Devising An Interactive Social Learning Analytics Tool “IntVisRep” to foster online collaborative discussions

“Differentiated instruction can become an experienced reality for students, with purposefully-designed LA serving to compress, rather than exacerbate, the learning and achievement gap between thriving and struggling students.” – Tan, Yang, Koh, & Jonathan (2016).

Recently, with the rise of learning analytics implementations, more  and more student-facing learning analytics tools, or systems were devised and implemented with a goal to support learning and instruction (e.g., Chen, Chang, Ouyang, & Zhou, 2018; Dado & Bodemer, 2018). However, a literature review (Jivet, Scheffel, Drachsler, & Specht, 2017) indicated that a majority of current LA tools or platforms enhanced social comparison and competition rather than collaboration, inquiry and mastery. One of my previous study (Ouyang & Chang, 2018) also indicated that LA tools or reports might discourage student engagement. This study results showed that socially peripheral students did contribute to deep-level knowledge inquiry but did not get enough peer responses to further build up knowledge construction. I imagine that when those students were provided with their low-level social interaction information via LA tools, their motivation for taking actions on further engagement may be discouraged. Therefore, the design and implementation of LA tools should build strong connections to learning science theories and pedagogical strategies.

One potential LA tool design principle Jivet et al. (2017) proposed was that LA tools could be designed with different motivating factors that better fit learners with different needs and performance levels. LA implementations should serve as a tool grounded upon learning theories and sided with pedagogical strategies, rather than analytics of data at hand for its own sake.

I recently designed an interactive social learning analytics tool called IntVisRep to demonstrate three types of representation of online discussion data: interaction networks, keyword flows, and temporal online presences. This tool aimed to help learners become aware of their interaction, discourse and cognition processes, and further adjust their participation and collaboration accordingly during online collaborative discussions. This is tool is at the initial stage. As I mentioned before, next step is to revise this tool to better support students’ learning rather than exacerbate comparison among students. Also information about students’ progress – changes of their engagement – should be integrated in this tool. In the future research, I will use Canvas or Moodle API to capture real-time data from learners and generate interactive representations directly. Moreover, I will examine whether and how the use of IntVisRep would influence learners’ learning processes such as social interaction, topic contribution, and online presence.


Chen, B., Chang, Y. H., Ouyang, F., & Zhou, W. Y. (2018). Fostering discussion engagement through social learning analytics. The Internet and Higher Education, 37, 21–30.

Dado, M., & Bodemer, D. (2018). Social and cognitive group awareness to aid argumentation about socially acute questions on social media. In J., Kay, and R. Luckin (Eds.) Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age: Making the Learning Sciences Count, 13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2018, Volume 1. (pp. 456-463). London, UK: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Jivet, I., Scheffel, M., Drachsler, H., & Specht, M. (2017). Awareness is not enough: Pitfalls of learning analytics dashboards in the educational practice. In E. Lavoué, H. Drachsler, K. Verbert, J. Broisin, & M. Pérez-Sanagustin (Eds.), EC-TEL 2017: Data Driven Approaches in Digital Education (Vol. 10474, pp. 82–96). Tallinn, Estonia: Springer. 

Ouyang, F. & Chang, Y. H. (2018). The relationship between social participatory role and cognitive engagement level in online discussions. British Journal of Educational Technology.

Tan, J.P.L., Yang, S., Koh, E., Jonathan, C. (2016). Fostering 21st century literacies through a collaborative critical reading and learning analytics environment: user perceived benefits and problematics. In Proceedings of LAK 2016, pp. 430–434. ACM


Did socially engaged students make more cognitive contribution?

I and my colleague Yu‐Hui Chang (University of Minnesota, LT media lab)’s original article in the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET), ‘The relationships between social participatory roles and cognitive engagement levels in online discussions’, can now be read freely online until 31 August on Wiley Online. This is one of my three-dissertation. 

We examined students’ social interaction and cognitive engagement in a graduate-level online course, ‘Online Learning Communities’, offered at a research university in the midwestern United States. There were two types of online discussions in this course: the instructor-designed/facilitated discussion, and the student-designed/facilitated discussion. The instructor and student teams designed discussions and learning activities, provided readings and resources, and proposed prompting questions in discussions to drive student thinking, inquiry, and reflection. The data for this study were content from online discussion posts and comments.

Applying a validated social network analysis method (Ouyang and Scharber 2017), this study identified six student participatory roles (leader, starter, influencer, mediator, regular and peripheral) in terms of their levels of participation, influence and mediation. Adapted from the ‘speaking variables’ coding scheme (Wise et al 2014), students’ cognitive engagement was classified according to three levels of knowledge inquiry (superficial, medium and deep levels) and three levels of knowledge construction (superficial, medium and deep levels).

Results indicated that students’ social participatory role was a critical indicator of their cognitive engagement level. Compared to inactive students, socially active students made more contributions to knowledge inquiry and knowledge construction. Furthermore, students had a tendency to keep social-cognitive engagement patterns. This result echoed with an undesired learning phenomenon called a ‘rich club’: active students who built rich peer-connections from the beginning were more likely to build capacities to spread and receive ideas. In contrast, inactive students who failed to build up connections from the beginning would find it difficult to build reciprocity in the interactions, and to make cognitive contributions, later.

However, there were exceptions. While several students were normally ‘peripheral students’ throughout discussions, they also, as designers and facilitators of some discussions, demonstrated leader roles to actively engage in discussions. Therefore, empowering students to take leadership roles could help them break down ‘rich club’ phenomena, build peer connections and enhance cognitive engagement. Instructors can encourage student to engage in top-level planning, decision-making and learning coordination.

A blog was published by British Educational Research Association (BERA), check it out at

Critiques of the 2014 HRECT handbook

This is an ongoing critiques and reflections of the Handbook of Research For Educational Communications and Technology (2014 version) . This handbook has greatly helped me reflect on my educational research and practices; yet, as the education is a system of complexity, and the field of educational technology is ever-changing, I believe it is critical to consistently think about, critique, and reflect on ideas and perspectives proposed by predecessors. Therefore, as I read this handbook, there are some critiques and reflections in this handbook I want to point out to reflect the changing attribute of our field. Right now, this critique/reflection is organized in this way – I first present the original statement from the Handbook, then propose my critiques and reflections on the statement. [I may write a journal paper in terms of this critique write-up, trying to find a way to thread these scattered ideas together] 


Orig. statement: Intensive electronic networking, and social media reflect more recent changes in society that are expected to add value through a common purpose and deliberate collaborative action in a community of learners and practitioners … This is why socio-constructivist theories and technology-supported communities of learning and practice have become dominant, at least as a frame of reference within the community of educational technologists (p. 5, Chapter 1 Bridging learning theories and technology-enhanced environments: A critical appraisal of its history).

My critique: From the philosophical perspective, human learn both through their cognitive thinking (supported by cognitive constructivism) and through interaction with others and external world (supported by sociocultural constructivism). I believe no matter how technologies change and develop, people always learn in these two ways. In the past time without social media, people finds ways to interact with and learn from each other in the face-to-face community context; nowadays, with advancement of communication technology,  people just are equipped with more network channels to communicate with each other. So I don’t think it is the development of technology (e.g., social media) that fosters relevant community theories (e.g., community of inquiry, community of practice, community of knowledge building), but it is the reverse direction that make the relationship – community learning is always one of the important ways through which people learn. It is also important to be aware that cognitive/radical constructivism and social or realist constructivism are not contradictory, they should be viewed as a dialectical interaction and functional unification (Liu & Matthews, 2005); that is, community learning and individual cognition are two ways people learn.

ref: Liu, C. H., & Matthews, R. (2005). Vygotsky’s Philosophy: Constructivism and Its Criticisms Examined. International Education Journal6(3), 386-399.

Orig. statement: Results may also be different depending on the period in which the research has been done. For example, in the 1960s sound research was done on differences in achievement motivation between boys and girls. Nowadays, these results are worthless because the feminist revolution has worked its way through society— changes in context have changed the results of the interaction under study (p. 27, Chapter 2 Research paradigms and perspectives on learning).

My critique:  I believe different paradigms/theories/methodologies can be used in an integrative, complementary way. I don’t see them as completely incompatible neither do I see prior knowledge as worthless. I would like to see every researcher as an important contributors of knowledge production in educational research. Each way of knowing (and their ways of researching) offers important but different and thus partial truths about the world, and all ways of knowing are equally legitimate and important (Taylor, Taylor, & Luitel, 2012). To capture the complexity of a phenomenon under study, it is important to understand research conducted from different research paradigms and perspectives. I also believe it is very important to help graduate student researchers (novice researchers) build up their professional identity by helping them engagement with the diversity of educational research, build open-minded thinking toward their own research and others’ research and practice, and allow new research questions, new methods and new theories emerge. However, the authors further stated at the end of this chapter that “researchers should always have an open mind for research based on competing theories and paradigms, because radically new ideas and perspectives will most likely develop at the interface between paradigms” (p. 28), which is consistent with my reflection .

ref: Taylor P.C., Taylor E., Luitel B.C. (2012) Multi-paradigmatic Transformative Research as/for Teacher Education: An Integral Perspective. In: Fraser B., Tobin K., McRobbie C. (eds) Second International Handbook of Science Education. Springer International Handbooks of Education, vol 24. Springer, Dordrecht

Diversity statement of my teaching practices

Growing up in a male-dominated family, I have been struggling with significant questions related to self-identity for many years, particularly since I started pursuing my higher education at the age of 17. Although I became one of the youngest lecturers of computer sciences in a Chinese university at the age of 23, I still struggled between the distorted, constrained self the society and my family imposed on me (being an easy, fun young lady, living with a stable job), and the real-self entrenched inside of me (which was still vague to me at that time). It is the experience of the preparation for my PhD applications, and the pursue of my PhD degree in US, that has given me a chance to critically understand the tension and contradiction, and to reflect on my fears, doubts, and hopes in my life. Through 5-year of hard working, exploring possibilities, and self-reflection during my PhD journey, I ultimately grow up with an inner peace, recognizing a significant part of my true self without self-judgment – enjoy myself, being resilient, working hard and letting things unfold naturally. I particularly thank the inclusive, supportive, non-judgmental environment my PhD program has provided that has helped me seed a spirit within myself: being myself, enjoy what I do, and do my best without expectations. Because of my experiences, I truly understand how important it is to providing a warm, inclusive, supportive environment that can empower learners to pursue learning in the way they enjoy.

In addition, the research experience on a gender analysis research of female scholars’ publications within educational technology journals has enhanced my awareness regarding inequality and difference in the field of Educational Technologies (ET). The results of this study demonstrate that although female publishing rates continue to increase over time, there remains discernible disparity in women’s representation in scholarly publishing in the ET-related journals. We concluded that women in the field also need to be more visible as a means to provide diversity of perspective and to serve as role models for female doctoral students and colleagues (Scharber, Pazurek & Ouyang, 2017). As I recalled similar experiences of invisibility when I worked as a female scholar in the field of Computer Sciences, I realized that gender disparity within technology-related fields is consistently a common topic all around the world. I, as a female minority scholar in ET, should make efforts to nurture genuine communities with the inclusivity, self-awareness, vulnerability, commitment, openness, freedom, and equality.

Acknowledging the importance of community building, I strive to experiment and develop relevant pedagogical strategies in my classes.  Informed by my research, one primary goal of my teaching during my PhD is to create interactive, collaborative, engaged learning, where students and I can become co-creators of supportive learning communities, co-constructors of knowledge, and co-facilitators of inquiry and learning. I have experimented with multiple strategies in my teaching practices. To forge a closer connection between curriculum development and student learning goals, I have used several “role-sharing” strategies, such as inviting students to co-construct syllabi and class guideline, asking students form learning facilitation groups to design and lead class sessions, and giving students the right to form and disband small groups in terms of emerging goals. In this way, students are empowered to not only take responsibility for their own personalized learning by reflecting on prior knowledge and setting new learning goals, but also take initiatives for collaborative learning by planning learning agendas, designing and facilitating group activities. In addition, to help students become more critical and reflective, I encourage them keep a “critical learning moments” journal (Brookfield, 1995) to reflect on their own learning. I asked students to reflect on questions like this: “How does learning and inquiry differ when you interact and collaborate with your peers online?”, to help them become more aware of their learning preference and style in different learning situations. Moreover, in addition to using summative assessment, I have integrated more authentic and dynamic assessment strategies, such as asking students to propose research purposes and questions and make self-assessments on research projects, using the peer-review process in a writing-intensive course and making group assessments based on students’ self-reflection of their group collaboration.

In addition, as a foreign, minority student, I understand the importance of equal participation and the difficulty students sometimes face in class participation. I strive to apply strategies to engage students from all backgrounds and encourage equal participation in face-to-face discussions. Several strategies I have learned from transformative learning books and have applied in my teaching practices are: (a) providing readings from contradictory points of view to stimulate student dialogue from different perspectives, (b) developing discourse procedure within the group at the beginning of the class, (c) asking group members to take roles of checking the direction and procedure of the discourse, and ensuring equal participation of each member, (d) avoiding dismissive statements or definitive summaries at the end of discussions, (e) encouraging quiet time for students’ self-reflection within any discussion exchange (Cranton, 2006). These attempts have helped improve students’ engagement on elaborating different perspectives, and help me keep a good balance between discussion management and nurture of inclusivity and democracy. I strive to nurture an inclusive learning environment where diverse perspectives, needs and goals from students are recognized, respected, valued, and seen as a source of strength.

In summary, I am very committed to providing an inclusive, equitable, democratic learning environment that empowers both learners and educators to pursue learning. I hope through my teaching, research and service, I can make contributions to class and school community building, helping students interact and collaborate with each other, nurture mutual empowering, and make a long-term commitment to well-being (their own, one another’s, and the group’s). I know this is a high call. I will consistently study, experiment, and develop strategies in my teaching, research, and service practices that can provide respect for and engagement with diversity in the class, foster positive learning experiences and outcomes through respecting difference in the class, and enhance diversity, openness, inclusivity in class and school communities.




Teaching philosophy

During my ten years of teaching experiences in face-to-face, blended and online contexts, there are three concepts that ground my teaching philosophy: to nurture responsibility, initiative, and agency in my students, to build diversity, democracy and openness in my classes, and to help students become self-directed, reflective, and life-long learners.


As an educator, I strive to challenge, engage, and inspire students to view themselves as “change agents” (Bandura, 2001) in learning, and view learning as a creative, reflective, and transformative process (Cranton, 2006). I hope my teaching can not only help students become familiar with all kinds of course content, skills, and knowledge, but more importantly, empower them to view themselves as individuals who can shape their fields of interest, make action to achieve their personal and professional goals, and help people in their communities to grow and develop. I see my task as creating spaces for students to experience multiple challenges, questions or perspectives, and to do so in a manner that encourages critical reflection on experiences, perspectives and goals, and fosters a deep, meaningful shift in the way students see themselves and/or the world.


To achieve these goals, I strive to build interactive, collaborative, engaging online/blended learning in my classes, where students and I can become co-creators of supportive learning communities, co-constructors of knowledge, and co-facilitators of inquiry and learning. Informed by my research, I have experimented with multiple strategies in my teaching practices. To forge a closer connection between curriculum development and student learning goals, I have used several “role-sharing” strategies, such as inviting students to co-construct syllabi and class guideline, asking students form learning facilitation groups to design and lead class sessions, and giving students the right to form and disband small groups in terms of emerging goals. In this way, students are empowered to not only take responsibility for their own learning by reflecting on prior knowledge, and setting new learning goals, but also take initiatives for collaborative learning by planning learning agendas, designing and facilitating group activities. In addition, to help students become more critical and reflective, I encourage students to keep a “critical learning moments” journal (Brookfield, 1995) to reflect on their own learning process. For example, in an online course, I asked students to reflect on this question “How does learning and inquiry differ when you interact and collaborate with your peers online?”. In addition to using summative assessment, I have integrated more authentic and dynamic assessment strategies, such as asking students to propose research purposes and questions and make self-assessments on research projects, using peer-review process in a writing-intensive course and participatory assessment in a discussion-intensive online course. Overall, the ultimate purpose of using these pedagogical strategies is to cultivate students’ critical thinking, self-reflection, and collaborative learning, and empower them apply these knowledge and experiences to help people in their communities (e.g., learning groups, friend circles, work communities) learn.


Reflecting on my attempts during the past years, I realize that on the one hand, these strategies have exerted positive influences on improving student learning experiences and building supportive communities; on the other hand, it is challenging for instructors to keep a good balance between management and democracy. These attempts have led to a promising design-based research: inviting a group of teachers to apply these strategies in different learning environments, investigating students’ learning processes, experiences, and performances, and further revising, applying, and investigating effect of these strategies. In addition, informed by my research, design and implementation of instructional tools (e.g., social network awareness, chronological visualization tools) would be helpful for students’ self-regulation and decision-making. I hope my research and teaching can continue to inform each other, with the goal to better understand how learners learn, and to help educators foster learning.

In summary, I am very committed to providing a learning environment that is supportive, critical, and democratic, one that empowers both students and teachers in pursuing learning. I believe all educators are themselves learners, and learners are the best educators for themselves. I make efforts to cultivate four characteristics in myself and in my students: life-long learning (being eager to learn), capacity (being accessible, positive, and resourceful), entrepreneurship (being critical, innovative, and open-minded), and collaboration (being trustful, supportive, and collegial). In my future teaching, mentoring, and service, I will consistently keep one goal in mind: help learners grow, learn and develop with them, and become life-long learners together.

A brief overview of a recent publication on a social network analysis study of online learning community development

Recently, I and one of my advisors Dr. Cassandra Scharber published a social network analysis (SNA) study titled “The influences of an experienced instructor’s discussion design and facilitation on an online learning community development: A social network analysis study” in The Internet and Higher Education. A short audioslide presentation of this overview can be found here. Please also read a brief introduction of SNA methods and my design of a visualization showcase app at my Github page. I have also been building up a network analytics R package to show my analysis process in this study; please find the package in my Github here.

In this study, we first characterized an effective online learning community as an environment with learners’ reciprocal interaction and continuous participation. Then, based on this philosophy, we argued that the social network analysis (SNA) method is an appropriate research method for studying online learning communities. We further proposed an integrated network analysis framework (refer to section 4.4 in this article ) using emerging network methods to analyze both one-mode and two-mode networks in online learning. This framework combined both emerging SNA measures — Opsahl’s measures (Opsahl, 2009; Opsahl, 2013; Opsahl, 2015; Opsahl, Agneessens, & Skvoretz, 2010; Opsahl & Panzarasa, 2009), with more traditional measures — Butts’ measures (Butts, 2008; Butts, 2014; Butts, Hunter, Handcock, Bender-deMoll, & Horner, 2015). The analysis process was conducted via R programming and relevant packages (i.e., tnet, and sna). In addition, Marcos-García et al.’s (2015) DESPRO method, using centrality ranges to detect participatory roles, can be combined with Opsahl’s (2015) SNA centralities to make the results more accurate.

The research purpose for this study is twofold: we aim to provide methodological implications for using emerging social network analysis in online learning community research; and to provide practical implications for designing and facilitating discussions that can foster online learning communities.

SNA results showed the students gradually formed an interactive, cohesive and equally-distributed learning community duing class-level and group-level discussionsThe instructor, overall, played a facilitator role in this community; yet her participatory roles varied within different discussions during different time frames. Her participatory role evolved from a guide in the first class-level discussion, to varying roles, i.e., a facilitator, an observer, and a collaborator within different group discussions at the middle stages of the course, and to an observer in the course’s later stages.

Two important implications of this study are: (1) practical implications for designing and facilitating discussions that can foster online learning communities were proposed. Strategies include: design of a structural interweaving of class-level and group-level discussions; use of base groups at the early stage of an online course; integration of opportunistic collaboration groups with “fixed” group configuration; the instructor’s leadership role in the early stage, role changes in terms of different group situations, and relinquishment of authority in the middle and late stages.

(2) methodological implications for studying online learning communities were proposed. An integrated social network analysis framework for one-mode and two-mode network analysis as well as adapted instructors’ participatory role examination were proposed. Particularly, specific suggestions of using SNA measures in online community research that stress both interaction and participation were included in this framework. It is worth mention that Opsahl’s network measures combining both the effect of the number of ties and the effect of tie weights can offer a more robust method to analyze online learning communities. In addition, Butts et al. and his colleagues (2014, 2015)’ measures on reciprocity, transitivity, centralization are also important measures. Basic statistics, such as student-student, student-instructor, and instructor-student interaction frequency are simple yet useful measures.

This study is a part of my dissertation research. For a more fun (and short) introduction of my dissertation study, please refer to my 3MT presentation. I hope you will find this SNA study interesting and useful for your own research. Feel free to contact me at for further questions or details.


Butts, C. T. (2008). Social network analysis: A methodological introduction. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 11(1), 13-41. doi:10.1111/j.1467-839X.2007.00241.x

Butts, C. T. (2014). sna: Tools for social network analysis (version 2.3-2) [R package]. Retrieved from

Butts, C. T., Hunter, D., Handcock, M., Bender-deMoll, S., & Horner, J. (2015). network: Classes for relational data (version 1.13.0) [R package]. Retrieved from

Marcos-García, J. A., Martínez-Monés, A., & Dimitriadis, Y. (2015). DESPRO: A method based on roles to provide collaboration analysis support adapted to the participants in CSCL situations. Computers & Education, 82, 335-353. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2014.10.027

Opsahl, T. (2009). Structure and evolution of weighted networks (Doctoral dissertation, University of London). Retrieved from

Opsahl, T. (2013). Triadic closure in two-mode networks: Redefining the global and local clustering coefficients. Social Networks, 35(2), 159-167. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2011.07.001

Opsahl, T. (2015). tnet: Software for analysis of weighted, two-mode, and longitudinal networks (version 3.0.14) [R package]. Retrieved from

Opsahl, T., Agneessens, F., & Skvoretz, J. (2010). Node centrality in weighted networks: Generalizing degree and shortest paths. Social Networks, 32(3), 245–251. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2010.03.006

Opsahl, T., & Panzarasa, P. (2009). Clustering in weighted networks. Social Networks, 31(2), 155-163. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2009.02.002

Writing science notes

My co-advisor Dr. Bodong Chen recommended me this book last year: Writing science – how to write papers that get cited and proposal that get funded, by Joshua Schimel. I got it and put in my shelf for several months. Everytime I opened this book, I could find something else to do instead. Recently, facing a big dissertation fellowship proposal, I am eager to improve my change to get funded. So I opened this book again. I really hoped I could read it before I submitted all my manuscripts so far. Sorry editors and reviewers. I will get them better very soon. What a learning and unlearning process.

chapter 1 scientist is a professional writer: core writing principle is: it is the author’s job to make the reader’s job easy.

chapter 2 science writing as storytelling: draw simple story out of your data, let the story grow from data, don’t impose story on data; overinterpret your data widely, explore all possibilities, then find the simple core, don’t be afraid to abandon your first story.

chapter 3 making a story sticky: SUCCES principle (simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, story). Simple: find the core of the problem, propose a simple idea; unexpected: find knowledge gap not matter how small it is, make it clear, highlight the novel and new element; concrete: use specific examples and languages; credible: avoid buzzy words, make them concrete; emotional: ask a novel question, engage readers, trigger their curiosity; story: think about internal structure, make small units into a coherence.

chapter 4 story structure: four kinds of structures: OCAR, ABDCE, LD, LDR. OCAR: open with setting the stage, no argument or leading point -> frame questions -> what you did -> what are results, conclusions; ABDCE: open with a challenge -> introduce background -> develop climax (what you did, what is the result) -> ending resolution/ conclusion; LD: open with opening, challenge and resolution (strong at opening) -> develop; LDR: open with argument and challenge -> develop -> end with resolution/synthesis (strong at both opening and ending).

chapter 5 opening (O): three goals: identify problems, introduce characters, target audiences. most you can use OCAR or ABDCE/LDR. using OCAR: two-step strategy (engage audience with a broader topic/question -> transition to a specific question; using ABDCE/LDR, open with challenge and problem, or action.

chapter 6 funnel, connecting O and C: opening a large problem – tunnel – challenge (a specific question). define a specific/concrete problem, identify a small knowledge gap, don’t dump info (don’t tell everything you know), make logic connection between info and knowledge, don’t sell a solution before you identify a problem.

chapter 7 challenge (C): to do X, we did Y, do not reverse the two. (1) explicitly state knowledge gap you want to gain, clearly pose the question, must come first, must be clear, clean and straightforward; (2) tell us how you approach it, what data you collected, what method you use

chapter 8 action (A): method, result, discussion. Let the story guide you, don’t just present data/info, your goal is to present knowledge/understanding. every section (method, result, discussion) is a mini-story, choose one structure for each section. method: LD; result: LD; discussion: LDR or OCAR.

chapter 9 resolution (R): can use a step-backward structure of OCAR. overall conclusion/accomplishment -> results -> expanding/widening to a big picture, general application -> close the circle or pose a new question. ending is a powerful position, end strong and positive, don’t tell us what you don’t achieve at the end, don’t introduce new info, show how the starting point moved, how you explicitly answer/widen the questions.

chapter 10 internal structure: create flow and arc, arcless writings 1) lack thematic coherence, 2) story is unclear, 3) put down every thoughts, no logics. how to fix them? go over paragraph by paragraph and section by section and ask these questions: 1) does each unit make a single clear point? 2) when several paragraphs together form a section, are the linkage among them clear? 3) has every extraneous thought that breaks the serial arc structure been removed? 4) when you introduce a topic, do you resolve that discussion before introducing a new topic? 5) is every major unit of the work defined by either a subhead or clear opening text?

chapter 11 paragraphs: a paragraph is a unit of composition when it tells a complete story with a coherent structure, a story that fits into and contributes to the larger work; paragraphs usually use topic sentence-development (TS-D) structure (like LD structure; point-first structure); or you can use point-last structure, that is LDR or OCAR. a paper usually has 70% point-first paragraphs and 30% point-last paragraphs. short is better than long. three-step strategy to fix long and rambling paragraphs: 1) identify the real story, 2) decide whether this needs a point-first or point-last structure, 3) pull apart different threads of the story to clarify their relationships.

chapter 12 sentences: a sentence = a subject (opening: “topic”) + verb (challenge/action) + object (resolution: “stress”);weighting of words in a sentence follows an order: the stress carries the greatest emphasis, the topic is the next, the middle carries the least (2-3-1 principle). it follows OCAR structure, open with subject topic, action should immediately follow the subject, key message comes at the end as stress, add nuance if needed. if it is a long sentence, use sub-clauses, the ending of each clause is a minor stress position.  how to fix bad sentences: 1) find the topic, make it the subject, move it toward the beginning, 2) find the action verb and connect it closely to the subject, 3)find the stress and move it to the end of the main clause. if you have additional material to add, move it to the right so that it modifies rather than intrudes in the main story

chapter 13 flow: make a relay: sentence 2’s topic is sentence 1’s stress, don’t introduce new info/topic and break the arc; this principle is the same for flow between two paragraphs. so core is to identify topic and stress. by linking stress and topic, resolution and opening, you can tie together sentences and paragraphs and make the sweep of your arguments compelling.

chapter 14 energizing writing: principles: 1) most of the time, use active voice over passive voice, 2) find the action and use clear and concrete action verb, show what happened not just something happened, put verb early in the sentence, 3) don’t transfer concrete verb or adj into noun. why nominalizations are not good? 1) lose the power of using verbs, 2) a nomialization can easily become a jargon. when to use passive voice: 1) make the acted-on the subject of the sentence, 2) avoid mentioning the actor’s names

chapter 15 words: three principles: 1) avoid jargon (undefined terms, nouns), if you can use a plain and simple language equivalent, use it, don’t use the jargon! you can use 2-3-1 rule here: open with something people are familiar with + technical terms + explain of the technical terms in more details 2) use common words, instead of unnecessary technical words, this can increase clear understanding and engage a stronger schema 3) pay attention to prepositional phrases, don’t use noun train!

chapter 16 condensing: avoid 1) redundancies: use several words where one does all the work that needs doing, 2) obvious: obvious ideas are well known or implied and so don’t need to be said anywhere, e.g., “there is evidence that …” 3) modifiers: don’t use unnecessary adj, and adv when you can use clear and concrete noun and verb 4) metadiscourse e.g., “we found, we argue, the data may indicate, to conclude..” 5) verbosity: show authors’ mental processes from the story they are trying to tell

chapter 17 putting it all together: 1) structure: get the structure of the story into shape, 2) clarity: ensure that your idea are clear and concrete 3) flow: make the idea flow, linking one thought to the next, 4) language: make it sound good

chapter 18 dealing with limitations: principle: but, yes. open about limits and highlight strength/resolution/conclusion. 1) introduction: many problems arise not from inherent limitation but from a mismatch between the question and methods. go back to introduction, find the knowledge gap and what is your research question? what the story is? 2) methods: discuss limitation of analytical methods immediately to lay any concerns to rest, you are much better off if you can address readers’ concerns as soon as they arise, if you avoid mentioning the negatives, readers will find them and criticize you for them 3) discussion: limitations affect how you interpret data, you should avoid the power positions of the discussion’s opening and resolution, early in the body of the discussion to discuss the work’s limitation and constraint.

chapter 19 writing global science, data-info-knowledge-understanding-applicaiton, we are offering knowledge/understanding/application, not just present data and info

chapter 20 writing for the public: A and B: issue and audience -> problem? -> so what? -> solution -? benefits

chapter 21 resolution: I prefer to focus on success strategies instead of survival strategies; you don’t succeed by getting papers published but by getting them cited; quality ultimately trumps quantity and it will stand out in a crowded scientific universe; simply remember who your real peers are;