Presentation on theme: "Writing-Up Geoff Walsham Lecture 5 of Course on Interpretive Research in IS - Oslo University."— Presentation transcript:
Writing-Up Geoff Walsham Lecture 5 of Course on Interpretive Research in IS - Oslo University
Contents of Lecture 5 Writing an academic paper Structuring the paper Discussion of various components The art of persuasion English language issues Writing-up a longer piece of work
Writing an Academic Paper Crucial question: what is your key message? To what audience? What is new about your contribution?
Structuring the Paper Create an outline including sections and sub-sections Think about the length of the various sections Write material on the sections to outline their contents and how they will connect Discuss the outline with a co-author or colleague
Title Important - should be sharp and focused on your contribution See some of Orlikowski’s titles: ‘CASE tools as organizational change: investigating incremental and radical changes in systems development’ ‘Technological frames: making sense of information technology in organizations’
Abstract Should summarise the whole paper (it is not an introduction) Topic; why it is important; what you have done; what are your key conclusions In less than 150 words Write the abstract early - it is a good test as to whether you know what you are trying to say and why
Introduction Not too long! Why is this topic important? How are you planning to develop your contribution in this paper? How is the rest of the paper structured?
Literature Review Not just everything you have read on the topic A structured review of interesting aspects of the literature But showing why your paper is needed Can include references that you do not like to make your argument - but be polite!
Methodology Reporting on ‘soft’ human issues is not an excuse for sloppiness (Walsham 1995) Collection of field data: research sites chosen, why, who was interviewed, their job roles, other data sources, time period of the data collection … Analysis: how data were recorded; how they were analyzed; iterative process between theory and data...
Methodology - Comment You won’t get a paper published in a good journal just because you have written a good methodology section But you might get a paper rejected by a good journal because your methodology section is weak
Empirical Data and Analysis Make it a coherent, interesting story Sometimes helpful to have an ‘overview’ before giving details Use plenty of quotes, but make sure that they directly support the point that you are making Tables can be useful to summarise key points being made in the text
Discussion and Conclusions What is your key contribution? How does this advance our knowledge? To what extent will your results generalise to other contexts? What further work could be done (but not much on this in a paper)? Pay attention to a good ending
The Art of Persuasion (Walsham 1995) ‘Van Maanen (1989) reminds us that establishing validity in the eyes of a reader is part of the art of persuasion, and is as much a matter of rhetorical style and flair as it is of accuracy and care in matters of theory and method’ Practice/practice/practice … Develop your own style
English Language Issues Lear how to write grammatically Get a competent native speaker to check your English If you write well in your own language, you can learn to write well in English
Writing-Up a Longer Piece of Work Basic ideas remain the same But structure is even more important Flow between different sections/chapters needs additional linking material What have others done? What have I done? So what? (thesis structure)