The Moleskine Returns

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In writing my dissertation proposal these past months, I've not printed one article and very, very few drafts--at least on paper. Save-as-PDF and the CutePDF printer app have come in handy for programs/docs/sites with no PDF output capacity. I notate, outline, draft, and edit using Adobe on my Samsung Tab2. It's been amazing.

But something is missing: writing on paper. Sketching ideas with pen and paper creates a headspace that writing on a screen just cannot accomplish for me. Maybe it's the embodied-ness of it. Maybe it's the time sitting at a table, alone with pen and paper. At any rate, this first day of the fall 2014 term, the Moleskine returns.

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Musings of a peripatetic wannabe-sage by Laura Springer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License..

Grasping Sources - a draft flowchart

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As I write my dissertation proposal, I'm working on research process (since institutional research is my vocation). For the literature review phase, I've drafted a flowchart for sources.


There are, of course, several details beneath each box, but the most important bit I've picked up are the "NO" decisions and the "set aside" box. I've discovered the hard way that it's never too late to toss out a book or article that just doesn't fit.

Comment? Suggestions?

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Musings of a peripatetic wannabe-sage by Laura Springer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License..

Collecting versus Exploring

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 Collecting resources for the literature review feels productive. You end each session with more articles that may inform your research. Your numbers look impressive. But knowledge is what you need and a pile of articles is not knowledge. It’s just a pile of articles.

Unfortunately, it took me over a year to get this—and I still struggle. Here’s the lesson. The literature review is not about the quantity or breadth of the literature collected. It is about the substantiation of your research. You need to synthesize and critique enough literature to show that you deeply understand the context of your question and to make a strong argument for your study. That’s it.

So, the intent is not to collect literature. The intent is to explore, understand, and synthesize just the high quality literature that provides context and justification for your study. It requires no more and no less. That’s the lesson I’m learning day by day and a well-drafted literature review turned in for comment by May 12, 2014, will show that I finally get it.



Working on a thesis or dissertation? Check out the resource post.

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(C) Laura Springer
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Musings of a peripatetic wannabe-sage by Laura Springer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License..