Activities vs. Phases

Clarity in writing is essential for successful scientific communication. A pet peeve of mine is the confusion between activity and phase, when discussing about any process, but specifically research processes based on design science.

An activity is something that you do. You applied a method. You searched the web. You went for a walk. A phase is a period of time; often you perform activities within such a period of time. If there is one phase, there probably are other phases, those that came before and/or those that came after. Having phases implies a sequencing of these phases and activities bound to them.

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To Review or Not to Review

I previously reported about a bogus review for a journal submission of ours. The submission had been rejected partly or fully based on a review that obviously had nothing to do with our paper but must have been reused from before. I had complained to the editor, but I had not got any answers for my questions.

The journal, owned by one of the prestigious non-profits in my domain, seems to be on autopilot. Today I received an invitation to review a submission for this journal.

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A Common Single-Person Research Design That Does Not Work (Well)

I’ve had some success in grant proposals with research designs for human-centered software engineering that follow the following (common) pattern. It is a three-step of

  1. Structured literature review (to create an initial theory),
  2. Action research (to build out the quickly evolving theory), and
  3. Case study research (to conclude by evaluating the theory)
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Have You Seen This Review?

We recently submitted a structured literature review to a well-ranked journal, and got a review back complaining about how badly our controlled experiment had been carried out. We inquired with the editor about this, but got no answer back. The review (by reviewer 2, no less) is so generic, I suspect it has been used many times before. I’d be curious to hear from you if you received this (same) review in the past.

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Dear Ministry, Are You Serious?

Translated from the (German) instructions on the final step of submitting a project plan for funding:

Please specify exactly how many and which publications you will publish over the next three years.

Yeah, right.

Best Practices for Page Numbers in Article Submissions

Should you add page numbers to articles you submit for review? Absolutely. Why? Because it will make it easier for reviewers to comment.

Should you have page numbers in an article you are preparing for submission? Absolutely. Why? Because your coauthors will find it easier to comment. (Not everyone will always be online; I still comment a lot on paper thanks to Deutsche Bahn and Vodafone.)

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