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On themes, codes and the importance of doing analytical writing in qualitative research methods

I am really glad to be able to write more technical threads on Twitter in 2020. Technical in the sense that they pertain to stuff I have scientific and technical expertise on. I love writing about academic writing, organization and time management, research planning and execution, but writing about research methods, and in particular, qualitative research methods, is very much my jam.

I recently came across Dr. Sally Thorne (The University of British Columbia)’s editorial in the journal Nursing Inquiry Beyond theming: Making qualitative studies matter. As many of you may know, my Grandma on my Mom’s side was a nurse and I really admired her, and I also have great friends who are scholars in the nursing field. I regularly read nursing journals particularly for qualitative research insight. Thus I was fascinated with Dr. Thorne’s editorial as it touched on topics I wanted to discuss myself.

Dr. Thorne’s editorial started a great conversation with two authors who I respect a lot and who I believe are now canonical in thematic analysis: Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Braun, and Dr. Victoria Clarke. You should read the entire thread to read their responses to concerns about Dr. Thorne’s conclusion. Dr. Clarke and Dr. Braun expressed a very legitimate worry that badly-done and/or badly-understood thematic analysis may lead to its delegitimation. I do enjoy, use and respect the version of thematic analysis that Clarke and Braun do, and I understand this worry. Thorne, in her Twitter response to their concerns, expressed respect towards the thematic analysis that Braun and Clarke espouse, and I agree with her, though I also share the same concern as Braun and Clarke to some extent.

Thematic analysis, well done, is a legitimate qualitative research strategy.

My discussion of Thorne’s editorial is below.

Herein lies the rub: a number of qualitative scholars and educators fail to teach the analytical part of doing qualitative research. In her editorial, Thorne aptly points to the fact that we teach how to obtain qualitative data on the field, textually, but then we need to teach HOW TO DO ANALYSIS. Dropping categories and themes, as Thorne (2020) rightfully says, and bits and pieces of textual evidence to support our writing DOES NOT MEAN YOU’RE DOING ANALYSIS.

We need to go further, Thorne says, and I agree.

TEACH ANALYTICAL WRITING.

Thorne says, and I quote:

“for a qualitative product to be worthy of publication, I believe that it must demonstrate that it extends beyond naming categories and themes and reporting on patterns.”

YES.

We can and must show patterns, trajectories, developments, insights.

Quoting Thorne again:

“Telling your reader that you found three themes and fourteen categories and then going on to briefly describe them and provide a text excerpt example of each is hopelessly insufficient.”

Yes, this is certainly not enough to add to our understanding and the literature. You need ANALYSIS.

A really fantastic discussion on stuff that I have been droning about for ages. If you’re interested in qualitative methods, you should read this thread and the responses I got.

Posted in academia.

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On the importance of good record-keeping, considering notes as records, and the searchability function in note-taking

Writing about academic writing, planning and scheduling, organizing and time management has led me to ponder the best ways in which information can be organized and retrieved. I am, after all, someone who wanted to be a librarian since he was a child, someone who organized his parents’ personal library using the Dewey system and someone who can calculate his own Cutter numbers. Thus, information acquisition, storage and retrieval is always on my mind, even if I am not an information systems scholar.

Reading and AcWri in Everything Notebook

So, I have been pondering for a very long while about “Searchability” as a key component of studying, annotating, learning and reading. Most responses to this request point to Evernote and One Note-type digital notebooks. The key thing everyone tells me is:

I NEED SOMETHING THAT IS SEARCHABLE.

Personally, I think about searchability on a regular basis, but I almost always feel that I have that component nailed down in all my data-collection and note-taking, systematizing artifacts. Let me go through each one on this blog post. I am building off my Twitter thread below.

1) The Everything Notebook

#AcWri on the plane

I use 1/2″ adhesive, rigid plastic tabs to mark weeks in my To Do List section of the Everything Notebook. Thus, I can search for a specific week by looking at the Everything Notebook’s upper edge. This is how I achieve searchability.

By all means, doing this digitally will make your life easier because you can use your software’s Search function. The problem I have come across is that most operating systems & software’s Search functions are terrible. My laptop runs a shell that imitates Windows XP’s OS because it’s search function was AMAZING.

My other laptop and my desktop run Windows 10, which (if you have ever used it) has a Search function that sucks so bad it’s not even funny. So, I have to resort to using a shell that duplicates Windows XP’s search functions.

Anyhow… yes, being able to locate a piece of data. This is fundamental, and something that my friends and colleagues who are librarians, archivists and historians will always have in mind and possibly do as second-nature: thinking of notes as RECORDS. There are entire courses and degrees on record management and archival techniques.

Locating records requires very powerful searchability functions. Not all software has this, so I have trained myself to think of the tabs as my Search function. I know where an idea is because it’s located under “Bottled Water”, “Transnational Activism”, “Comparative Methods”

Doing searches in analog media requires an organization system that allows you to retrieve a record relatively easily. My Everything Notebook’s tabs help me do this. When I complete an Everything Notebook or a year ends, I create a Table of Contents that also helps me w/search.

2) The Conceptual Synthesis Excel Dump (CSED)

CSED and reviewing the literature

Excel Dumps, CSEDs, have two searchability functions: one is the search function, but the other one is how you have classified each column & row. I use rows for each record/piece of information/article/book chapter/book. So, I can see which articles I have read by scrolling down. I don’t use a Keywords column, but if I did, I could use that to search for a particular keyword.

3) Reference management systems (Mendeley).

Grunt work: references into Mendeley. Then memorandum. #AcWri

I use Mendeley after having tried Zotero, Endnote, Refworks. Yes Elsevier is evil and no, I’m not going to switch off Mendeley. This is settled.

Continuing off my Twitter thread:

4. Storage Systems and Cloud-Based Drives.

As I mention in my Twitter thread, I use Google Drive, One Drive and Dropbox.

5. Evernote.

I also use Evernote, as I mention above, primarily as a newspapers or URL storage system. You could totally build an entire Everything Notebook in digital form using Evernote or One Note.

SUMMARY:

In order to develop the best system for storage and retrieval of information, you need to decide what suits YOU best. While I do enjoy providing an overview of my systems to see if some of what I use can help others, I want to make something 100% clear:

I DO NOT OFFER ADVICE.

I don’t advice on almost anything simply because each person’s needs for searchability and record-management are entirely different to mine. Personally, I need both analog and digital. I do hope that this reflection may help YOU develop the system YOU prefer.

Posted in academia, productivity.

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What’s the difference between the Everything Notebook and the Commonplace Book?

"Everything Notebook Kit"I suspect everyone on this planet has had similar ideas to others, and come to the exact conclusion and concept independently. This is the case of similar approaches to my Everything Notebook concept. Someone asked if what I did was a “Commonplace Book”. When they asked, I had no idea what a commonplace book was, so lo-and-behold, I went internet-sleuthing and found several excellently-written pieces on Commonplace Books.

The photo to the right shows the key elements of my own version of the Everything Notebook, they are what I call “an Everything Notebook Starter Kit”, all sourced with Mexican companies. My Everything Notebook starter kit includes the following components:

  • A rigid cover notebook (200-300 pages)
  • A set of adhesive plastic tabs (1″ size)
  • A set of multiple-colours fineliners (0.4 mm)
  • A set of multiple-colours highlighters

I think that the key element that there are two key element that differentiate the way I devised the Everything Notebook and how most Commonplace Books may be developed.

1) My Everything Notebook ALSO has a To-Do List section.

Most pieces I’ve read on Commonplace Books indicate that they’re places where writers and artists (and others, including scholars!) dump all their ideas. That notion is exactly the same underlying my concept of the Everything Notebook. I started an Everything Notebook in grade school because I was tired of having different notebooks for various subjects. Instead, I went with using only one. However, because I was raised using a “Homework Journal” where my parents had to sign my To-Do List of homework tasks, I decided to integrate this idea into my Everything Notebook concept.

2) My Everything Notebook has an inherent searchability function thanks to the plastic rigid tabs.

I have a different post coming up on the importance of record-keeping and considering notes as records (as archivists, librarians, historians and information science specialists do), but I wanted to note how I implement Searchability in an analog object such as the Everything Notebook.

As I note here, in the Everything Notebook I assign a certain number of pages to each sectionm and I divide them using adhesive rigid plastic tabs. The larger ones (1 inch long) I use for larger items (e.g. projects or ideas, or To Do List sections), whereas the smaller ones I use to indicate “weeks of the year”

My understanding from Commonplace Books is that they are literally ideas’ dumps and therefore searchability becomes hard to obtain. However, as some of the authors whom I have linked in this post indicate, creating an index and a table of contents really does help, and this can be done both in the Everything Notebook, and the Commonplace Book.

In the end I believe these ideas always travel and we all have our own versions of the Bullet Journal, the Everything Notebook or the Commonplace Book. What becomes more important is ensuring that we adapt, adopt and implement a system that works for US.

Posted in academia.

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Developing a coherent argument throughout a book or dissertation/thesis using The Red Thread (Throughline – Global Narrative)

Two scholars I really respect and whose writing I follow quite meticulously are Dr. Pat Thomson (University of Nottingham) and Dr. William Germano (The Cooper Union). Both of them have independently developed and/or promoted ideas on how to make your full argument coherent, cogent and readable. When I first started editing my doctoral dissertation to make it into a book, I read Dr. Germano’s book “From Dissertation to Book”. I also have read a lot of the work that Dr. Thomson has written, in particular her coauthored books with Barbara Kamler. I have written before about her “Strategies to Publish Peer Reviewed Journals” here on my blog.

2016-12-18_12-27-07.S9900.c.t.macro

Red Thread (Credit:Aaron Headley on Flickr (CC-BY licensed)

The Red Thread is (from what I’ve read here, here, here, and here) a Nordic/German concept. The intellectual trajectory of a paper or a book, usually book. The overall argument. The global narrative.

As a side note and a funny anecdote: my Mom is a social scientist (a retired professor of political science and public administration, with a PhD in government). I remember when she used to tell her students: “you need to find the conductive thread” (“hilo conductor”, in Spanish). I was a chemical engineer at the time, so I was like “well, unless you’re talking electricity, I have no idea why you would want a conductive thread”. Once I started taking business strategy and later, social science (political science, human geography, history, economics) courses, I realized what she meant).

In this blog post I offer these generally-applicable pointers for book-manuscript-style dissertation writers, 3-papers thesis writers, undergrad/masters, and post-PhD book writers. To be honest, I feel that reading Thomson, Germano and Pacheco-Vega would suffice, but it never hurts to have the general patterns drawn out and spelled out as much as possible.

Writing at my home office

My full process for writing a paper

Discerning The Red Thread (Throughline/Global Narrative) from edited volumes and single/multiple author(s) books

This Twitter thread shows how I discerned these books’ RT/T/GN.

My underlying rationale for searching table of contents and introductory chapter (& concluding chapter) is the Rule of Threes in Writing:

a) Tell me what you’re going to say (introductory chapter)
b) Say it (full manuscript)
c) Tell me what you said (concluding chapter)

From the above, it should follow that reading a book’s table of content, introductory and concluding chapters should give you at the very least AN IDEA of what the Red Thread/Throughline is. Remember, this is the MAJOR argument. If your book were a fish, the Throughline is he fishbone. If you were to antropomorphize your book, the Throughline or Red Thread is the spine. The one thing keeping everything together, tying everything together.

The following Twitter thread shows how to discern the Red Thread/Throughline/Global Narrative off an edited volume.

Now, let’s do the Red Thread/Throughline/Global Narrative of a multiple-authors book.

How do *I* develop my own book/thesis/dissertation’s Red Thread/Throughline/Global Narrative?

Below, I outline Thomson’s, Germano’s and my approach to developing the Red Thread, Throughline and Global Narrative. Our approaches should work for dissertations, theses (undergrad and Masters) and single author/multiple author/edited volumes.

Posted in academia.

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On the value of writing retreats

There’s a lot of writing around about “writing retreats” and I had wanted to write about this for a long while, but I had not been able to do so until today when Dr. Katie Rose Guest Pryal asked me what I thought about writing retreats (you should read her entire thread, which starts here:

I responded with a thread of my own, but I wanted to start by saying that I travel a lot, and I try as much as I can to write every day throughout the duration of my trips. One of the main requisites that I demand from hotels is desk surface availability. That means that the room where I stay, should have at least a desk, preferably with a lot of working surface.

Desk at hotel

When I have some time (i.e. when I arrive early to a conference or workshop or field trip), I try to make the most of my travel by writing at the hotel, and taking that extended period of time as a “mini-writing retreat”. One of my favourite was the one I took in Vancouver Island in 2012.

Kingfisher Oceanside Spa & Resort (Royston, BC)

I did one of my writing retreats at the Kingfisher Oceanside Spa and Resort in Vancouver Island.

Last year, I took up a visiting professorship at IHEAL in Paris (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3) where I taught 2 very short courses (Comparative Public Policy and International Development in Latin America). I taught in Spanish, which is something very rare for me. I do most of my teaching in English, and I expected them to ask me to teach in French, or English, so when I was asked to teach in Spanish, it threw me for a bit of a loop and I ended up having to prepare class more than I expected to.

Desk at the Radisson Paraiso (Perisur, CDMX)

As most of everyone who follows me know, I’m super close to my parents, and more specifically, to my Mom. She is in excellent health (thank God!) and while she is not in any way, shape or form disabled, she’s an older person and therefore she has to be careful with her health. While living in Paris, I taught 2 days and could write the other 3 (I did take weekends off, something that I very strongly encourage people to take, if their circumstances allow). Having full days to think, research, write, etc. was glorious. Since my Mom is a professor I was able to bounce ideas off her all the time. She worked on her own stuff and I worked on mine, but we also chatted. I was able to rent a two-bedroom house in the banlieue of Paris, incrediby close to Paris (door-to-door from my house to IHEAL I did literally 35 minutes).

Holiday Inn Express Guadalajara ITESO (El Mante, Guadalajara)

Anyways… visiting my Mom on weekends (we live in different cities here in Mexico) and having a visiting professorship that gave me full days for research and fieldwork were (and one of them continues to be) two of the ways in which I carved time to write. I spend time with her. BUT I also have several very long periods of time when I can just focus on my writing. But back to her health (and mine). This year, my Mom injured one of her thumbs (the right hand one) and her two shoulders. This meant that, while she’s entirely independent, she needs help. She needs help in extraordinarily small things: reaching up to get stuff from the top shelves, tying her shoe laces, etc. Very tiny things that do not affect her independence, but that need to be done. Obviously, washing dishes and cooking become really hard to do for her. So, while I not taking care of her all day long (because she doesn’t need to, she’s healthy and in good shape), I did need to help her sometimes with small minutiae. I mention this because the long, extended periods of writing can/do get interrupted by doing these small errands.

Aztic Hotel & Suites Ejecutivas

By the way, she’s MUCH better now, thanks for asking.

Thus, responding to all 3 prompts that Dr. Guest Pryal shared, I do agree that writing retreats work. I had my mini-writing retreats in Paris (and yes, trust me, the “sitting in a cafe right by the Seine having coffee and writing” visual is a lot more theory and a lot less practice (Paris is ultra expensive and if you want to sit in a cafe and spend hours writing, expect to be paying LOTSA EUROS, which I would assume a writer wouldn’t do). In practice, I wrote a lot at home, which was glorious. It was amazing because after a long writing session, we would simply take the bus and the RER and head out to Tour Eiffel and walk around, sit down and have a coffee by the Seiine, etc. Or we would go to the Versailles Museum. Or shopping in Champs Elyseés.

Here is the BUT…

I can and could do this because my care work is on minutiae. My Mom is perfectly capable of driving and she drives herself anywhere. But I do like being of service to her, so I often drive her around on weekends. This, obviously, makes the dynamic of long-blocks-of-time difficult And I do really simple care work! I can’t even begin to imagine the challenges that parents, or folks who need to take care of themselves AND of others (the number of people I know dealing with their own disabilities AND with care work I know is staggering and I admire them much).

At the peak of my eczema/dermatitis/psoriasis/chronic fatigue/chronic pain, I was unable to THINK let alone write. I am six months behind on everything because I spent six months struggling with bad diagnoses, incompetent physicians and having to teach and fulfill my commitments. I share my life in such an open way because I believe that sharing my story may in some ways help students, faculty, practitioners, society at large. I do have some privilege, but I also face many challenges. I am just starting to get back into the groove after 6 months of pain.

In closing: do I believe in writing retreats? Sure. But I am not sure how we can organize one that could be sensitive to the needs of parents, people with care work, disabled/marginalized individuals, etc. Academia is very ableist, as I have repeatedly said.

I am grateful to Katie for asking me to share my thoughts on writing retreats, because I do believe in them, but since academic populations are so heterogeneous, we can’t generalize on their usefulness.

Posted in academia, writing.

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The Global Dissertation Narrative (GDN): a strategy to develop a final doctoral dissertation story

As I mentioned earlier on my blog., two of my PhD students are THIS CLOSE to finishing their draft and defending. This week, I sat with one of them to go over her entire doctoral dissertation. I just wrote a Twitter thread on how my (close-to-defending) doctoral students are writing their Global Dissertation Narrative (GDN), and I wanted to keep it for posterity as a blog entry.

Library Cubicles at El Colegio de Mexico

I explained to my student that she needed to develop a Global Dissertation Narrative (GDN) that clearly tells the story of her work. As my PhD advisor once told me: “research is telling stories with data”. For me, storytelling is key, and I make sure that my students learn how to do it, and how to do it well.

To avoid having to click on this thread, you can read the components of the narrative below, and you can download my template here.

Global Dissertation Narrative

Global Dissertation Narrative

Global Dissertation Narrative

So how does a doctoral student fill out their GDN template? Below, I explain in detail.

Obviously, you could easily tweak my GDN template to apply to STEM dissertations, book-style theses, undergrad and Masters’ theses AND book manuscripts. In fact, strongly believe you could totally use the DTP, the DAT and the GDN to craft your book proposal.

Hopefully many doctoral students and their supervisors will be able to test my GDN to see if it works for them. It certainly works for mine!

If you liked this blog post, you may also be interested in my Resources for Graduate Students page, and on my reading notes of books I’ve read on how to do a doctoral degree.

Posted in academia, graduate school.

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What are the differences between the Everything Notebook and the Bullet Journal?

Because of the similarity of both concepts (one notebook to organize your life), a lot of people online confuse my idea of the Everything Notebook with the Bullet Journal. I’ve tweeted about the differences between both systems quite a few times, but on this occasion I want to keep these tweets in more permanent form.

Weekly Plan

My tweets explain in a bit more detail how the Bullet Journal and the Everything Notebook differ.

Personally, I wish I had learned about the Bullet Journal before I developed my idea of the Everything Notebook, because I am sure that there are ways to make both of them work (below see an example of a Bullet Journal).

Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal (photo credit: John Uri on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed)

FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A BULLET JOURNAL AND AN EVERYTHING NOTEBOOK

The way I see them, the below are the major differences between an Everything Notebook and a Bullet Journal.

  • The Bullet Journal serves more as a planner. The Everything Notebook includes planning and project notes/field notes/random ideas.
  • The Bullet Journal has numbered pages and an index (pre-made). The Everything Notebook has rigid plastic tabs (1″) that mark different sections. Once you run out of pages with the Everything Notebook, THEN you write an index/table of contents.
  • The Bullet Journal method is very well suited for creativity/colours/etc. The Everything Notebook has colours, but mostly for writing and for differentiating sections (various rigid plastic tab colours)

In the end, you can use the Everything Notebook, or the Bullet Journal, or a commercial planner like the Passion Planner, or a combination of the first two (as many people have done, see below).

In the end, only you can know what works for you. The Everything Notebook method works for ME (and apparently, for other people too!)

Posted in academia, research.

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What kinds of things do we (I) write in the Everything Notebook?

I’m often asked to discuss one of my most popular techniques, the Everything Notebook. I have considered making YouTube videos explaining how to make one, how it operates, etc. But I end up running out of time. But over the winter break (this past one, December 2019-January 2020), I was asked what kind of stuff do I write in the Everything Notebook. I was planning my 2020, so I took the opportunity to showcase the kinds of things that I post to my Everything Notebook.

Everything Notebook

I am also experimenting with something in 2020: I am starting my new Everything Notebook WITHIN my 2019 one. Normally, I devote at least 1 Everything Notebook to a specific year. Some years I have run out of space and therefore I have to start another one, but this year, I had enough space (mostly I believe as a result of my being in Paris for the Spring term) to start the 2020 one right there and then.

So here are a few things that I write in my Everything Notebook:

1) My Weekly To-Do List.

Planning 2020

This is perhaps the one component that is similar to the Bullet Journal and one of the major reasons why people confuse both systems. The Everything Notebook, however, has both project notes AND To-Do lists in it. That’s perhaps the one thing that differentiates both systems. I am writing a blog post explaining the (rather substantial) differences, which I’ll publish soon.

2) Project Notes

When I refer to project notes, I mean notes about a particular project I am developing or commentaries about scholarship I have read. So within the “Bottled Water” section of my Everything Notebook, I may have summarized an article and dropped a few notes regarding its content, or written a few ideas about stuff I am thinking about.

I also copy suggestions on to my Everything Notebook, which I obtain from tweets answering my tweeted research-related questions online.

3. My Yearly Writing Commitments

One of the ways in which I keep track of what I am supposed to be writing is by virtue of keeping my yearly plan in my Everything Notebook. This includes my writing commitments. Within each project tab/section, I make a note regarding which projects I am supposed to be tackling related to that specific research area (in this case, discards and waste).

Obviously, the power of the Everything Notebook resides in having EVERYTHING in one place instead of scattered notes all over the place. That’s why I encourage folks to adapt my method (or if they so choose, the Bullet Journal idea!) the way they prefer. Because for me, having the To-Do lists with my yearly plan and my writing commitments and project notes, field notes, etc. is much more efficient than dedicating different notebooks to each one of these items.

Posted in academia, research, writing.

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Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How it Can Succeed Again (my reading notes)

Flyvbjerg Making Social Science MatterI have long admired Professor Bent Flyvbjerg for being an economic geographer who speaks methodologically and conceptually to many other disciplines. As someone who has been trained both in political science and human geography (with a concentration in economic geography), and who works in public administration/public management/public policy as well as comparative politics and international relations, the kind of interdisciplinary writing and thinking that Flyvbjerg is capable of doing is quite admirable and something I aspire to replicate in my own work. Having read (and used with my students and research assistants) his “5 misunderstandings regarding case studies” piece, I was very excited to read “Making Social Science Matter”. I am definitely not disappointed.

Bent Flyvbjerg uses the first 5 chapters do discuss empiricism, methodological debates, epistemology.

Chapters 7 and 8 delve into rationality and power, Aristotle, Foucault and Habermas. This analysis is important because conflict and power are at the core of what we understand as “the political” (see my paper on the politics of bottled water, Pacheco-Vega 2019, Langdon Winner on whether artifacts have politics, Winner 1980, Mark Warren on “what is political”, Warren 1999).

As an Ostrom scholar who often hears from non-Ostromians about “how Lin forgot to discuss power in her work on institutional analysis” (TL:DR; she didn’t), I often find discussions of power and Foucault rather enlightening. Flyvbjerg does excellent job of bringing them together.

Flyvbjerg basically says “let’s do social science that matters”, something I can definitely agree with. A word of caution: this is NOT a book for undergraduates and I wouldn’t even assign it in first or second year of graduate school. This is a book for advanced graduate students with some experience already doing research and for experienced scholars.

Disclosure: As with most of my books, I purchased this book with my own money and I have no financial (or other) obligations to anyone for writing about it. I just like this book and that’s why I am writing about it.

Posted in academia, research, research methods.

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How to Fix Your Academic Writing Trouble: A Practical Guide (my reading notes)

I had been wanting to transfer my Twitter reading notes about How to Fix Your Academic Writing Trouble: A Practical Guide but because of personal health issues I had not, so I am glad that I am now able to write, using January 1st, 2020 as the backdrop! I am having a coffee, and copying my Twitter notes about the Firth, Mewburn and Lehman book (to which I will refer by the unfortunate acronym FML, which also stands for F*ck My Life).

Reading writing working

Audience: faculty members, post-docs, advanced graduate students. I wouldn’t use this book with an undergraduate audience, nor with #AcWri (academic writing) beginners. The authors are very clear: we assume you already #AcWri. I would teach this book in an 8 week format, or maybe even a 1 week long workshop format.

We (everyone who writes about academic writing) tend to repeat some themes and topics all the time, but I strongly believe that Firth, Mewburn and Lehmann (FML) zeroed in on a couple of items we normally don’t discuss much:
– refining arguments
– presenting evidence

I like the conversational tone that FML maintain throughout the book (though, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t all thrilled about the use of spider diagrams and snowflake diagrams – I think these two tools merit an entire book. They’re useful, but need to be explained in detail.

I like the conversational tone that FML maintain throughout the book (though, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t all thrilled about the use of spider diagrams and snowflake diagrams – I think these two tools merit an entire book. They’re useful, but need to be explained in detail.

This means: you may want to get other 6 grad students and faculty, postdocs, etc. and follow along FML’s 7 chapters either in 7 weeks, or within an entire week (I would recommend one day per chapter, except beginning and end to fit within 5 days). Overall, a fine read.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a small token of appreciation for writing a blurb. This small gift does not affect in any way, shape or form my views of the book

Posted in academia.

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