans, this wouldn't t be a problem - I actually needed to spend some time to make sure my document was acceptable. Lesson number 3 - I will take more time to learn about the formatting next time.

 

4. Supervisor's feedback 


Because of the super tight deadline, I didn't really have much time to get varied feedback for my submission. Apart from some very important comments from my main supervisor, I didn't manage to catch anyone else to read my work. So the plan for my next submission is to allocate more time to get this done.

 

 

 

To conclude, I think the key things that I learned are that: 1. I need to embed more theoretical planning into my practice, this includes thinking about my research methods and  examples of similar work in the past; 2. researching a given conference well in advance; 3. provide my supervisors with more time to provide feedback.

 

Now, will I stick to my manifesto in 2017? Let's see hoe it goes.

 

 

 

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Dr Alicja Pawluczuk

Digital Media Practitioner and Researcher with extensive experience of participatory media project design and facilitation both in Europe and South East Asia. Founder of digital storytelling educational collective www.digitalbeez.org. Associate Lecturer & PhD student at Edinburgh Napier University. Interested in Digital Youth Work/Literacy and Experiential Teaching Practice, ICT4D, Digital Inclusion, and Digital Activism. An active member of the Digital Youth Workers Network in Scotland. 

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