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Search Results for: workflow

What does Joli Jensen’s “low stakes, constant contact with a writing project” mean in practice?

One of the best books I’ve ever read about academic writing was Joli Jensen’s “Write No Matter What“. Ever since I read it, I pondered, “what does ‘constant, low-stakes contact with a writing project‘ mean, in practice?” This notion of regularly contributing to a piece of writing, even if it’s not daily writing, was one [...]

Backcasting a Revise-And-Resubmit (R&R) manuscript

This morning, as I was reflecting on a topic I’ve been mulling over (what does Joli Jensen mean by “constant contact with a writing project entail”?), I reviewed potential blog posts I could pre-schedule, and realized that there’s one that I give very little play, even though it’s a really good one: my reverse-planning technique [...]

Note-Taking Techniques

My students often ask me for advice on how to take good notes. This is a hard task to comply with because, well, it’s been a very long while since I’ve taken a class/course. BUT I do take notes of stuff I read, so this compilation of blog posts should be useful.
Reading, highlighting, annotating, [...]

A brief guide to using Mendeley as a reference and citation manager and as an aid to write scholarly papers

When I was in graduate school, I discovered Endnote. Not only did I discover it, I actually bought a copy at the student price and became absolutely dependent on it. I taught courses to my fellow graduate students on how to use Endnote. I wrote my PhD dissertation using Endnote, as well as many, many [...]

The October 2018 #AICCSED Reading Challenge (read one article a day)

One of the biggest issues we seem to have as academics (be it practitioners, students, faculty, post-docs, contingent faculty) is carving the time to read. I’ve written before about the importance of reading systematically (every day, if possible), and about the legitimacy of reading as a key component of academic writing. Well, here’s my challenge [...]

An improved version of the Drafts Review Matrix – responding to reviewers and editors’ comments

This 2018 I promised myself I would do things better and take time to reflect on how my processes have evolved and therefore, I wanted to share a couple of improvements I made to the Drafts Review Matrix I discussed in previous years. This time, I’ll share also a couple of things I do with [...]

Writing a book review

Writing book reviews, to me, feels as the service we all ought to provide other scholars. I don’t post actual reviews on my website (instead, I post my reading notes because I don’t know if my notes are detailed enough to be an actual review, and whether I’ll do justice to the author), but I [...]

Pushing against Taylorism in academia: Say no to the “billable hours” concept

Before I became an academic, I worked for a consultancy company. As you may know, you bill your time (much like lawyers) by the hour. The main currency of work in consulting is your hourly rate and the number of hours you work. I didn’t really like that approach, but I ended up continuing [...]

Four strategies to help build an academic writing routine

While I have a couple of blog posts pending (both by request, on how to prepare for comprehensive exams and how to build a research trajectory and a project pipeline for early career scholars), I wanted to write a post on something that I get asked about quite frequently. I arrived to the daily writing [...]

How many sources are enough? Six questions on breadth and depth of literature reviews

The first question I posed in the title of my blog post is one that all of my students (undergraduate and graduate) and most of my research assistants ask me: how do I know when I’ve read enough for a literature review? The answer is never clear cut, unfortunately. I am someone who loves reading, [...]

Writing a memorandum based on a synthetic note

In previous posts I have addressed how to write rhetorical precis (very brief, four sentence summaries of the reading you are doing), synthetic notes (brief summaries of articles, focusing on the Abstract, Introduction and Conclusion as per the AIC method), and memorandums (longer, 1000-2000 word briefings that synthesize the content of an article, but also [...]

They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing (my reading notes)

When I wrote my blog post on how to properly teach our students how to do Description vs Analysis in their academic writing, I linked to a number of resources. The one that Dr. Omar Wasow (Princeton University) recommended was “They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing“, edited by Gerald Graff and [...]

Writing an annotated bibliography

One of the research products I find most useful for an academic, short of openly-accessible datasets and code for replication is the annotated bibliography. As I have noted before, I consider the annotated bibliography an intermediate step between a bank of rhetorical precis, a bank of synthetic notes, and a fully-developed literature review.

I consider [...]

Using prompts to motivate writing: Five strategies to get some words out

I just came back from a week in Paris attending a meeting of field experiments’ scholars, and I took the opportunity to do some fieldwork. There are perfectly good reasons why I study French water governance, specifically in Paris, but that discussion is reserved for another post.

When I do fieldwork or when I am [...]

Move Every Paper Forward Every Day (MEPFED) vs Work on One Project Each Day (WOPED)

For many years, I have advocated the Move Every Paper Forward Every Day (MEPFED) model of working. The MEPFED model basically says “every day, insert something related to each one of your research projects/papers on your To-Do list, so that collectively, every week you’ve moved most/all of your work forward“.

MEPFED has worked for me [...]

The Everything Notebook

I am very analog in everything I do, and research activity and workflow planning isn’t the exception. I don’t carry around many planners, nor do I dump everything in a cloud-based service like Evernote: I have a trusty Everything Notebook, where I schedule tasks I have to carry out for my research and teaching and [...]

Reading Strategies

This set of blog posts is intended to help undergraduate students, graduate students, and academics of all stripes find the best approach for them to read the ever-growing heaps of material. I’ve also collated here a couple of posts on time management.
Legitimising reading as an integral part of the academic writing process.

I’ve always [...]

Different reading strategies II: Engaging at the meso-level

In my most recent Twitter poll, I asked what I could write about that would be most helpful to my readers (many of which are undergraduate and graduate students). I was asked to continue writing about reading strategies. The previous post I wrote on was what I think is the fastest technique you can use [...]

Different reading strategies I: Skimming, scribbling and crosslinking

While I took a course in speed reading when I was very, very young (probably 8 or 9 years old, at the most), and I can speed read, there are times when I, too, find myself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of reading I need to do. While I’ve written before on how you can [...]

6 strategies to focus on writing (or research)

If there’s a downside to being a polymath is that everything looks interesting. If I don’t control myself (and I have to be quite strict about this), I can easily spend hours down the rabbit hole of Twitter and Facebook, or the depths of the internet. Distractions come easy to me, sad as this may [...]

Recognizing heterogeneity in academia: There is no magic bullet for anything

While I write about ways in which I have improved my academic writing, or become more systematic and organized in the way I develop my literature reviews, and my own workflow, I am keenly aware that the techniques I use, the hacks I implement and the suggestions I provide can’t be implemented by every single [...]

My yearly planning process through the Everything Notebook

People have asked me if I could share my yearly planning process and how it relates to the use of the Everything Notebook. I have also been asked if I use other planners and whether they’ve worked for me. I’ll answer both questions in this post. There are many planning and organizational methods out there, [...]

8 strategies that may help keep up with reading during the semester

One of the hardest things I have struggled with has been the ability to keep up with the sheer amount of reading I need to do, given the broad variety of topics I study. But I do consistently make time to read, particularly because I integrate reading into my academic writing, otherwise I would need [...]

Processing a Paper Protocol – from PDF to memo

When people visit my campus office, they often admire the fact that I have a systematically organized library where my books and printed articles/book chapters/reports are all available (and ordered alphabetically, in the case of printouts, and by topic, in the case of books). For me, “processing” articles and books/book chapters is a systematic process [...]

On doing the grunt work in academia

While I have pushed for reflection and slow scholarship in my blog, I have to admit that some of the less romantic and glamorous parts of academia don’t particularly excite me. I call that “the grunt work“.
This is grunt work: Cleaning up THIRTEEN references I just imported into Mendeley
— Dr Raul Pacheco-Vega (@raulpacheco) [...]