Ali Ferguson’s Writing Workshop

Ali Ferguson is a popular copyeditor. She works with the best entrepreneurship scholars Ali 01and helps them communicate their ideas succinctly. Ali visited us at Nord University Business School to offer a three-day workshop on writing. She was inspiring, energetic, skilled and knowledgeable. All of us left the workshop feeling inspired and enabled to write more deftly.

During the workshop, Ali spent time explaining the writing process – pre-writing, writing and revising. She highlighted the value of outlining and reverse outlining. Her approach to writing was structured and methodical. Crafting good sentences, paragraphs and sections, though ostensibly simple, are a challenge, and Ali helped us learn tips and tricks to get them right. Her workshop gave enough time for practice on our own papers. She demonstrated how it is easy to find errors in others’ writing than one’s own. Another reason why we need peer review. Ali provided numerous resources that can make us better writers. Her love for editing and the language was visible.

I came away from the workshop with more admiration for Ali and the English language. I thank her for showing me what good writing can achieve and introducing me to interesting new resources. Thank you Ali.

I wholeheartedly recommend Ali for all your English editing needs, even more so, if you are an academic. Ali will be a great resource person for any writing workshop in your departments and/or institutions. Here is the link to her website:



Will Microsoft ‘Academic’ get the better of Google ‘Scholar’?

I am a research scholar in the area of ‘Entrepreneurship’. Considering the continuing difficulty of finding the right papers, I have found Google Scholar a real boon. Though recently many other academic social networks (sources of articles) have sprung up (Research Gate), most scholars still create Google Scholar Profiles. Here is mine.

Microsoft which had really lost out in the ‘search’ battle has come with a new product – ‘Academic’ to compete with ‘Scholar’, ‘Scopus’ and the like. But I think the real battle is only with Scholar. Scopus is paid, so unless ‘Academic’ dishes out the validity that ‘Scopus’ users complain about ‘Scholar’, they may not shift. But who knows what the future holds! It appears that almost everyone defaults to Scholar for scholarly search – even if they have other databases. So ‘Academic’ can probably give some exemplary services and attract even paid users to shift out. Here are some initial reviews about ‘Academic’. Though ‘Academic’ is still in its ‘Preview’ stage, it appears to have got some good things going for itself.

I am just about exploring it! Searching for myself I found that ‘Academic’ identified a new citation to one of my papers that still does not show up in ‘Scholar’ and ‘ResearchGate’!!

Sharing it with the readers (especially academics) here too – have a look, explore and see if it really serves you better than ‘Scholar’ and the likes!

Happy Exploring.

Reporting Vs Research

I had an interesting chat with an eager, passionate, enthusiastic and smart student. She wanted to write about entrepreneurship. We spoke about how she could approach learning the subject and eventually contributing to it. During the conversation I found that we kept coming back to this rather important point – reporting versus research.

Reporting is what reporters must do. They are to observe and report (state facts) without interpretation. They normally do not involve trying to identify ‘causality’. On the other hand research is what researchers do. They use the facts and attempt to draw causality. They try to answer questions about why, how, and what behind phenomena.

Reporting must record phenomena, Research must attempt to decipher the meaning and causality behind it.

It is important to know that both roles are important. It is because we do not have high quality reporting that we do not have high quality datasets to work with. Hence both roles are critical. So why is this important?

As a student of any subject it is important to locate oneself in a role that is most suitable to one’s interests as well as one’s capabilities. It is only by situating oneself in the cusp of interest and capability that one can contribute to the most. One can straddle between the two, but moving too often makes one less focussed on either. Hence it makes sense to stay rooted in one and occasionally spend time in the other.

I am a researcher. I have decided to be one. I try to help practitioners make sense of phenomena and thereby make better decisions. What do you want to do? Think and make a wise decision!

I told this budding writer the same thing. The beauty is – she said she would take the inputs, think on it and come back with her decision. This makes the life of a teacher worthwhile.

Happy Thinking!

My blogging in 2015 – a review

Dear Readers,

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year 2016

Reviewing is a powerful exercise to know what was done against what was planned. It is a good way to showing the mirror to oneself. Though I love writing, much of 2015 went in reading. It showed in my review. Hence I am making an attempt to revive the writing schedule for 2016. The next year’s review will show how much I lived up to my plans.

In the meantime may you all have a lovely, happy and prosperous 2016!

Thanks to the stats helper monkeys who helped prepare the 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

10 Rules for writing science

I am currently attending a course on ‘Academic Writing’. This is for scholars who want to write academic / scholarly articles. Such work usually gets published in journals. Journals are usually read by other scholars to know, collaborate, and take forward humanity’s knowledge on a subject. As I was reading through number of books and papers, I accidentally landed up on a journal editorial which shared 10 rules for writing science. I am listing the rules as they are so succinctly put. I am sharing the link to the original article for a more detailed account on each of these rules.

Rule 1: Keep It Short

Rule 2: Keep It Compact

Rule 3: Keep It Simple

Rule 4: Use the Present Tense

Rule 5: Avoid Adjectives and Adverbs

Rule 6: Focus

Rule 7: Signal Novelty and Importance

Rule 8: Be Bold

Rule 9: Show Confidence

Rule 10: Avoid Evocative Words

Article titled “Ten Simple (Empirical) Rules for Writing Science” by Cody J. Weinberger, James A. Evans, Stefano Allesina


Happy Reading and Writing (eventually)!