How a Political Scientist Writes

Quick Facts

Favorite place to write?
In my kitchen with a cup of coffee.

Favorite word?

What are you writing now?
little essay about teaching peace in the age of Trump



Lisa Baglione, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science


SJU Writes: Is your writing primarily academic?

LB: I’m working on a revision of a textbook that I have. But what I do for fun is I– and it started because of my kids and them going away to camp–I would try to think of things to write to them over the summer, so I started to write haikus. And haikus are great because you can finish one–it’s only 17 syllables–and I have started to make them so that they moreso make a whole story. And the goal is either to be very funny or evocative. A lot of times it might be just inspired by a gorgeous day. We go away to New Hampshire in the summer, so I will write something inspired by that for my daughter.

SJU Writes: How do you view the revision process of writing? 

LB: I know that we forget this as teachers sometimes, but I write on people’s papers as if I’m writing to myself. It might seem harsh, and I never really mean to be harsh. I really see the writing and revising process as a conversation, but I forget that students are new writers. Being young is wonderful on many levels, but for some of us who struggle with confidence, it’s just such a hard time, because these blows, these criticisms, can set you back. I was completely set back at various times, and as you’re older, you take what’s helpful, and you leave the rest behind.

SJU Writes: What advice would you give to students writing in your discipline?

LB: You need to find your thesis and realize that your thesis is the guide through your essay or your paper. I would say just like in any other writing, the thesis is key. Terminology and clarity is key, and then again, for all writing, find your own voice. And I say that with a smile because one of my best friends in graduate school, when I was struggling with something, she said, “Lisa, find your own voice.” I didn’t know what that meant. It took me a while. Teaching really helped me find my own voice. I say to my students, “Imagine you’re having a conversation with a friend, or at the Thanksgiving dinner table, whatever. This is how are you going to explain whatever it is to somebody else in your voice.”

—Lindsay Norton ’20