Thursday, April 5, 2012

T. Joel Wade, Professor of Psychology, writes about mate attraction, effective flirtation, and factors that affect people’s decisions to end relationships

Prof. Wade tells us about his process in writing about research conducted with Bucknell students.

What writing project(s) are you working on right now?
I am presently working on two manuscripts based on research projects I conducted with Bucknell students. One manuscript deals with mate attraction techniques, specifically, an investigation of which flirtation techniques are perceived as most effective by men and women. The other manuscript deals with male and female differences in mate expulsion decisions.  This manuscript examines how differing amounts of sexual and emotional access from a partner affect men and women’s decisions to terminate a relationship.

What do you love about it?
With these two writing projects I love that I am learning new information since the manuscripts focus on areas of inquiry that are relatively uncharted in my field. Also, because the areas are uncharted I also love that I have to/get to sometimes develop explanations for findings that may not have been predicted based on the sparse literature available on the particular topic and cannot be accounted for by other theories in social psychology. 

What about it (if anything) is driving you nuts?
One frustration is having to do the writing in short bursts rather than being able to devote a significant sustained amount of time to the writing. But, that is something we all must deal with at an Institution like Bucknell, and I like teaching and working in this type of academic environment.

How would you describe your writing process?
Often, the first thing for me is to sort of rehearse things in my head, i.e., how will I open the manuscript, what type of picture do I want to paint with my introduction and with the research findings in general. Basically, I create a type of outline in my head. Then I begin to start writing. There are numerous times during my writing where I walk away from the manuscript/s also.  I find that that can be very helpful since sometimes when I walk away from the process, but still think about the particular piece, I hit upon language or a structure/format that seems to work very well for what I am trying to convey.   

What kind of feedback on your writing do you find most helpful?
The feedback that I find most helpful is feedback regarding the clarity, cohesiveness, flow of my writing, and the level of detail, i.e., is it clear, is it disjointed, is there a smooth progression from idea to idea and point to point, and is enough detail provided.

What would you like your students to know about you as a writer? 
That I enjoy writing. That it is a fundamental part of my identity as a professor, and that I do not view it as a chore.  Also, that the more you write the better you write, i.e., one can improve and grow as a writer.  I hope to continue to grow and develop.

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