Friday, 5 April 2013

Writing things down... what a concept

I found Keith Thomas' article this week super interesting. I'm completely unfamiliar with the concept of doing research on anything and everything that interests me and making a bank of information for when I do have a paper to write. If I were to commit to a life of academia past a masters I would probably try out his method. It strikes me as very traditional to write down excerpts, or I guess to manually write in general. These days it's so easy to search for the electronic version of texts and articles and to peruse them will our special pdf software or ipad apps. While Thomas' way may take longer, I think it is more detailed. With all his historical examples of the importance of physically writing something down to internalize it better I do believe it is a method worth preserving. Not long ago, I was still writing everything down. I'd attend undergraduate lectures with a pen and paper and sit in the first row, and this sounds crazy, but I was actually fully engaged. Our computer screens have pulled most of us away from this level of engagement, but they're fast and convenient and allow us to divide our attention in all sorts of directions. I appreciate that Thomas continues this seemingly traditional take on the literature review. As a historian, I think it's a good fit. However, as an information student technology beckons to us. Thomas, K. 2010. Diary: working methods. London Review of Books, 32(11), 36-7. []

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