In academics, we are writers.

I have been re-reading  a book, Becoming an academic writer by Patricia Goodson (2013). I read this book, (strictly to say, I skimmed through this book), during my PHD program as an assignment from one of the qualitative research methodology courses. We only had about 5 minutes discussion about this book every class, so when I was swamped with catching up all the reading materials, I skimmed this book, even though I thought this book would be very beneficial to read as a graduate student who was on the beginning stage of academia.

As a postdoc, numbers of works to be accomplished per day has been increased: writing a new grant proposal, managing projects, producing instructional materials, co-instructing a graduate class, design next semester’s class, and writing and revising manuscripts, and more.  Sometimes I found myself behind in writing manuscripts and that felt me very annoyed and frustrated and even depressed my everyday life. So, I picked up this book as a refresher for my writing habits. And so far, the book has helped me to reflect my (turns out to be) bad writing habits and excuse and provide some solutions.


My common excuse 1. Sometimes, I have a day or days without having writing time.

According to the author, this may cause because I don’t see myself as a writer.

However, for people in academics, we write for a living, whether we like it or not, whether we want to or not. And like gardening tools, which need to be constantly used to prevent deterioration or rust. We need to see ourselves as writers having writer attitudes, managing the contingencies, and practice for it. Because I am a professional writer.

My common excuse 2. I don’t have time to write today.

Low productivity and struggles with writing have to do with how academics view themselves and their work. If they do not see themselves as writers, their writing becomes relegated to whenever they have enough time. Enough time never happens spontaneously, so they seldom write.

Research examining productive faculty’s habits consistently points to scheduled and protected writing time as a key element for success.

The author mentioned that writing time is not to be found but to be created. None of us can ever find time because we look for extra time. But those extra time rarely can be found. We need to purposefully CREATE and PROTECT time to write.

She quotes,

“Prolific academics create writing time where none exists and then carefully protect it from intrusion (Johnson & Mullen (2007).”


To be continued…




Goodson, P. (2016). Becoming an academic writer: 50 exercises for paced, productive, and powerful writing. Sage Publications.

Johnson, W. B., & Mullen, C. A. (2007). Write to the top! How to become a prolific academic. New York: Palgrave McMillan.

having dreams vs. shortsighted desires

Some people believe that they have a dream and they are doing their best to make it happen. However, having dreams and having greed or desires is different.

A person, who has a dream (or dreams), keeps doing something new to improve present with passion to achieve a long-term goal. A person with a dream do not hesitate to expand knowledge, skills, or strategies with a variety of experiences. Even though the usefulness or the benefits of having new experiences are uncertain, people with a dream, invests their time and efforts on the present for the future. Because of the uncertainty, people with dreams keep exploring new things to know more. The more you know, the more you see.

However, a person, who believes that they have a dream but tends to wish to achieve  without investing much on the present, is who has greed and shortsighted desire. They tend to hesitate to explore new fields, skills, or strategies when the immediate benefit is uncertain. Because of the uncertainty, people who confuse desire with dream, limit the investment on the future captured by myopic view.

So,  what’s yours? dreams or just desires?


What is collaborative research?

Collaborative research is doing a research with common research inquiries and putting equal amount of knowledge and efforts on the whole process of the research to create research synergies.

For  my opinion, I think for collaborative research, researchers should have gone through following process.

First, researchers should have common research inquiries. Not even research questions, but I think, especially in social science areas, there should be commonalities in questions about the phenomena or beliefs about the phenomena between researchers. And the implications of the study? The answer for the question, “Why do you want to study this topic/area?” should have matched to each other.

Second, once research inquiries are set up, researchers should establish research questions. Even researchers found some commonalities between their research inquiries, they might think different ways to explore the phenomena. “What exactly do you want to know among your inquiries?”

Third, think about the methodology for the study. How do researchers would like to explore the phenomena? Qualitatively or quantitatively or both? By answering this question, researchers may have more clear ideas about what they want to study. Or, they may find the gap between their purpose of the study. Once (still, potential, though) research questions established, research questions should be revised to accordance with methodology.

For researchers in social science areas, I believe writing an IRB helps to go through the three steps that I’ve introduced above. In the IRB application, research questions, methodologies, and implication (or possible risks that may derive from the study) should clearly stated. IRB asks detailed and clear ideas about the research plan: analysis plan, recruiting participants plan, how to ask their permissions to participate in the study, etc. So, writing up research design process will give researchers chances to have enough discussion about the research directions and plans.

If there is a researcher who wish to join after getting IRB or after other researchers already set-up the research design, the new researcher should have clear ideas why his or her research interests bring him/her to join the existing/ongoing research project. Without those concepts, I don’t think it is a collaborative research but social loafing behaviors.

exhusting day

오늘은 아침부터 늦은 저녁까지 하루종일 지친하루였다. 푹 잔거 같긴 한데, 개운하진 않았고..무슨 꿈을 (분명 개꿈 같은..) 꾸다가 이게 무슨소리지? 하며 깼는데 그게 알람소리였고…꾸욱 누르고 다시 잤다가 눈을 떴는데, 알람을 끄고 한 30분을 너무 꿀잠을 자서 내가 왜 침대에 누워있지..오늘 할일이 뭐지?? 하며 헐레벌떡 일어나서…별로 달갑지 않은 콜레버레이터의 이메일을 보고 기분이 나빠지고, 그걸 열어보고서는 더 기분이 나빠지고….기분이 덜 나빠질까 싶어서 얼른 아침먹고 잠깐 그 일을 들여다봤다가..괜히 필라테스나 5분 늦고…

오늘이 4번째 그룹 필라테스 수업이었는데, 이제껏 중에 근육 피로도가 웬지 좀 높아서…동작할때마다 기분좋음보다는 살짝 힘들다는 생각이 좀 들었다. 그러다보니 보통은 끝나고 항상 아침을 일찍 잘 시작했다는 뿌듯함..아침에 필라테스로 내 몸의 비뚤어진 부분을 교정해서 자세도 몸도 가벼워진 그런 기분이 들었는데..오늘은 노노…대신에 무슨 생각을 했더라? ….’아..끝났다..바로 가서 아까 하던 일 마저 보고, 오늘 회의가 두 개니깐 준비해야겠다….휴우…’

오전 8시 15-9시 15분 필라테스, 커피샵에서  pour over coffee 라지로 시켜서 마시며 아침부터 내 심기를 건드렸던 그 문서를 들여다보다가, 11시부터 1시까지 프로젝트 1차 미팅..2시-5시 미팅 전에 얼른 학교안에 유일하게 문열고 있는 베이글 가게에서 베이글 하나 먹고.. 집에왔다…저녁먹고 작은 하이네켄 하나 마시고…흠..그래도 뭔가 찝찝하고 기분 안 좋고…

오늘처럼 아침일찍 하루를 시작하고 사실 꽤나 알차게 보냈는데, 이렇게 찝찝하고 기분 안 좋음은 뭔지….할일이 너무 많아서인건지…별로 같이 일 하고 싶지 않은 컬레버레이터와의 업무 때문인건지. ..저녁 10시까지도 그렇게 기분이 다운이다가…잠시 열어본 발코니 창문….늦여름 시원한 산바람… 큰 타월 들고 나와서 돗자리에 깔고 드러누워보니…이것이 지상낙원…..풀벌레 소리…(물론 에어컨 실외기 소리도 함께 였지만…) 한 30분…누워 멍하니 있으니…힐링이 되는 기분이랄까…밖은 깜깜해서…내가 발코니에 드러누워있는지 뭐하는지 밖에서 보일리가 없고…그렇게 누워서…오늘 내가 왜 이렇게 지쳤는지 곰곰히 생각해보다보니…조금씩 기분이 좋아진것 같다..물론 아직 정확한 이유는 모르겠지만…그냥 잠깐동안 혼자 가진 이 시간이 참 좋았다..오늘 하루종일 쳐진 기분을 스을쩍 올려준 느낌…이런 발코니를 가지고 있어서 참 좋구나…

내일부터는..또 다시 기분좋은 하루를 보낼 수 있길…

2015-07-26 12.49.45

Fellowship for postdoc in education

  1. AERA Research Grant
    • The Governing Board for the AERA Grants Program has established the following four strands of emphasis for proposals. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that:
      • develop or benefit from new quantitative measures or methodological approaches for addressing education issues
      • include interdisciplinary teams with subject matter expertise, especially when studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning
      • analyze TIMSS, PISA, or other international data resources
      • include the integration and analysis of more than one data set
  2. National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship
  3. The American Association of University Women Educational Funding and Awards: International fellowships: International Fellowships are awarded for full-time study or research in the United States to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Both graduate and postgraduate studies at accredited U.S. institutions are supported


Useful Resources: On the Art of Writing Proposals: Some Candid Suggestions for Applicants to Social Science Research Council Competitions

Writing Tips: for academic writing (link) and for blogger (link) with my takeaway messages

For Academic Writing: Writing for an academic journal: 10 tips

For Blogging: How to write a killer copy


So..I am in an academic field and to write and publish an academic paper is critical for us to develop our capabilities and career.  There are tons of books, information, advice regarding how to publish papers because our lives sometimes described as “publish or perish” lives.

Today, I am going to write down specific to-do-list based on what I learned from others’ advice.

1. define the purpose of publication.

  • Am I writing to make a difference or impact world? to develop a profile in our field?

2. Know colleagues or competitors and journals

  • Research other researchers in the field. where they have published recently?

3. Analyze structure and type of the paper and choose two role model papers and cite them.

4. Create very detailed outline starting with two sentences: an opening and an ending sentence

  • Use verbs that will define purpose of each section: to summarize, overview, critique, define, introduce, conclude, etc.

5. Set specific writing sub-goals before and after writing with asking one simple question for five minutes

  • Question: What have you done with this writing/publication and  what do you want to do in the long, mid, and short term ?
  • Before: not the deadline but like “my next writing goal is to (verb) summarize and critique twelve articles for the (section) literature review section in (length) 800 words on (when) Tuesday between (Time) 9am and 10:30”
  • After: On Thursday from 10 AM 11AM, I will draft the conclusion section in 500 words.”

6. Use collaborative writing

  • Having a writing buddy or a writing group is recommended when you are in a very busy life schedules. Block the Internet access and phone and just write.
  • Get feedback from 3-4 people from the outline to the end.

Postdoc life: programs for Postdoc and postdoc fellow vs. research associate

UVAs programs for Postdoc

It seems like UVA has several supporting programs for postdoc by The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs. I searched for the orientation program and found they are providing the orientation monthly. For Fall 2015, it will be held in 9/24, 1015, and 12/10. Registration is required before attending the orientation (OT).

More information can be found here: including useful resources for postdoc. (They also have a section for international postdoc.) I am planning to attend September OT, register to the listserv, and attending Postdoc Lunch and Learn series, if it will be hosted this coming Fall, 2015. Currently, there is only information for Fall 2014.

Postdoctoral Fellow or Research Associate?

For me, it was useful to know the difference between postdoc fellow and postdoc research associate. According to the website, postdoc fellow is the one who is funded through external grant foundations, such as NSF or NIH. Postdoc research associate is the one who are affiliated with the university as employees. The source of funds can be the university or both university and external funding institution. As I am working on mainly for a NSF grant and probably for other grants as well, I am categorized as postdoctoral research associate.