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RIA # 18: Dr. Tara Gray on Publish & Flourish


Dr. Tara Gray

Dr. Tara Gray

On this episode, Katie is joined by Dr. Tara Gray, who serves as associate professor of criminal justice and as the first director of the Teaching Academy at New Mexico State University (NMSU). The Teaching Academy seeks to improve student learning by providing NMSU educators with professional development in teaching, scholarship, leadership and mentoring. The Academy helps them develop extraordinary teaching lives embedded in exceptional careers. Tara was educated at the United States Naval Academy, Southwestern College in Kansas and Oklahoma State, where she earned her Ph.D. in economics by asking, “Do prisons pay?” She taught economics at Denison University before joining the Department of Criminal Justice at NMSU. She has published three books, including Publish & Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar. She has been honored at New Mexico State and nationally with eight awards for teaching or service. Tara has presented faculty development workshops to 10,000 participants at more than 120 venues, in thirty-five states, and in Thailand, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Transcript (.docx)

Show Notes

Would you like to incorporate this episode of “Research in Action” into your course? Download the Episode 18 Instructor Guide (.pdf) or visit our Podcast Instructor Guides page to find additional information.

Segment 1: How faculty development centers can help researchers [00:00-9:11]

In this first segment, Tara describes the work of Centers for Teaching and Learning and shares examples of programming, resources, and services that can offer assistance to faculty researchers.

In this segment, the following resources are mentioned:

Segment 2: Writing and research accountability [9:12-20:24]

In segment two, Tara talks about factors that impact scholarly productivity and shares tips for sharing your work with others.

In this segment, the following resources are mentioned:

Segment 3: Concrete tips for productive writing [20:25-31:24]

In segment three, Tara offers suggestions for setting up a daily writing practice, forming a writing group and tracking your time writing.

In this segment, the following resources are mentioned:

Bonus Clip # 1: How Publish & Flourish came to be [00:00-3:43]

Bonus Clip # 2: Tips for Engaging Experts for Feedback on Your Work [00:00-2:13]

To share feedback about this podcast episode, ask questions that could be featured in a future episode, or to share research-related resources, post a comment below or contact the “Research in Action” podcast:

Twitter: @RIA_podcast or #RIA_podcast
Voicemail: 541-737-1111

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The views expressed by guests on the Research in Action podcast do not necessarily represent the views of Ecampus or Oregon State University.


  • Katrin says:

    Dear Katie Linder, Dear Tara Gray,

    thanks for your writing advice! I am however wondering, whether you can recommend any software that supports/implements the style of writing you describe. For example: One that allows tagging/markup of sentences as “topical”, so that as a document evolves, one can keep track of what type of sentences one has constructed already. I know this is possible with coloring, but that carries no meaning that the software could understand. A kind of annotation layer.

    The software should for example be able to draft an abstract like automatically, based on what I have marked up in the document.

    I know that there are similar tools for prose — for example — but do you know of any that are specifically geared towards scientific/technical writing, or at least not constrained to prose?

    Thanks for any hints 🙂

  • Katrin – this is such a great question and I love the examples that you shared. I haven’t seen anything like you describe specifically for scientific/technical writing, but I’ll ask our Twitter community if they know of anything.

  • Tara Gray says:


    Thank you for your comments! I immediately bought the Hemingway application and used it! Now my writing will be even more like his!

    My most technical writing came in at Grade 15 (OK) for readability and my least technical writing came in at Grade 8 (good). I am pleased with the results and can use the application’s criticisms to further shorten and tighten my prose. THANK YOU!

    As for the kind of software you are looking for, I know of none. I can tell you, however, that I personally don’t want software that creates abstracts because I have my own system for writing them that works great! After some prep work, as described below, I can write a better abstract in an hour than I used to write in a day. It goes like this:

    Mark every key sentence in your work and make a list of *only* those sentences. Then read the list three times. First, make sure each sentences contributes to communicating the thesis statement to the audience. Delete sentences that don’t. Then, read again to ensure the sentences are organized–logical and coherent. Having done the prep work, read the sentences a third time cutting out all the key sentences that don’t belong in the abstract until you have about 5-7 sentences. Then re-write these sentences until they read as if they were written to be read together and presto! you have an abstract (not to mention an organized and coherent paper that communicates the purpose of the paper clearly to the audience.

    For more information, see Publish & Flourish: Become a Prolific Author, which is available for sale at

    Thanks again for writing!

  • Katrin says:

    I’m glad I could help! Thanks for the return advice 🙂

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