This post is by Dr Katherine Firth who works in Academic Skills at the University of Melbourne, with a particular interest in research student literacies. Basically, Katherine is a Thesis Whisperer, like me. Unlike me, Katherine is still an active researcher in her field of 20th-century poetry. Over coffee Katherine told me about the ‘Cornell Method’ and kindly agreed to write a post. I found it enlightening, I hope you do too.
If you don’t know James Hayton’s blog, the Three Month Thesis yet, you should. James did his PhD in Physics in the nanoscience group at the university of Nottingham where he developed an interest in productivity. He now lives in Barcelona – because he can (I should would if I could!).
In this post James takes issue with the advice that many research educators, myself included, give to students: that you should write from day one. I’m always willing to listen to a contrary opinion! So take it away James, convince me I’m wrong :-)
A group of academics across the world set out in November 2011 to write a negotiated word limited of up to 50,000 words (give or take according to what you decided your focus, capabilities and commitment could be) for a book or set of academic papers. A commitment was being made to a task that is a part of our roles as academics. Writing. It can be tedious and a challenge in itself to find the time, dedicate focus, and complete in a reasonable time. So in committing to prioritize writing for the month of a November a learning curve was set, and a steep one at that.
There are times I hate writing with the heat of 1000 flaming suns, as my sister would say. Like this week, when I have been editing a 105 page report filled with statistics. It’s the kind of writing job that makes me want to stab my eye out with a pen…
Becoming a writer is also a bit like becoming a parent. It’s not until you have walked the floor with a screaming infant at 4am that you can truly understand what all the talk about ‘tiredness’ is about. But there are many aspects of parenting that no one tells you – or doesn’t think to mention. Here are some of them.
In a long, extended project like a doctoral dissertation, it’s all too easy to allow ourselves to get distracted, both by potentially interesting research ideas, and by humdrum everyday interruptions.
How can learning models help us be better writers and scholars?