Scholarly Writing

Professors as Writers: Assessing Writing Problems

Decorative: Cover of the book "Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to productive Writing"


Questions from “An Instrument for Assessing Writing Problems” from an old classic -- Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing by Robert Boice (available in the Education Library, 808.02 B65 1990).

A “self-administered diagnostic for writers,” the below checklist helps writers focus on (and then, hopefully, address) their own specific challenges in producing academic writing, focusing on six areas:

Getting Writing Done

Decorative: "Do it."


"A New Series on Scholarly Productivity: 'Are You Writing?'" (post) introduces a series that outlines practical strategies for writing by "doing just a little bit of work, mostly every day, and trusting that the 'brilliance' (or acceptability) of the whole would come together through the drudgery of many, many, many (many) smaller, less-brilliant parts."

1. The first article offers advice for "[i]f you’re embroiled in an article or chapter revision that you feel will never end":

14 Editing Tips

Decorative: "Editing Tips to Make You a Better Writer"


"14 Invaluable Editing Tips" (post) offers practical suggestions for making your writing -- especially online writing (as for online course content, posted notes and material, etc.) -- clearer, more accessible, and more effective.

1. "Put yourself in your audience’s shoes."

  • "Tailor your content to your audience’s needs ... preferences ... interests ... problems, [abilities, and knowledge]." 

2. "Read your writing out loud."

Dissertation Writing Groups

Decorative: "Writing group," with enlarged commas for the "g"s


"On the Value of Dissertation Writing Groups" (post) outlines one professor's practice of "bring[ing] students together into a dissertation group and encourag[ing] them to meet regularly and work with one another."

  • "Writing is collaborative, and scholarly writing especially so."
  • Librarians, archivists, and others -- "the people who have been reading drafts all along, making suggestions, editing, shaping" -- play an active role in successful academic writing.

1. The Problem(s)

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