Backfired Arguments

Posted by Zera Day in blogs | writing - (Comments Off)

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Often times when talking to others in every day life you may find yourself correcting someone on a small (or even large) fact, however, how you do it matters, according to Matthew Wills of Jstor. The backfire effect is something to keep in mind as we engage with others in debate and discussion in our new information age – sometimes simply being correct is not enough.

deskAcademic style is less that which makes a piece of writing unique than it is that which makes a piece of writing conform. Style, in the academic sense, is a set of recognizable professional conventions that create a framework within which writers stake their claims to original thought.

Read the full article at Los Angeles Review of Books

 

The University of Cape Town Libraries hosted Elsevier last week, who facilitated an Author Workshop entitled Publishing Connect. The workshop covered various aspects of the scholarly publishing process including the peer-review process, Open Access publishing, getting your paper noticed among others. If you were unable to attend the workshop, and are planning to publish your research, make sure that you have a look at the Presentation.

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After numerous requests by postgraduate students for assistance on how to write a literature review, the library has decided to run an additional workshop entitled:

Finding sources for your literature review: an advanced guide for masters and doctoral students.

Date:   Thursday, 21 August 2014

Time:   17h00-19h00

RSVP:    cyrill.walters@uct.ac.za

Venue: Ulwazi Training Room, Knowledge Commons, Chancellor Oppenheimer Library.

This workshop will present different literature review designs and provide a structured and comprehensive approach to finding suitable literature sources.

Although general in its focus, the workshop will provide a systematic approach to finding sources for the literature review across disciplines which will save the researcher time and avoid missing important content.

 

Writing Centre

Research Commons Librarian, Amina Adam, with Writing Centre consultant, Ilse Groenewald.

Building on the library’s strategic plan to foster and maintain collaborative relations with key stakeholders across campus in support of research, the Research Commons is elated to announce its latest collaboration with the UCT Writing Centre. This collaborative effort will see the Writing Centre making themselves available to postgraduate students for consultations in the Research Commons, encouraging and enforcing their motto of good writing practices. This will serve the need for further support for the postgraduate student body as well as forging the way for both the Research Commons and the Writing Centre to be a prominent partner for research at UCT.

Writing Centre consultant Ilse Groenewald will be availing herself to students in the Research Commons Seminar room weekly, on Fridays from 9:00 – 13:00. Struggling to write that proposal, reworking a chapter, need a fresh eye to peruse your writing… we can assist. See the brochure below for the online booking procedure.

Writing Centre Brochure

“When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Crumpled papers.

Photo by ds139. Used under CC2.0.

As I am writing this, I find myself struggling with writers block, and I discover Nietzsche’s famous words echoing through my mind, though slightly construed. As we stare onto the blank, the blank also stares back onto us, and so it goes, the terrible cycle of empty page and empty mind feeding one other. The question at hand: is writer’s block real, and if so, where does it come from? The notion that there is a psychological aspect associated with writer’s block seems to be wide reaching and yet altogether misguided.

Robert Boice notes in his essay on writing blocks that references to this problem have been strewn, and that they have often been based on a writer’s subjective experiences. Psychologists have little to say on the subject and yet the fact that the term is often used interchangeably with writer’s anxiety brings it again, though somewhat problematically, into the realm of psychology.

Is this so called block a manifestation of our own insecurities and inexperience as writers? This would seem to be plausible. During the write up of my own research, I often felt overwhelmed and unequal to the task at hand. However, there is hope for us yet. Keith Hjortshoj writes in his book Understanding Writers Block, “Young inexperienced writers rarely encounter serious blocks… writing blocks are most common among advanced undergraduates, graduate students, scholars, and other professional writers who are not supposed to need help” (2001: 3). (more…)