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10 October 2017

Researcher’s Writing Strategic Plan and Writing Groups


In co-ordination with the Office of the Dean of Research, the BU Research Group held its second meeting this semester in L005 on October 5, 2017. The meeting, which focused on the challenges of writing in the development of research projects, was attended by faculty members and graduate students from various departments and disciplines, including English, Arabic, Humanities, religious studies, social sciences, physics, and physiotherapy. The meeting was also attended by Claudia Dold, a Visiting Fulbright Scholar and Assistant Librarian at the University of South Florida Libraries, Tampa, Florida.

In his introduction, Dr. Jamil Khader, Professor of English and Dean of Research, welcomed all attendees and reviewed some of the major development in the field of writing. He mentioned that many writing specialists urge writers to have their own “strategic plans” by which they can define their vision (how do you see yourself in 1, 2, 5 years down the road); goals (what would you like to accomplish by the end of the designated period); strategies (how do you propose to get there? What is your roadmap); and tactics and actions (which tasks are you going to undertake to get you to your destination?).

In the discussion, various faculty members identified various obstacles and challenges such as the teaching load and the lack of short sabbatical leave schemes that prevent them from writing on a regular basis. Other faculty members felt the problem was not the lack of time but the problem of motivation to write. Other guests talked about the challenge of publishing in international journals with high Impact Factor or leading journals in the field and the need to select the publication venue more carefully, so that their submissions would fall into the scope of the journal and be submitted according to its submission guidelines.

The attendees also discussed other research and development models such as the Turkish model in which faculty can apply for funds to have their articles translated from Turkish into English or other foreign languages and vice versa. Dr. Khader noted that the new promotion guidelines of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education  require that some publications appear in international journals which would make it more difficult for faculty without such support to earn promotion.

At the end of the meeting, Dr. Khader thanked the participants for their contribution to the discussion and suggested learning from popular writing models today especially, the writing groups. He invited faculty to start forming groups online or in real-life in which group members decide to write together, each on her or his project, but setting feasible goals to accomplish in those sessions--writers can agree to write 250-500 words on their projects in an hour or decide to write a 1000 words an hour (#1k1Hr). The idea is to stick to the challenge and finish together. Dr. Khader expressed his hope that we will see different active writing groups like these among the faculty in the near future.

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