Taking a Pause for some Slow Scholarship

Will be back soon…..

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Summer Reading – learning to work with Feedback

Take a deep breath. No-one likes to have their precious writing critiqued, and it can be very easy to feel defensive and annoyed. But remember a condition of academic writing is that we expose ourselves to critique. We must learn to accept this and realise how the review process can help us. Feel gratitude for […]

via 15 top tips for revising journal articles — This Sociological Life

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Scrivener for Thesis Writing:Getting Started on Writing (or death to the blank page)

As a thesis writer, I’ve discovered a lot about writing, myths about writing and even some pedagogy about writing. I’ve received much advice about writing and struggled with it. The best books I’ve read has been Kamler & Thomson 2014 Helping Doctoral Student Writre: Pedagogies for Supervisors and Writing from the Inside Out . These books normalised my writing experience for me. I also visit the Doctoral Writing Special Interest Group blog regularly (by following them on twitter) as well as other resources via the #acwri hashtag on Twitter.

Some people like to start with a structure that is clearly mapped out before they start writing their thesis, other people need to start writing and then organise stuff (sometimes referred to Plotter vs. Pantser).

I think that Thesis Writers probably fall somewhere in-between because you are never truly writing “by the seat of your pants” – as an academic you would have built many pieces of writing (small or large) and have a huge amount of information and knowledge, that you’ve somehow got to get onto paper.

Scrivener is the perfect tool to get down a lot of whats in your head to start building bits of your thesis. This process can be as messy or as structured as you choose.


Death to the Blank Page: Process

It’s time to start writing your Scrivener Thesis Project.  Here are 10 things you can do to start writing. Remember- Scrivener is super flexible, so you can change things later. 

  1. Create your Thesis Structure in the Binder.  If you are unsure, go for the standard Introduction, Methods, Literature Review, Results, Discussion, Conclusion. Add some sub-documents to each section.  Add some word targets if you know that you have to write to strict word count.
  2. Write out your Synopsis for as many sections as you can. This doesn’t mean writing the sections but rather a bit of a mental dump. For example, in a Methods Section- Introduction, I might write in the Synopsis  here I want to write about how this study was transdisciplinary and then talk about the two main disciplines that I drew upon. could also mention the work by X author {author, date}. Need to decide if I’m going to claim it was also drawing on X discipline or not.  That gives me a guide about what I will write in the main text when I come back to it.
  3.  Populate Document Notes for your sub-sections: Depending on what you are writing, this could be your own research notes, quotes from literature (remember to reference them), snippets from important points that your Supervisors made, quotes from your participants or results from lab work that you’d like to include in this section. Documents notes are like the different building blocks you’ll use when you come to write that particular section.

 

If you do just these 3 things – you  don’t have a blank page anymore. You’ve got a structure, a guide on what you’ll be writing and the resources that you’ll use to support your writing.

I hope this post was helpful. Happy Thesis Writing


Remember Scrivener has a free 30-day trial period. You can download Scrivener with an Education Discount via this link (Note: purchasing via this link gives me a commission about equal to the cost of a cappuccino)

 

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Scrivener for Thesis Writing: Upcoming Workshops at University of Technology Sydney

For UTS Postgraduate students – I’ll be doing another Scrivener for Thesis Writing Workshop as part of the UTS Graduate Research School ‘Summer Research School’ in November 2016.   This is mostly aimed at students new to Scrivener.  If you are writing regularly in Scrivener and would be interested in an Advanced Scrivener for Thesis Writing Workshop, please get in contact with me via my UTS email address.


 

Remember Scrivener has a free 30-day trial period. You can download Scrivener with an Education Discount via this link (Note: purchasing via this link gives me a commission about equal to the cost of a cappuccino)

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Scrivener for Thesis Writing: Using Synopsis as a Topic Sentence checker

Topic Sentences are important in academic writing.  The Thesis Whisperer has blogged about “The Zombie Thesis” and how a lack of clear topic sentences can make your thesis, well, zombie like.

Luckily, Scrivener has several awesome built-in features that makes regular checking of your writing for topic sentences really easy. The first feature you should master is the Synopsis feature.  The Synopsis Feature lives within the Inspector on the top right hand corner.  You have two options with the Synopsis feature – auto generate or manual input.  Manual input is good when you want to write a quick outline or draft note /abstract to yourself about what you plan to write in the main text. However, once you’ve started writing the main text, I like the auto-generate Synopsis.  This will grab the first paragraph of your writing for each Scrivener Item and add it to the Synopsis section.

You can then flip your view to Index Cards or Outliner (with Synopsis ticked) and check – does your writing flow? Do the first paragraphs of each section have a topic sentence? Are they strong enough with the following text or are you creating a zombie thesis?

More posts to come on how to use other features to check for Topic Sentences.  Happy Thesis Writing!

 


Remember Scrivener has a free 30-day trial period. You can download Scrivener with an Education Discount via this link (Note: purchasing via this link gives me a commission about equal to the cost of a cappuccino)

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10 Best Practices in Scrivener to save your “tomorrow self” [Thesis writing]

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Scrivener for Thesis Writing

Doing my PhD part-time and now in my 5th 8th year means that I am often grappling with practices, ideas and material that I last looked at looooong time ago. Even a short break these days seems to allow my brain to get rusty and I don’t have the same confidence or quick memory recall that I had a few years ago (aging? kids? who knows- I just know its slower).

So, I’m embracing this – I’ve realised that its so important to start with good research practices from day 1 – so that you are saving your ‘tomorrow self’ that will have to come in and try to figure out what you were thinking /doing.

I’ve compiled a list of top “self-savers” for that I’ve either managed to do or wish that I had done!

  1. Use Keywords consistently to tag sub-sections of Literature Review notes: This may mean writing a physical list of tags that you will use and limiting to those or reviewing your tags from time to time
  2. Be clear on what you are using side writing for : Project Notes – Document Notes- Inline Annotations – Comments – Footnotes- Custom Meta Data. You can read this post on how I use these different features.
  3.  Be a Smart User of Scrivener Search:  I’ve started to create my own tagging system within my notes – I use the @ symbol combined with a word (for example, @needsreview) and then I save this as a search.
  4. Keep a writing Journal: I recommend you do this in Project Notes but you could also create a file that you log your writing on.  You could have an unexpected break and it is tricky to come back and figure out you last thoughts.
  5. Use the inbuilt backup features: If you don’t know how to do this- then watch this about Snapshots and read this about the full back up options.  I guess there is little sympathy for those who lose all their thesis work in this day and age of cloud storage.
  6. Write [& don’t get stuck on Scrivener features]:  Scrivener has so many features and options and bits and pieces that it can be the ultimate procrastination tool and it can feel overwhelming in the beginning learning curve….but it’s main job is to allow you to write.  If it starts to feel too much – then stop. Hit Compose Mode and just write.  A few pomodoros at least. Your tech curiosity or Scrivener problems can be solved later- ask a question on the Forums or FB page, probably someone will have a quick solution for you. But don’t spend your precious writing time mucking around with Scrivener too much. Just write.

Well, I was meant to come up with 10 Best Practices, but this was as far as I go today. And given this post has been in draft mode for 3 years, time to let it out. If you’ve got any more best practices ideas, please add to comments.


Remember Scrivener has a free 30-day trial period. You can download Scrivener with an Education Discount via this link (Note: purchasing via this link gives me a commission about equal to the cost of a cappuccino)

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PhD and – >Derby Blues — Eat, Sleep, Live Derby In The World of Kiki’N Da Teef

This image is actually about Roller Derby – but I bet it made you think of a PhD / Research experience!

Let’s just say that I wanted to kick my helmet across the rink yesterday. Yes, it was one of those nights. Nothing went wrong really. Yet, everything felt wrong for me. It was one of those nights where I cried on the way home, asking myself the usual existential questions. Roller derby, I love you. Roller […]

via Derby Blues — Eat, Sleep, Live Derby In The World of Kiki’N Da Teef

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When word counts count: Responses to last week’s post from @thesiswhisperer and @katrinafee — The Research Whisperer

Re-Sharing this post as I like the different academic viewpoints. I’ve found word counts really helpful in staying on track but also realise that they can mask a lot of work-that-is-yet-to-be-done.

My post last week – “Your word count means nothing to me” – generated a lot of agreement and some high-fiving about raising the issue of obsessing about word counts. I’m very aware, though, that it could also have alienated some readers and, indeed, friends. For this reason, I ran the post past Inger Mewburn (The Thesis […]

via When word counts count: Responses to last week’s post from @thesiswhisperer and @katrinafee — The Research Whisperer

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Scrivener for Thesis Writing: Evernote and Google Drive

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Scrivener for Thesis Writing: Evernote and Google Drive

Scrivener is an awesome writing tool- but you’re likely to have your research bits and pieces in other software like Evernote and Google Drive. I use Evernote for keeping my Supervision Notes,PhD reflections and web clippings about potential supervisors. I use Google Drive for drafting my Figures, flowcharts and annexes for my thesis. Until now I’ve gone through a lengthy process of exporting from these programs and then importing into Scrivener when I need to look at my other work. But ….I’ve just discovered that it’s possible to add a dynamic (that is, self-updating) link within Scrivener to your Evernote Notebooks and your Google Drive Folders. This is one the best tricks I’ve discovered to date. 

Here is a quick run-down:

  1.  Go to Evernote or Google Drive and find the folder that you want to link to from within Scrivener. In Evernote, this right-click-> publish notebook. In Google Drive, this is ‘right-click -> Get Shareable Link’. CMD-C to copy this link.
  2. In Scrivener, decide where you want to see your link. I created a new folder “Evernote Notebooks”.
  3. In Scrivener- right-click – > add – > webpage. Scrivener should automatically detect your copied link, but if it doesn’t, paste the link here.
  4. Voila! You now have an automatically updating link to Evernote or Google Drive.
  5. NB: You can’t edit the content. It’s pretty much “view only” – but when you edit it in it’s original program (Evernote or Google Drive) the updated version will appear in Scrivener.

Isn’t that awesome? It’s a great way to keep access to different research sources.

Good Writing this week!

 

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