Getting your idea across to Your Reader is an art form!
Some days it can seem like just one paragraph is a mammoth effort… and that Your Reader is a million miles away!
The trick is to carefully determine who your audience is… and be mindful of preparing your writing specifically for them. Get to know Your Reader!
- What are the characteristics of Your Reader. Can you profile Your Reader? You will want to know exactly where your target lies and how to capture their literary attentions.
- Why would Your Reader be bothered to read your text? Communicating clearly and engagingly with Your Reader is your primary focus.
Short gripping and rich grabs are important handles for Your Reader
Your Reader probably reads in short grabs… most use the punctuation to guide them… but generally it is a grab of 5-10 words at a time…Then, Your Reader pauses to comprehend… and then they go on… and read a bit more… to the next few words… so every few words needs to be rich and meaningful.
Experiment: Pause for a moment now… reflect on how you read new text…? Will Your Reader have a reading pattern like you do… if so, write like you read! If not, adapt to match your writing style to suit Your Reader.
Aim for sentences with about 7 words or less! That way, Your Reader stays engaged, enthralled and most of all – awake!
- Use punctuation to guide Your Reader through the narrative pathway you have carefully designed.
- Make sure that your sentence construction is complete, and that you don’t leave the story line hanging… with an unfinished idea.
- Make sure that what you have written will convey the message you want it to convey, and that it is not possible to misconstrue the content.
- Don’t use sarcasm or double meanings in text… unless you are an expert story teller (most of us are not).
- Ideally a paragraph will be about 200- 300 words long, depending on Your Reader, and the complexity of the ideas, or depth of discussion in your paragraph. (Don’t worry – references are not included in the word count)!
- Use a referencing style that is acceptable to Your Reader. For example, a numbered referencing system might help to keep the text more readable for some audiences, while other readers want to see names and dates of references in text. Use some referencing software such as Endnote, so that your referencing is consistent throughout.
- Each paragraph needs to tell a concise and discreet part of the larger story that you are telling to Your Reader. Make sure your join the dots!
- Remember: The first sentence sets the scene for the paragraph. It indicates the big idea you are dealing with, and it outlines the topic or main theme for the discussion you are about to outline.
- Then, add one, two, three… (or reluctantly/ cautiously …maybe four) supporting sentences. Include evidence to back up your main topic/ main idea or main theme.
- The final sentence should conclude the paragraph. Summing-up the idea in a convincing crescendo. So Your Reader will have a ‘Arhhh’ moment, capturing the essence of message. Your Reader will want to feel as though they understand your idea. If Your Reader completes reading the text of your paragraph and then feels ‘dumb’, doesn’t get the gist of your idea… or is bored by it; then your haven’t conveyed a convincing message yet. Re draft, and try again!
- Each paragraph in the body of a piece of writing needs to contain three distinct elements: an idea, enough convincing evidence and a summary.
- And remember Your Reader is probably reading on an electronic device – computer, iPad, smartphone… so, write for the screen not the page!
Here are some two resources to help you structure a paragraph for your #300words this week!
- Paragraph-writing fact sheets for academic writing. Getting back to the basics.
- Writing a thesis – a great writing guide here: http://betterthesis.dk
Acknowledgement – The Burger Image for this blog is from the following writing resources team…. check it out – handy tips! http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/paragraph_hamburger
Do you get stuck for words… or find that you are over using a word… however nice it sounds, or clever it seems?
Where can you find other words… when you need them. It can be especially challenging if you are writing in English language, but it is not your first language…Here are some websites to trigger your imagination and help you find the right word to describe the mental health phenomenon you are writing about!
- Dictionary… https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/ http://www.webster-dictionary.org/
- Thesaurus… http://www.macmillandictionary.com/about_thesaurus.html
- Colour thesaurus… http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/color
- Number thesaurus… http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/number
- Emotions thesaurus… http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/emotion
- Bloom’s taxonomy… https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/
- Medical dictionary of health terms… https://www.health.harvard.edu/a-through-c
- Mental health glossary… http://www.wamhinpc.org.uk/glossary-of-mental-health-terms
- WHO’s lexicon of mental health terms… http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/39342/1/924154466X.pdf
- Glossary of psychological terms… http://www.apa.org/research/action/glossary.aspx
Have you hit a writing roadblock already?
Here is how to fix it!
- Read more widely – find some new sources about your topic… a different journal from a different publisher than the one you usually select from! Broaden your horizons – just be sure that you are not selecting from a weak or unreliable source or publisher. Try a different database…
- Ask your librarian to help you with a search for relevant sources… they will probably be able to surprise you with a new search strategy… they are experts in finding the right literature to match the right question.
- Review the reference list of your already gathered literature… are there some articles that you have overlooked that might also be helpful.
- Visit the WHO mental health website they have some interesting mental health publications that might widen your approach to the topic.
- Ask yourself about the setting/context you are writing about… is it local, regional, national, or international. Do you need to expand a little further… Discuss in the local context in a wider setting perhaps, then compare and contrast between your setting in the context of a wider geography/demography.
- What is the clinical relevance of your writing. Is there a clinical implication you can state and discuss.
- Surf a little on reseachgate! Search about your topic area… are their some interesting authors you can follow, have they shared some resources that are useful to stimulate your thinking further?
- Check out the twitter action about current healthcare conferences… search a relevant # You can find them here:
- https://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/conferences/ Do something else… try again tomorrow! But, DO try again! Some days are not as easy to be sufficiently creative as other days.. for lots of personal, professional reasons… or just because the ideas have not percolated sufficiently and processed enough yet in your own mind. Time will fix that – be patient with yourself, don’t give up and just be kind enough to yourself : take a walk… outside… listen to some outside nosies… feel some outside air on your face… view the skyline… stretch… come back to it all again tomorrow – or the next day!
- Talk to a trusted colleague… ask for their tips about overcoming writing block. And, above all – you should know that this is normal! Even the best and most prolific authors have moments of self doubt, block and believe it not …. they too can be stuck for words! So, you are in good company!
Here goes – putting the challenge out there to mental health researchers, scholars and practitioners…
During the month of August – write a paper! In a team – alone… just write.
Just 300 words on Monday, Wednesday and Friday… for just 3 weeks… 2700 words later – you have a manuscript… ready for peer review… or a book chapter ready to contribute… or a professional society magazine article ready to submit… or a blog… or a pod cast… or a case study for a new course…. it… is… that… easy!
Each week until the end of August, I will be posting tips and curating ideas of others to motivate and encourage writers through the month. Keep an eye on:
- https://twitter.com/RhondaWilsonMHN or @rhondawilsonmhn
Why write? Because…
If you are a researcher – you have been entrusted with data derived from human participants… you are ethically bound to disseminate… and the way you manage your research communications and disseminate your discussions, methods and results is critical to the development of sound evidence based practice. What you do informs practitioners, educators and policy makers and helps them ensure they can utilise information to improve human health – you owe it to your participants and society! Check out this paper about advocacy and dissemination if you need more convincing!
If you are a scholar and educator – you have been entrusted with students – the future of mental health care delivery lies in your hands. How you teach… how you motivate your students to learn… the pedagogy you use… the philosophy you use… the cases and activities you have success with… this all matters greatly! Write about your teaching practice, your teaching and learning research, review and discuss curriculum. Without your knowledge, the future of mental health care hits the brakes… you owe it to your students… and your careers!
If you are a clinician – you have been entrusted with providing care to some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Your practice knowledge is vital to the successful implementation of mental health care globally. How do you deliver care? What pressing clinical matters do you deal with everyday? Where do we succeed? Where do we need to improve? How do you be an excellent, caring practitioner? What case studies do you deal with as real life human stories? Where does the ‘rubber hit the road’? your practical knowledge is valuable and needed. There are plenty of opportunities to share it! Ethically. And… you owe it to your patients, consumers, service users, carers and to the discipline you represent.
What should you write:
- a case study
- literature review
- a critique of the method you are working on
- a clinical guideline
- a learning plan
- your story
- a practice review
- an analysis of a technique
- the list could go on… add your own idea, or contact me if you would like some feedback on an idea brewing in your mind!
Join the fun…and the collegiality of writing together – but apart… encouraged and motivated in the rather lonely work of dissemination. It is my intention to have some fun with writing this month… I hope you will come on the journey with me… and who knows… we may do humanity some good, as we do! Follow on… and pick up your pen… tap on your keys… ready, set – WRITE!
Explore, Build and Connect workshop
Philosophy and knowledge development pedagogy
The philosophy for this workshop is a participant -centred learning design and this aligns with person-centred approaches to mental health care, aligning practice, innovation and research with participant learning experiences in a unique and relevant way.
The pedagogy for learning and knowledge development in this workshop is underpinned by an Explore, Build and Connect framework that is suitable for face-to-face and online learning formats (Alkhaldi et al., 2016; Gallo, 2011; Howatson-Jones, Thurgate, Harnett, Thompson, & Jordan, 2013; Lau, 2011; Paliadelis et al., 2014; Wilson & Hungerford, 2015). The framework will help in building consistent and equitable learning experiences across groups, and will assist workshop leaders to provide participants with a satisfying learning experience.
This framework accommodates a storytelling and case based approach to learning about the topic areas and facilitates opportunities for participants to reflect on their knowledge development as they imagine clinical, innovation and research applicability (Paliadelis et al., 2014). The use of an explore, build and connect framework integrates learning across all three learning domains and this approach builds a common learning scaffold between learning/ knowledge development interactions during face-to-face sessions, and as work integrated learning to transform practice. Thus, knowledge is formed and shared using social interactions in to build a collective intelligence among participants (Lau, 2011). Internet-based learning resources including social media, and forum discussion extend the knowledge exchange methods that promote the development of moral reasoning for health professionals and provide a practical skill set for participants who will increasingly be required to blend not only their learning across digital and real life domains, but also their clinical practice in digital and face-to-face domains (Arrigoni, Alvaro, Vellone, & Vanzetta, 2016; Rolls, Hansen, Jackson, & Elliott, 2016; Wilson, Ranse, Cashin, & McNamara, 2013).
But first… Mindful preparations… with a cup of coffee!
To explore new ideas, build new knowledge based on evidence and connect new knowledge to transformative practice. The idea is – you will need some peers and colleagues to share your ideas with… and to listen to others ideas… to co-produce a shared knowledge.
At the end of this session you will:
- Have had the opportunity to explore and discuss new concepts related to the topic with peers in a safe environment where ideas are valued, and vulnerability with new material is respected.
- Have participated in building a new shared and co-produced knowledge with a small group of peers.
- Have been exposed to compelling evidence (or significant knowledge gap) to support new ideas, and/or new questions to develop & transform evidence base or practice.
- Have an opportunity to interrogate some evidence and propose how it aligns, or misaligns with practice, innovation or research frameworks and agendas.
- Connect the new knowledge that has been co-created, to practical and transformative settings.
- Take-away (or transact) a new applied knowledge that has been developed using group-based co-creative and transformative processes, for application within a community of practice.
What do we mean by Person-centred Mental Health….?
A person-centred approach is concerned with human connectedness: the capacity for feelings to be received and understood, and lives to be revealed… illuminates the needs of the person with a mental health condition, her or his family, carers and clinicians through an interactive process of dialogue & information exchange (Procter et al, 2014)
Digital interventions are defined as programs or resources that provide information and/or emotional, decisional or behavioural support for health problems using a digital platform for delivery such as a website (Alkhaldi et al., 2016).
Blended care is a strategy that combines traditional face-to-face or centre-based services with digital or mobile technology strategies
Digital literacy refers to the basic information technology skills and literacy required to utilise and interact with others via digital technologies. These include communicating and navigating successfully using the Internet, computers, digital telephones and email.
Web 1 Content is website owner written and managed. Access is provided to users who choose to go to the site and receive information. Passwords can be used to restrict access to a selected target group. Web 1 represents the first iteration of the Internet.
Web 2 is defined as Internet based application for user-generated content that is an interactive component of web-based communication platforms. Social media channels are an example of web 2.
Mobile devices include mobile or cell telephones, smart phones, tablets and notebooks.
Telepsychiatry is frequently referred to as video-linked service between health services where the consumer or patient and/or carer is in one location, while the specialist mental health practitioner/s are in a separate location.
Pause….Where is your phone?
Where is your smart phone? How often is it within reach? How convenient is it to use day or night?
Can you accessing health information anytime you want? Is it convenient? Desirable? Does it have any limitations?
Explore the topic
- In small groups of 3 or 4 use your smart device or laptop to gather relevant information about person centred E mental health care. You are free to explore any aspect of the topic area that you want to. You should explore a combination of best practice evidence and popular views.
- Prepare to share your information with the whole group later.
Here are some links to prompt a start… you might find other interesting information as well… relax… explore the topic… enjoy the journey.
- https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/factsheets/).
- Google scholar
- … and a personal favourite http://mindhelper.dk/
Imagine for a moment that you are concerned about your partner or child who you think may have depression. Using the web browser of your choice, search for the Black Dog Institute and look for general information that describes depression and its treatment. What resources did you find? How suitable were they for providing basic information? Were they easy to find? What digital skills and hardware types did you need to access this information?As an E health care professional, how can you support people to gather the information useful to them to help them, and the people they care for? Discuss.
Build your knowledge
Think back to a time when you have utilised online websites or apps to gain some health related information for your personal use. What was your experience of gathering web-based information like?
Were you satisfied that you located good quality information? How did you know you could trust the information? Or, were you suspicious about the quality of information you found? Did you find conflicting advice and if so, how did you decide which advice was correct?
If you were successful in your online search for health information, what digital literacy skills did you need to be successful? How did you develop those personal skills? How would you assist others without these skills to obtain good quality health information? As an E health professional, what codes of practice will you need to be mindful of to ensure that you provide safe advice about health to people seeking your professional assistance?
Share the information you have discovered as a small group with a larger group.
Together…discuss the concepts, interrogate the evidence base, and develop and synthesise knowledge about the topic.
Connect your shared knowledge to the practical settings where you work and study.
Think back to the last time you called a service provider and were greeted by an automated phone service and menu.
How did you feel as you listened and made your way through the selections available?
Did you want to ask a question, but couldn’t? Did you want to talk about something slightly different to the categories offered? Did you feel like your enquiry was going to fit with the options available?
Or, would you have liked a different option that was not suggested? Did you fit into the menu available to you?
Did you mind having to select numbers and follow instructions? Was it convenient? (And if so; to who?) What emotions did you experience? Ambivalence? Frustration? Anger? Unintelligent? Confused? Happy? Helped? Content? Reflect on your experiences and feeling about your experiences?
Drawing forward your own learning from your own reflection on this type of experience, how do you think you would be able to assist a person with a mental health problem (or their carer) in this type of context? How will you engage with them positively? Can you see any barriers or enablers to automated services in a mental health context? Discuss with your peers.
Imagine you are planning a brief E mental health education intervention for a carer or a person experiencing an episode of depression using resources from Beyond Blue and/ or the Black Dog Institute websites, using mobile technology such as a smart phone.
What preparation will you need to do beforehand?
How will you convey the information and resources you have found to your clients?
How will you select appropriate information?
What education goals will you set?
How will you know your intervention has been effective and helpful?
How will you guide and facilitate the health learning experience?
Map your collaborative ideas…
- In group discussion identify the practical skill set to apply knowledge in the clinical setting; innovation setting and research setting.
- In the group discussion – explore collaboration using a SWOT model strengths; weakness, opportunities; threats.
- Think about a direct application to clinical e practice and person-centred mental health recovery. And, application to carer support and mental health promotion.
- Consider application to safe practice, culturally inclusiveness and ethical care provision across the lifespan.
Synthesis: A community of practice…
Summarise your new applied knowledge that has been developed using group-based co-creative and transformative processes, for application within a community of practice.
My Samples include:
- Design and user experience matters
- Human connection matters
- Safety matters
- Do with (not to) matters
- Evidence based practice matters
- Practice informed evidence matters
- Person, always first, and last.
But … what did you learn?
What are your top three take-aways from this session that will inform the way you work towards person-centred e mental health care?
What else do you need to do/read/learn to strengthen your professional development for this topic area?
Start your transformative To Do list here:
Looking back – what advice would you give your first year self… hear are some of the things I would have liked to have known more about!
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