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MARGINALIA: Massacre, domestication, demolition, downtrodden

MANILA (MindaNews /08 December) – “A Constructivist Examination of the Circumstances Leading to the First Spanish-instigated Chinese Massacre of 1603,” “Pungko Pungko: The Domestication of Chair in the Philippines during the Early Spanish Colonial Period (1565-1787),” “The Demolition of Art: The Destruction of Avenue Theater and Admiral Hotel in Manila,” and “The Qur’anic Concept of Mustad‘afin (Downtrodden) and Modernity’s Logic of Nation-state Sovereignty: A Postmodernist Reading” – what is common to these diverse articles about a massacre, domestication, demolition, and downtrodden? Or, is there any at all?

The authors of these academic articles – a UP-Diliman professor, a Cebuana architect, an Intramuros-based tourism officer, and an educator from Mindanao, respectively – were grouped together in the peer-to-peer article review part of a recently-held three-day academic writing workshop facilitated by two National University of Singapore retired professors in English writing and communication.

Aimed at helping the participants develop revision strategies to ready a 5,000 to 15,000-word manuscript for submission to a research journal, the workshop kicked off with two introductory lectures on “Conceptualizing and Organizing Research Papers” and “Salient Features of Academic English.”

In the first lecture, it is pointed out that journal editors are more likely to pass to reviewers a manuscript exhibiting six features, viz.: (1) a clear purpose for presenting the research findings in the manuscript’s introduction; (2) a clear sense of the intended audience; (3) a conventional organizational schema that helps readers process information as fast and easily as their reading skills and background knowledge will allow; (4) a clear research question and answer in the manuscript’s introduction; (5) clear arguments throughout the manuscript, based on the research findings, for why the answer advances a new understanding of the research topic driving the research question; and (6) language that helps readers to build a clear, concise, and coherent understanding of (i) the research question, answer, and supporting arguments and (ii) the way they are organized to carry the manuscript’s purpose for presenting them.

The first three features – purpose, intended audience, and organizational schema – were the focus of pre-workshop assignments while the other three features – research question and answer, arguments, and language – were closely examined in the lectures and workshop.

Before the concluding plenary session, the one hour individual session with both facilitators for each participant was most instructive and unique opportunity in learning the nuts and bolts of revising one’s manuscript.

This workshop is the last in the 2016 series of trainings-seminars organized by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines since last August. The earlier trainings were about historical method, doing local history, the history museum as a learning tool, and putting up a local museum.

These writings about a massacre, domestication, demolition, and the downtrodden are indeed an illustrious showcase of a continuously growing multidisciplinary trend in the academe.

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy, intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at mlimba@diplomats.com, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]

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