Saint Mary's University Writing Centre

Halifax, NS

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A neat resource for EAP reading

Jennifer MacDonald

CaptureIf I were teaching an EAP reading class at the B1+ level right now, I would be running to the photocopier with an article I just came across.

Explainer: What’s the difference between and outbreak and an epidemic? appeared on The Conversation a few weeks ago (more on this website in a moment). It’s clearly structured, and would tie in well to instruction on writing definitions, classifications or compare-and-contrast writing. There are also lots of examples of signposting using questions in this text. The article is a vocabulary lesson in and of itself, focusing on terms frequently used incorrectly in public discourse. The topic is related to current events, so could be engaging for almost any class, but could be of particular interest to those students planning on studying a health profession, community health or international development.

I have only recently discovered The Conversation (which has US, UK and

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writing a highly cited paper – a sceptical view


I’ve been somewhat irritated recently, as I’m sure most academics have been, by the increasing interest that our universities have in citations. Citations count in league tables.  We – academics – are increasingly told that we must focus more on how to ramp up our own citations. It’s recently been explained to me for example that citations can be increased by writing review articles and by writing with colleagues from particular US and Australian institutions.

This kind of advice is invariably based on interpretations of citation metrics. I strongly suspect that these explanations of how-to-write-a-highly-cited- paper are a case of people  (who ought to know better) mistaking correlations for causes. Apart from the times when academics cite papers that are bad, or because they are written by someone already famous, my sense is that it’s more generally the case that the papers that are cited a lot also happen to be significant in some way. That’s not…

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I get by with a little help from myself: making self-care a priority when times get tough

Tenure, She Wrote

It’s the holidays, which means making the lighting-fast gear shift from last semester’s grading to next January’s grant deadlines, all while navigating the ups and downs of the holiday season. For me, it’s been more downs than ups (family drama, and distance always sucks). I’m feeling the weight of anxiety and depression pretty heavily this season, and a series of rejections hasn’t helped. I’ve had a really hefty travel schedule, too. I still haven’t replaced the social safety net I had in graduate school, and I’m feeling pretty isolated. For better or worse, I’m not feeling very resilient right now.

And yet that’s exactly what I need to feel, to bolster myself for a new semester (two new courses to prep!), and three NSF deadlines in January, and manuscripts to write, and students who need me to be a rock through their yough times, too. Plus, given the long turnaround times of papers and…

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