Bird-In-Paradise Flower

Bird-In-Paradise Flower: Courtesy of Google Images

Hello, welcome, and thanks for stopping in! 😀

This blog began as my DESPERATE attempt to practice at writing anything. I signed up for graduate school as writing-phobic math-o-phile. Yeah, I know: What was I thinking!

Well, actually, I was thinking  that I could learn to write during graduate school, and I was thinking “better late than never!”

As I’ve gained more writing skills, confidence, and know-how, this blog has morphed into a place where I muse about writing methodology, academic writing methodology, and the psychology of writing at the post-graduate level.

As of late 2013, here is my vision for this blog:

The Blossoming-Fledgling Researcher exists to provide a highly informative yet informal and fun(ny) environment where visitors and co-authors can post positively, honestly, and anonymously (if so desired) to share what only those just ahead of us — fellow travelers or recent graduates — can.

Books, websites, research tools, admonitions, sayings, thoughts, ideas, attitudes, beliefs, quotes, schedules, videos, humor . . . what-have you. Whatever the BEST HELPS have been, the co-authors and ultimately you as visitors (via comments) will share.

FOR INSTANCE: How do you capture and organize your ideas and your thinking–so that you don’t end up going in circles, losing GREAT ideas, etc? Check out this blog’s “Starting & Staying Organized” page to view some people’s methods and to post a comment to share how you do so (or plan to do so).

Please feel free to follow us or stop by periodically. This blog is informal, organic, and collaborative and thus will continuously evolve. Each month there will be more and more to glean, see, or be inspired yourself to share!

For a more FORMAL environment created by researchers who are not fledgling ;), you might enjoy http://thethesiswhisperer.wordpress.com.

For a more DYNAMIC and INTERACTIVE environment, you might enjoy http://www.phinished.org.

NOTE: The flower in the image above is a Bird-In-Paradise flower, by the way. This bird-flower/flower-bird is beautiful and makes its home in paradise. Inspirational for blossoming-fledgling researchers everywhere, don’t you think? Please check out this blog’s FIRST POST to learn more about why we selected The Bird-In-Paradise as our defining image.

Why This Blog

What I’ve discovered in my own journey is this: The process of becoming-being a researcher requires both acquiring a whole new language/vocabulary and learning how to USE the new language . . . both at once, really.

YEESH, that’s a tall order, and YEESH how hard-won is every bit of WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE gained along the way! I am just starting to come into my own.  It’s taken a while for me to get to this place, and I almost didn’t make it. I almost thought I COULDN’T make it, no matter what I did.

It’s taken much work and a lot of love and encouragement from family, friends, and peers for me to “get to the other side,” so to speak. There’s just no way I can feel comfortable “sitting on” that encouragement and information and not sharing it with others. And because I recognize the one perspective won’t cut it, I’ve invited a host of co-authors to share their perspectives, encouragement, and words of wisdom. Some of them JUST graduated and are holding new positions as professors. Some are about to defend! They come from different disciplines and experiences, but all have the heart and aim to extend a hand and share what they now know so that perhaps a new might travel a better path because they shared.

I just firmly believe:

Sometimes it’s the small things that matter . . . a small WORD that helps . . . that pulls a person through. This blog just might be, for some random visitor, that “small thing” that keeps him or her from seeing himself/herself as an imposter researcher and academician and from counting him/herself out.

May this blog and its content only bless!

I look forward to your questions, comments, and participation. Please let us know if there is a topic that you would like addressed at this blog. I will do my best to seek out a colleague in-the-know about it who can suggest a resource or has a word of advice. Email mickeyyvettesanders-wordpress@yahoo.com.

So glad you stopped by, and may the remainder of your day be what you need . . .


Mickey (blog jump-starter)


13 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there! Really appreciate your posts. What do you recommend as the best writing tool for your thesis other than Word? Scientific WorkPlace is an amazing software to use, it moves pics and your text to fit according to the format required by your institution. Have you used it? any thoughts on it?

  2. Hi Mickey:
    I have successful downloaded the Binder for OneNote, but it won’t let me open the file apart from viewing it online. Any suggestions?
    Thank you,

    • Hi, Amber. This is Mickey. This response is really late, and I apologize: I lost your comment notification in my email and I’m just now noticing your comment.

      I am not sure why the OneNote file only allows viewing. Hm!

      If you still would like the OneNote file, please email me at mickeyyvettesanders-wordpress@yahoo.com, and I will email it to you.


  3. Hey Mickey thanks very much for your detailed help and the time you spent typing everything out! It’s really given me a lot to experiment with. Thanks also for your link to the Phnished forums and your little write up on using note-cards.

    I’m still somewhat attached to the idea of physical note-cards. I think the one big attraction of Citavi I can see is the ability to print your citable notes out and cut them up into slips (so that they funciton like note-cards) and physically move them around. This is what Peg Boyle suggests doing in her book, but she uses Endnote to help generate those quotes.

    I’ve put my name in the Citavi lottery. I hope I win!

  4. Thanks so much Mickey. Your replies are awesome. So much helpful detail!

    I actually don’t mind ditching Zotero. I don’t find its layout that appealing and its search engine isn’t that great. I quite frequently struggle to find keywords I just know are in PDFs but Zotero can’t seem to find. Also, because I’ve been so haphazard in searching for sources my Zotero library is full of stuff I don’t really need now. This could be a good time to do a bit of spring cleaning with a fresh start.

    I’ve got some qns about Citavi:

    1. Does Citavi have a master library (like Zotero and I assume Mendeley have) of all references you collect over time?

    2. Is the 100 reference limit in Citavi Free ever a bother?

    3. If I understand the system correctly, there’s double-work involved in entering reference data because you’ve got to do it once in Mendeley and another time in Citavi? Is there an automatic way of doing this?

    Sorry for taking up so much of your time but I really want to give your system a shot. It sounds right up my alley but I want to make sure I fully understand it!

    • Hi!

      I forgot to mention, I think Mendeley will sync with your Zotero stuff pretty easily. There’s a functionality within Mendeley for it. Google this and browse the Mendeley forum for information on Zotero integration.

      Regarding your questions above:

      1. I don’t think so.

      2. No, but I applied for the student drawing and won Citavi Pro for free. I’m not typically that lucky, so you might apply! LOL! I just don’t have the time to deal with such an issue, should it arise.

      However, my research area is math ed, and I’m only doing a master’s thesis. I likely will never, ever, EVER approach 100 citations. But I have seen some PhD students do so in their lit reviews.

      You can bypass this issue by simply breaking up your work. That is, you can just start a new Citavi lit review file and call it “Lit Review File2” or something, and carry on. It need not ever be an issue.

      3. Funny. I almost posted to you about this. You can import a BibTeX, Ris, etc. file into Citavi. You can copy and paste a formatted bibliography entry into Citavi and Citavi will deal with it and create the proper bibliographical entry.

      Others have not agreed with my complaint about this regarding Mendeley, but when I drop a PDF into Mendeley, it’s not the perfect biblography info grabber. It’s pretty good, but just error-prone enough to require enough hand entries to be problematic for me.

      So here’s how I get handle making sure my citations are accurate (it’s one reason why I love Citavi–because I never, ever, EVER have to worry about bibliographies now, in any way):

      1. I don’t do or monitor accuracy of bibliographical data in Mendeley. I just drag and drop my PDFs into Mendeley, let the “seeker” do it’s best to get the bibliography data right for the PDF, and only make manual tweaks to a PDF’s biographicial data in Mendeley if it’s too, too off/incorrect.

      2. There are probably a thousand methods of getting bibliography info into Citavi. There is probably an easier way than what I use. I know, for instance, that you can export a file from Zotero and import it into Citavi.

      But I don’t use Zotero, so this is what I do:

      Way #1
      Import the PDF. Citavi is super good at finding the full bibligraphic data for it. Double-check the accuracy, and never, ever, ever, ever think about it again.

      Way #2
      1. I go to scholar.google.com.
      2. I do a search by title for my article or book or whatever it is I’m citiing.
      3. Once I find it, I look below the Google Scholar entry for it and click the hyperlink “cite.”
      4. When the new “cite” window pops up, I click “import into BibTeX.”
      5. I copy the BibTeX info for the source.
      6. I click in Citavi.
      7. I select “Reference | Import | . . .” and follow the menu until I am copying a BibTeX from the clipboard.
      8. I double check the entry against the actual PDF copy in Mendeley or against Amazon’s info for it if it’s a book, for example.
      9. Then I never think about it again.

      Sounds long but is actually just search, click, click, copy, click, click, click. It’s fast.

      Then I copy and paste from one Citavi file to another if I need to use it again.

      Citavi will allow you to easily add all sorts of citation styles very, very easily (just a few clicks). I add APA 6th and I’m done!

      I am SURE if you google Zotero to Citavi you might find something better. The method above is just my way that makes me feel secure. I hardly EVER have to make any edits to the BibTeX data from Google Scholar. I still double-check, though: The authors deserve it. 🙂

      Hope that all makes sense!

  5. Hi, HSH.

    Mendeley would be easy to learn. It’s just super-duper intuitive. Nothing to learn, really.

    You are correct about how I structure each Citavi file: I only store in each Citavi file the sources for which I think I might store notes and quotes . . . and that depends on what type of file I try to make the Citavi file be. For instance, I have a big Citavi file for my whole master’s thesis project. It’s okay to have more sources in there than will be cited. However, I don’t reallly use Citavi to manage my PDF collection. That is what Mendeley is for. Citavi is really my notes, quotes, analytic memo-making, citation-management, and bibliography-generation utility. I have little master’s thesis-related Citavi files, such as my “[Master’s Thesis Proposal] Definition of Key Terms” Citavi file. It just helped to hone in on this instead of working on it within the huge proposal Citavi file.

    I FORGET TO MENTION: Citavi allows you to outline your paper and attach notes, quotes, thoughts to the outline, in sequence, and move those around, etc.

    Regarding Zotero: I used to work with it way back before they created a desktop version to go along and sync with it. I think Zotero is great, and if you’ve invested a lot of time in it, you might want to see if you could keep it. I bet there is a Zotero-Citavi workflow that works great.

    One thing Zotero excels at–I’ve heard (as I haven’t used it in years and this is just hearsay from friends)–is accommodating clippings from the web and such. Mendeley does not as directly.

    Yes, LOL, I was SUPER excited to finally have a workflow that FLOWED. My workflow keeps evolving, but it has finally stabalized mainly. I used to spend a TON of time trying to fix a problematic workflow. Once my workflow stopped being problematic, I almost couldnt’ believe it. It took YEARS for me to figure it out. I got a lot of criticism in the process: “Z, you try these new programs just to avoid writing. You could be done by now if not for the trialing all these programs!” It hurt a little, but I knew my truth! My workflow did not flow.

    The fix entailed not just finding the right tools but understanding what to do with the tools and why. Learning of the Single Academic Writing Process was a HUGE key in all of it.

    Regarding your question about why I keep both Citavi AND Mendeley: Mendeley allows me to annoate right on/over the PDF text and add notes right on the text. These annotations are then EASILY exportable to PDF or via copy and paste. Citavi 3.4 does not allow this. Storage of PDFs pales in comparison to that in Mendeley. The foldering, deep-deep text searching of your entire PDF collection at once, etc. — All these can happen in Mendeley but NOT Citavi.

    Citavi 4 is getting closer to Mendeley’s functionality in these areas, though. Unfortunately, as U.S. customer it is better for me to use Citavi 3.4 (see their website to learn about this. It’s a copyright issues where U.S. customer’s lose the Publication Assistant feature with an upgrade to Citavi 4, and I can’t do without it. It’s the gem, for me. The work around is to use Citavi’s Word Add-In, but I don’t draft in Word. I draft in Scrivener.)

    So, I’ll try to share my workflow as succinctly as possible:

    I use Mendeley, Citavi, and Scrivener, and dump to MS Word for just a moment to print for commitee.

    Way 1: Reading and annotating PDFs in Mendeley . . . to storing (copying and pasting) Mendeley-generated quotes and notes into Citavi . . . to copying and pasting the needed subset of these notes and quotes into Scrivener as I draft (citation info will now tag along since I copied from Citavi) . . . to taking the final drafted Scrivener exported file and letting Citavi process citation place holders and auto-generate the bibliography of only works cited . . . to formatting in MS Word because my committee needs this.

    Way 2: Reading and annotating PDFs by hand . . . to typing into Citavi the notes and quotes as I scan them on the physical copy of the PDF . . . to to copying and pasting the needed subset of these notes and quotes into Scrivener as I draft (citation info tags along) . . . to taking the final drafted Scrivener exported file and letting Citavi process citation place holders and auto-generate the bibliography of only works cited . . . to formatting in MS Word because my committee needs this.

    Lastly, I don’t know if you can view this, but there is a “PLAN-and-DESIGN-my-paragraphs-and-hone-them-before-pasting-honed-ones-into-Scrivener” process I “discovered” that was a huge breakthrough for me. Your mileage may vary. It is based on the principles in THIS document: http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~carlis/one-draft.pdf. I share my process here, with photos: https://theblossomingfledglingresearcher.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/zs-note-card-pencil-method-for-not-hacking-academic-writing.pdf. I do it physically, but it can be done digitally via the Super Notecards program of via a Mac version (I’ve heard Mac has amazing versions of digital note cards very similar to physical ones).

    And no worries: Your questions aren’t bothering me at all. Thanks for the exhange. 🙂


  6. Sorry another quick question – is there any reason why you don’t just drop Mendeley completely and just use Citavi?

  7. Hey! Just thought I’d swing by your blog to leave a comment because I think comments on the Thesis Whisperer only go up to 3 levels so I couldn’t reply to your reply to my comment in the reading marathon thread.

    I first visited your blog a while back when looking up the Single System. I read her book and found it interesting so I decided to look and see if others have used it. I can see the value of it but it requires a lot of discipline!

    Do you use it?

    My biggest challenge at this point is really reading/note-taking. I’m not quite sure how to handle notes, both in what platform to organise them with, and how to take them in the first place. It’s all about trial and error I think. But with so much to read you can’t help but wish you find the magic system sooner rather than later!

    I will definitely check out Citnavi and get back to you if I have any questions.

    You’re absolutely right about how it’s so important to be organised. I totally understand your situation. I don’t quite have 600 PDFs but I have lots of material, a significant part probably irrelevant now, because I was all over the place in doing the literature review. I was bouncing all over and like you, my initial system of organisation hid the fact that I was just hoarding because it looked so neat, with folders and sub-folders. Wish I had been schooled in this earlier!

    These practical skills are so important. I mean there’s so much on how to conceptualise a PhD, but much less on how to actually get stuff done in a practical sense. It’s like talking about building blueprints without talking about how to use the vast array of tools available to actually build the house in the first place. Perhaps people assume you go into a PhD with those skills but I can tell you what took me through my undergrad/masters simply won’t hack it for the big-ass project the PhD is! The books you recommended in the other thread are great because they tackle issues which other typical PhD guides sort of gloss over.

    • Hi, HSH.

      Thanks for the note above.

      In short, yes: I now LIVE by the Single System/Method for Academic Reading/Writing.

      It reminds me to limit how much time I spend in a PDF. It tells me EXACTLY how to annotate the PDF so that during that final and third pass through the PDF, I’m simply typing from the PDF what I need into Citavi, and then I’m done.

      Oh my GOODNESS words cannot express how much I needed to have been doing this EARLIER. I used to read PDFs super slowly/deeply (too deeply), five and six times over months, going back to ones I’d forgotten I’d read or even printed, re-reading without knowing I was re-reading until aftewards . . . It was SO NOT CONDUCTIVE to getting finished, ya know?

      Now, when I print a PDF out, I tag it in Mendeley as “printed on ____ date.” I only print if I just really need to get up and close. Otherwise, I annotate the PDF digitally, in Mendeley, using the Single Method. Then I copy-and-paste quotes or my notes from Mendeley into Citavi.

      The reason I need to use Citavi is because when I copy and paste from Citavi into my chosen word processor, citation info tags along. When I parse the finished word processor file via Citavi’s Publication Assistant, it does the citations just like I have set each individual one to be tweaked, and it auto-generates a bibliography of only works cited.


      Take care, HSH. And thanks again for your post at TTW: It was helpful. I put the book you mentioned into my wishlist.

      • Hey!

        Thanks so very much for describing your system in detail! I completely understand your frustration in reading and re-reading and re-re-reading! I was nodding in agreement as I read your words haha.

        My challenge now is figuring out what software I want to use. I have an Ipad which I thought I’d use to read and annotate but I can’t say it’s any better than reading off my notebook’s screen. I can draw better lines and handwrite notes with the stylus, but it’s not a big deal to me. Also, using the Ipad adds another level of cross-platform complexity to my workflow which I can do without. So I’ll drop the Ipad for now.

        I like your system and I think I’ll give it go. But I’ve never used Mendeley. I started and have stuck with Zotero because everyone’s been going on and on about how great it is. And there’s also cloud storage and Ipad integration (through an app called Zotpad). But I now see myself doing a lot of my work on just one single notebook so those features are less important to me than when I first started and thought I would need them. I can’t say I love Zotero but I’m still using it because I feel I’ve invested so much time learning it?

        Have you used Zotero before?

        More importantly, do you think it’d be easy to cross-over to Mendeley? Is it difficult to use?

        I read your post on workflow. If I understand you correctly, you make interactive notes in Mendeley, but your citable notes for the current section you’re working on are entered in Citavi? And for each section you create a new project in Citavi and fill it with citable notes that are relevant? So for example, if you’re doing your Lit Review chapter, Citavi only has the sources you’ll need for that, and nothing more. When you move on to a new chapter, you start a new Citavi project and repopulate it with relevant sources?

        Thanks so much for helping me through this … you sounded so excited in your post on workflow. It must really work for you!

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