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ACADEMICALLY “Developing the scholar in you�

The Monthly eNewsletter of The Scholar Mentor

November 2019 | Issue 7

LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF I am sure you have attended a dinner party, reception, or some other event where you had to introduce yourself. Simply, we usually tell our name and


where we are from, or what we do for a living. If there is more time, we offer a few more details about our lives. There is another version of this that is used to sell yourself or your ideas; it is the elevator pitch or elevator speech. In academia, imagine you have to share your research with someone in the very short time it may take to go from the 1oth floor to the first floor while on the elevator. In this brief, in the moment introduction, you want to capture the attention of the person or persons you are talking with, hoping you will get the chance for a longer conversation. This elevator pitch can be very analogous to writing the Introduction to a manuscript. What you say in the first line, first paragraph, and first page of a manuscript tells readers if they want to engage longer with your work, in essence, read your manuscript or

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--------Let Me Introduce Myself The Introduction Elements of an Introduction Twitter Post Subscribe to Academically Personalized Mentoring The Scholar Mentor Bio ---------

article. In this issue of Academically, The Scholar Mentor shares how important it is to develop and write a great Introduction for a manuscript or paper. Writing the Introduction can be challenging; however, there are some helpful hints that are shared so that you can write an Introduction that will present your work to the world. Hello, let me introduce my work!

The Scholar Mentor Newsletter is designed to advise, encourage, and mentor scholars in academic writing, and successful navigation and attainment of career goals in academe. Felicia Moore Mensah, PhD | @docmensah | #thescholarmentor |


THE INTRODUCTION Over the next few months in the Academically Newsletter-- concluding with a special Anniversary Issue next year (May 2020) – The Scholar Mentor will share insights on writing a manuscript, highlighting each "must-have" section and the content that goes into each by modeling the process using two of my published pieces. I use these two pieces because they are short yet provide clear examples, especially for the early academic writer to follow. Fields of study are different, so apply information here to develop your manuscript in the traditions of your field. Still the academic manuscript follows a very typical format. See The Anatomy of a Research Article on The Scholar Mentor Drive. Example 1 - Mensah, F. M. (2011). A case for culturally relevant teaching in science education and

lessons learned for teacher education. The Journal of Negro Education, 80(3), 296-309. Example 2 - Moore, F. M. (2007). Teachers’ coping strategies for teaching science in a “low-performing” school district. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18(5), 773-794. (Full-text of both articles on Research Gate-

Writing the Introduction To start, my writing process is not a linear one. I write all the sections at the same time and revise them throughout the development of the manuscript. However, I am offering insights about writing the Introduction. It introduces the entire manuscript. Academic readers come from a variety of fields, disciplines, and research traditions. Therefore, your Introduction is very important to inform, to motivate, and to invite readers into your study. The Introduction is written with focus and clarity to lay a foundation for the rest of the study or manuscript. The Introduction is a brief summary of the literature review that helps to provide that initial entry into your manuscript or study. The Introduction should tell us what we know and what we do not know. You want to establish within the Introduction that there is a need for your work to fill the “knowledge gap” about a particular area of research or a question that you want to address. Your manuscript should offer something new to help move your field ahead. It leads with a statement that will peek the attention of readers. For example, the opening sentence of Example 1 connects to the broader literature on multicultural education: “The literature on multicultural teacher education emphasizes the preparation of teachers for diverse classrooms, with a great deal of the literature focusing on the preparation of White teachers for communities that have been traditionally underserved” (p. 296). This is followed by a paragraph that connects the literature to my study. It tells the readers what they can expect to learn and how my study (manuscript) addresses issues in multicultural teacher education: “... two major tensions within the field - the demographic tension: how best to prepare teacher candidates for increasingly diverse schools, and the effectiveness tension. The effectiveness tension is the one that connects to this current study” (p. 296).

Felicia Moore Mensah, PhD | @docmensah | #thescholarmentor |


Following this, I continue with the literature review for the Introduction, where I put authors in conversation with each other. I have authors talking to each other as I also participate. Our discussion is about the field of multicultural education. I discuss how we use multicultural education in teacher education. Because culturally relevant teaching is the Theoretical Framework (January issue) for the study, I explain what it is and argue for its benefit for student learning. While culturally relevant teaching is used in teacher education, my main argument is that it is not used very much in content specific teacher education, namely science education. Here is where I identify the knowledge gap and how my study specifically addresses a need and extends previous work on culturally relevant teaching (CRT): “Ladson-Billings in her initial interpretation of culturally relevant teaching did not focus on science. Content specific application of culturally relevant teaching seems to be the missing link in the research literature on CRT and teacher education” (p. 297). Here, I bring together multicultural education, CRT, and science teacher education. I state the main purpose and introduce the specific focus of my study: “This current study argues for the teaching and learning of CRT principles in science teacher education as a means of preparing all teachers and for the application of CRT in elementary science classrooms. The study in particular focuses on three elementary pre-service teachers' experiences in planning, teaching, and assessing a Pollution Unit in a 4th-5th grade science classroom and how they incorporate principles of culturally relevant science teaching. The study examines what the process was like for learning and enacting culturally relevant teaching in science for these three teachers, and how successful they were in promoting academic success, cultural competence, and critical consciousness for them as teacher learners in a science methods course and for urban students in an elementary science classroom” (p. 297). Finally, I end the Introduction with my two research questions: “The research questions that guided this study were: What supports are needed in the preparation of pre-service teachers who focus on planning, teaching, and assessing science lessons and teaching in culturally relevant ways? What lessons are learned in preparing pre-service teachers to incorporate culturally relevant teaching in urban elementary science classrooms and their learning to become culturally relevant science teachers?” (p. 297). The overall structure for the Introduction in Example 1 has several parts. The Introduction, the Literature Review, the Theoretical Framework, and the Research Questions, which are useful to include in the Introduction; the Research Questions are sometimes mentioned in the Purpose Statement, or at the end the Theoretical Framework, or prior to the Methods. Putting all these parts in the Introduction was the approach I took for this particular manuscript, and each part must be in a manuscript. Let’s look at Example 2, which is slightly different in style. The opening sentence of Example 2 is: “It has been more than fifty years since the Supreme Court effectively ended legal segregation of public schools with Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, 1954” (p. 773). Felicia Moore Mensah, PhD | @docmensah | #thescholarmentor |


I continue by discussing segregation-resegregation in schools and how this effects teaching and learning, and teacher professional development. The discussion continues in how demographics, the global economy, and technology influence teacher development. I end the Introduction with a description of the study. I give a hint of my research questions, and I present a final statement of the objectives of the study: “This study describes how three secondary science teachers use their personal knowledge and experiences of students, teaching, and their school district to cope with teaching science under stressful situations associated with economic, social, and institutional factors. I was interested in describing how teachers cope with teaching science in a predominantly African American ‘critically low-performing’ school district. I was also interested in learning if multicultural approaches to teacher professional development for the science teachers in this study would be beneficial or complementary to their current science teaching practices. This study seeks to answer the first concern and then presents multicultural approaches as possibilities for science teacher professional development as a second objective” (pp. 774-775). Three Elements of an Introduction Though the Introduction in the two examples have a slightly different format, there are common elements to include in your Introduction: (a) a brief summary of the literature that connects to your study; (b) a research question that derives from that literature; and (c) a brief explanation of how you will answer that research question. You may have to define terms if necessary, and it is good to include them in the Introduction, too. In my process of writing, I return to the Introduction several times as I write other parts of a manuscript, and especially when I finish the manuscript. The Introduction is your elevator pitch to invite readers into your study. It is how you introduce your work, so you have to give enough, but not too much, to entice them to read your manuscript, and hopefully cite you! As a general formula, the Introduction is about 500-800 words, or 1.5-2.5 double-spaced pages. I encourage you to follow APA formatting rules, or the style of the journal that you are targeting for submission of your manuscript. This will allow you to practice the formatting style and to get familiar with using it. It will save time as you make fine edits of your manuscript prior to submission. As you read the literature, or other studies, start paying more attention to the Introduction and how authors have written theirs. You may learn about the different approaches and styles, but also see if they have the critical elements The Scholar Mentor has shared. There is some liberty to allow for individual expression; however, knowing your field of study and the target journal for your manuscript submission, this will give you a better sense of what your Introduction might look like. Now, it’s your turn. Take that manuscript you are working with and apply the insights shared on writing the Introduction! How will you introduce your work?

The Introduction is your elevator pitch to invite readers into your study. It is how you introduce your work.

Felicia Moore Mensah, PhD | @docmensah | #thescholarmentor |


Twitter Post Tweet what you learned to @docmensah #writingtheintroduction #thescholarmentor

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December 2019 Issue: The Literature Review January 2020 Issue: Theoretical Framework February 2020 Issue: Methods March 2020 Issue: Discussion & Implications April 2020 Issue: The Conclusion Special Anniversary Issue May 2020!

Felicia Moore Mensah, PhD | @docmensah | #thescholarmentor |


Need Personal Attention? Email The Scholar Mentor [] to set up your "FREE" 15-min Virtual Mentoring Session! After answering a few questions and talking with you about your needs, The Scholar Mentor will send you a Personalized Academic Mentoring Program, with payment options to fit any budget. “Developing the scholar in you� - See TSM website for details. Current Bio Felicia Moore Mensah, Ph.D. I have an exceptional and very successful record in advising doctoral students and developing early career scholars. I enjoy teaching and serving as a mentor and coach to my students and many others I adopt along their academic trajectory. I also work with junior faculty, assisting them in obtaining tenure and promotion and improving classroom practice. From my 15+ years in the academy, I have personal stories and insights to make your journey less frustrating and more pleasurable. I have published extensively in top-tier academic research journals, written book chapters, and developed curriculum materials, teacher resources, and other scholarly products. As a researcher, my work addresses issues of diversity and equity in science teacher education, with an emphasis on culturally relevant teaching, multiculturalism, and critical theories. As a workshop provider, I can design a program that meets your particular needs for student, teacher, and faculty development. Let me develop the scholar in you! Like The Scholar Mentor on Facebook, Follow on Twitter & LinkedIn, Visit the website.

Felicia Moore Mensah, PhD | @docmensah | #thescholarmentor |


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Academically eNewsletter November 2019  

The Introduction is a brief summary of the literature review that helps to provide that initial entry into your manuscript or study.

Academically eNewsletter November 2019  

The Introduction is a brief summary of the literature review that helps to provide that initial entry into your manuscript or study.