Professional writing – University of Copenhagen

Professional writing: What is the range? What are the challenges?

Lecturers in higher education – like many people working in professional fields – spend a substantial proportion of their time writing documents, although they may not always describe these activities as ‘writing’. Our interest is in the nature of routine, everyday writing, as opposed to more prestigious or scholarly writing, as an integral constituent of academic practice in the experience of university lecturers. (Lea & Stierer, 2009).

Who then to bump ideas off of? Who to share our latest little discovery or epiphany? How to communicate the interest of an article or book? Where to find a reader? Who will forgive us our latest and dumbest ideas? How to feel that slight flare of getting the last word in a debate among learned colleagues. A blog can provide those things, and more besides and that's why we need more blogging, not less. ( (Mewburn & Thomson, 2013).

These quotations illustrate the various types of professional writing that researchers typically engage in, with each having its own written genres characteristics. In this workshop, we would like to explore and exchange ideas about: a) what is known about professional writing in general; b) why researchers engage in various forms of professional writing; c) the extent of researcher involvement and practice; and d) who the audience is for each type of professional learning. Equally, how can professional (and other type of) writing be communicated more effectively?

In this connection, the workshop will explore the associated notion of communication practices, particularly the use of ‘blogging’. Some questions that we will explore include: What is a blog? Are there different types of blog? Who blogs? Why do academics blog? What is the difference between an academic blog and a blog written by an academic? Is blogging an altruistic or a self-promotion act? Are there ethical considerations in blogging? What do early career researchers should know about professional writing as well as communication practices?

Your task

Before September 15 2018, please 

  1. Choose three articles and read them through. 
  2. For each article, write a brief response using this structure:

Your name: 

Your responses

Author and article number

The most interesting thing I learned


Questions it raised in my mind

At least two ideas it generated about my own research and practice

  1. Upload your responses.

Before the meeting

  1. Read through others’ responses.
  2. Compare with your own. 


(*This includes a combination of references about academic articles, reports, and blog posts.)

  1. Anson, C. M., & Forsberg, L. L. (1990). Moving beyond the academic community: Transitional stages in professional writing. Written communication7(2), 200-231.
  2. Elliot, D. L., Houston, M., Makara, K., Reid, K., & Lido, C. (2018). Enhancing the Experience of International Doctoral Researchers – Key Messages. Lichfield: UK Council for Graduate Education.
  3. Elliot, D. L., Houston, M., Makara, K., Reid, K., & Lido, C. (2018, March 23). What does supporting International doctoral learners mean?. Retrieved from
  4. Guccione, K. (2016). More than lucky? Exploring self-leadership in the development and articulation of research independence. London: Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
  5. Guccione, K. (2016, January 21). Just do it – getting a research fellowship. Retrieved from
  6. Kohn, L. (2015). How Professional Writing Pedagogy and University-Workplace Partnerships Can Shape the Mentoring of Workplace Writing. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 45(2), 166-188.
  7. Lea, M. R., & Stierer, B. (2009). Lecturers’ everyday writing as professional practice in the university as workplace: new insights into academic identities. Studies in Higher Education34(4), 417-428.
  8. Lea, M. R., & Stierer, B. (2011). Changing academic identities in changing academic workplaces: learning from academics’ everyday professional writing practices. Teaching in Higher Education16(6), 605-616.
  9. Mewburn, I., & Thomson, P. (2013). Why do academics blog? An analysis of audiences, purposes and challenges. Studies in Higher Education38(8), 1105-1119.
  10. Vigurs, K. (2016). Using Twitter to Tackle Peripherality? Facilitating networked scholarship for part-time doctoral students within and beyond the university. Fusion Journal, 8, 1-18.
  11. Walters, M., Hunter, S., & Giddens, E. (2007). Qualitative research on what leads to success in professional writing. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and learning1(2), 16.