From Double Dipping to Deliberate Scholarship: Making the Most of Your Academic Work in the Digital Age

By: Kimberly Schertzer (@KASchertzer); Annahieta Kalantari (@akkalantari); Shivani Mody (@ShivaniMody); Derek Monette (@DerekMonetteMD); Anita Thomas (@yourbabydoctor)

Whether it comes from an old Seinfeld episode or poor potluck etiquette, the term “double dip” has negative connotations. However, some highly successful faculty do just that; they turn one experience into several pieces of scholarship. These faculty seem to have an understanding of the current digital landscape and unique ability to tailor one’s work to multiple digital mediums. We propose this skill is an important part of faculty development, and one way to ensure that we embrace this behavior is to change the words we use to describe it — so goodbye “double dip,” and hello “Deliberate Scholarship.” In this post we explain our rationale for developing this term and provide examples of how to harness digital technology to perform Deliberate Scholarship.

The Problem

A number of barriers and habits impede scholarship and academic productivity. Sometimes an academic project addresses a department’s concerns but does not necessarily explore a research question. In a rush to complete the project, we may not even consider distributing the final product to a wider audience. Other times, we may not recognize opportunities for scholarship that are right in front of us. For example, if you recently sat through a workshop as part of faculty development, then a summary of its learning points may be a natural fit for an education blog. The table below identifies and summarizes some of the barriers to Deliberate Scholarship.

Barrier Explanation Example
Reactionary projects Developing a project “on the fly” to solve a particular curricular need or joining a team at the last-minute and needing to meet a fast-approaching deadline. Your department asks you to develop a simulation case on sepsis before the end of the academic year. Most of your time is spent ensuring you have a case to meet the deadline instead of approaching it as a reportable intervention or a research question.
Small team size You may be one of only a few education scholars at your institution or you are the only person tasked with a project. You suspect your simulation case may also be an opportunity to discuss line infections. You consider adding an objective around this topic but, as the only person on the team, you have limited time and decide to keep the project more narrow in scope.
Small expectations Most of what we do will resonate with another educator, but sometimes we may (falsely!) assume that a project is only specific to our home institution and less amenable to publication. You’d like to assess a learner behavior before and after the case. But, you aren’t sure if other programs might need a way to assess this behavior, too, and so you table the idea for another time.
Traditional dissemination Many faculty and promotions committees still hold a limited definition of scholarship. New media and digital technology are challenging this dogma. You finally decide to write up your case for submission in an education journal. The process is time consuming and there is a delay between data collection, submission, and acceptance. By the time your work is published, the sepsis guidelines have changed and your case objectives are less relevant.

Enter Deliberate Scholarship

Deliberate Scholarship is an approach to academic work that may help you overcome these barriers. It is the intentional process of transforming one scholarly work into other formats of scholarship. It’s important for a number of reasons:

1. Our learners use a variety of media to get their information.

Many learners have a preferred medium for consuming or obtaining knowledge. Examples include reading a text or listening to a podcast. Limiting dissemination of your information to a particular medium may limit your audience.

2. You can maximize your return on investment (ROI).

Between clinical duties, academic requirements, and personal demands, we are busy people. The more we maximize the output for the time spent on one project, the better. Selfishly, productivity is important to academic promotion and our EM “brand creation.”

3. Deliberate Scholarship increases the chance of collaboration.

Just as our learners use a variety of media to acquire knowledge, potential colleagues use a variety of genres to find collaborators. Someone across the country may be working on something similar and if you put your work on the blog or Twitter feed that they use, you may make a “scholarship match,” which in turn may be just the thing you need to turn your scholarship into Multiple Wins.1

Embracing Digital Technology to Perform Deliberate Scholarship

Deliberate Scholarship is about being intentional in what you do. Although it comes more naturally for some of us than others, it is a skill that each of us can hone. Digital technology is a common denominator for many of the techniques to perform Deliberate Scholarship. There are now a myriad of platforms to submit scholarship. Below are a few broad examples for how to approach scholarship with this mindset and ways that digital technology can make this easier for you.

Repurpose with a Plan for Dissemination

Each time you are working on a project, consider other platforms for your work and how the way you present this topic may need to be adapted for those platforms. For example, blogs are ideal for bite-sized content. Podcasts allow for a deeper dive into a topic and eBooks or curated portals are well suited for more involved curricular content. Keep these platforms in mind as you begin your project.

Consider other possibilities early

We are often asked to create educational or administrative initiatives for our department, residents, or students. Even if a project does not initially address a specific research question, we can enhance our ROI by considering how you can measure the impact of your work. Are you creating a curriculum? Simple pre- and post-intervention metrics will give you data on how effective your curriculum is. Are you trying something new? Any innovation or intervention you work on can be a research publication with pre- and post-intervention metrics. These can be published in a variety of places.

Here is a simple example (courtesy of Teresa Chan): As you are writing the abstract for a traditional presentation, modify it into a handout. Then, turn that handout into a blog post. One project then results in two pieces of scholarship: a traditional talk and a blog post.

Embrace the Need to Amplify

Remember, you are doing this to get your work out there to as broad of an audience as possible. Encourage comments and feedback. Use these to launch the next step in the evolution of your project or modify to answer another question. Twitter is an excellent venue to highlight what you’ve created. There are even several online journals, blogs, and podcasts that are peer-reviewed. These can amplify your scholarship and allow you to have work that is peer-reviewed, while following the basic principles of scholarship.2


High-quality digital scholarship must match the same standards as traditional scholarship. Just as you wouldn’t submit the same article to two different journals, don’t submit the exact same product to two different digital platforms. (And don’t submit the same product to a traditional venue and a digital one!) You are encouraged to maximize the output from the work you’ve done, but don’t self-plagiarize. Build on your original work to create something that is a unique product for each digital venue. For instance, in creating a virtual simulation platform for nurses evacuating a patient during an earthquake, researchers utilized the platform for a serious games exhibition, two abstract, and platform presentation at three different international conferences, published papers on the creation of a checklist to study the product as well as studying the efficacy of the virtual simulation itself. And subsequently, the authors submitted the live simulation scenario as a medical education technical report (Thomas AA, Gray MM, Burns B, Umoren RA. EVAC: Evacuation of Critical and Vulnerable Pediatric Patients for Nurses: Technical Report. Cureus IPSS Channel. (Accepted March 2020, in press)). So from one research project, they utilized deliberate scholarship for multiple products.

Interested in more tips for getting started in a successful (and prolific) academic career? Here’s a great place to start!

Wang FY, Stankiewicz CA, Bennett NL, Myers JS. Hit the Ground Running: Engaging Early-Career Medical Educators in Scholarly Activity. Academic medicine : Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. 2019.


  1. Gottlieb M, Chan TM, Sherbino J, Yarris L. Multiple Wins: Embracing Technology to Increase Efficiency and Maximize Efforts. AEM education and training. 2017;1(3):185-190.
  2. Sherbino J, Arora VM, Van Melle E, Rogers R, Frank JR, Holmboe ES. Criteria for social media-based scholarship in health professions education. Postgraduate medical journal. 2015;91(1080):551-55.


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