[Photo Spread] Book Annotating That’s Better over the Long Haul; Overcoming Distraction

Greetings!

I hope this post finds you well!

Below I share a photo spread. If you click on a picture, it will display the large photo viewer where you can see more details.

About the photos: The book annotation techniques on display in the photos have saved me SO MUCH time and helped me get the most out of my books and my reading. The photos depict how I take notes in books such that not only are the notes useful soon after they are taken (while still in the memory a bit), but they are useful months and years later.

The annotations are made and placed in such a way that I might not even have to open the book to know if it contains annotations leading to content that I need. And if I do determine to open the book, I can know to a high degree of certainty after skimming the Table of Contents or going to a select number of TABBED pages whether to keep with the book for my present needs or look elsewhere.

To close the post, below the photo spread I list four INCREDIBLY helpful (to me) links that lead to really great (to me) material that I’ve encountered over the past week or so. It didn’t feel right to “sit on them” without sharing. 😉 I hope you find something useful in one if not most of them. Please add your comments.

Well, back to thesising I go! Wishing you joy, clarity, and any breakthroughs you desire as you continue to squash effective tomatoes and cross off tasks toward reaching your milestones and crossing that finished line.Quote_DecideThatYouWantItMoreThanYouAreAfraidOfItWe’re going to get there! We are closer today than we were yesterday. Let’s do this! Solidarity vibes. 🙂

Please enjoy the photo gallery and links below.

Blessings,

Mickey

 

Some Reads Perhaps Very Worth Your Time

  1. Distractions and Solutions posted at the (research) supervisor’s friend
  2. The Different Stages of the Writing Process posted at the Research Voodoo blog NOTE: The author recently enjoyed having one of her posts Freshly Pressed!
  3. Using English for Academic Purposes (a webguide for students in higher education) by Andy Gillett: This is a clear, illuminating, easy-and-even-fun-to-navigate website all about academic writing at higher levels. It’s the simplicity and CLARITY of the explanations, married with the diagrams, that strike me about this content. I’ll be back lots, I think.
  4. 6 Easy-to-Steal Rituals of Extremely Successful People posted at the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog
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[Downloadable] OneNote Binder Tailored for Academic Researchers and Writers

Featured

Link to the binder: http://tinyurl.com/zcqvu95 or https://app.box.com/OneNoteBinderForResearchers.

NOTE: I’ve made this post a sticky: That means it stays at the top of the blog. Newer blog posts show up below it.

[ADDITION] OneNote PRINTING HELP: To the end of this post I’ve added instructions on how to PRINT OneNote items from OneNote 2010 (other versions may differ).


MAIN POST CONTENT

OneNote is now available for Windows, Apple, and Android devices.

I have created a OneNote binder tailored for academic researchers and writers. The video below previews it. Once downloaded, you can customize and tweak it as you wish.

OneNote is a powerful, robust tool because OneNote mirrors the layout of a physical binder of notebooks, syncs across computers via SkyDrive/OneDrive, and allows for such features as:

  1. Automatic versioning of OneNote pages
  2. Tagging of content in OneNote (including creation of custom tags) and searching by tags
  3. Password protecting of tabs and sections
  4. Dragging-and-dropping into OneNote
  5. Adding screen clippings to OneNote
  6. Printing to OneNote via the OneNote printer
  7. OCR
  8. Deep searching across notebooks, in one notebook, or in one section (including Boolean searching and use of quotation marks to search for exact wording)
  9. Searching for words in audio and video notes/content
  10. Inking (handwriting)
  11. Handwriting to text conversion
  12. Nesting of notebook sections groups
  13. Nesting of subpages under pages, with the ability to collapse and expand subpages
  14. Notebook sharing and real-time collaboration with others
  15. File attachment
  16. Page templates
  17. Docking to desktop
  18. And more . . .

The learning curve is not bad, and OneNote can become even more powerful for users who read about how to use OneNote, view video tutorials, learn keyboard shortcuts, and add in OneNote add-ins of choice.

One of the best introductory videos about OneNote that I’ve encountered is the YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuTBdonbYZo. If you already know the basics of OneNote, you might advance to about time stamp 17:44 of the YouTube video for some of the more advanced features and tips.

I’m pairing OneNote with my Livescribe Pulse pen (see this video to get the gist), my Windows laptop (see this video to see OneNote paired with a tablet), and my Windows Nokia Lumia 1020 smart phone to work smart, especially in terms of going “analog” more often when it’s more prudent to hand-write than to work on the computer. See this post and this video and even parts of this wonderful book for more about the importance of balancing analog versus digital working modes for learning and creative/academic work.

OneNote is an application to consider among options such as EverNote and Devonthink. Some people use OneNote in conjunction with EverNote or Devonthink, while others replace EverNote or Devonthink with OneNote. It is helpful to search the internet and read blogs and comments about the differences between OneNote and other similar programs and about different ways of using OneNote in conjunction with other programs.

Trying to figure out how to print an entire section or particular pages in a section from OneNote 2010?

Directions:

  1. Click on the desired section tab. Look at the list of pages down the right-hand column.
  2. Select the pages you want to print, while holding down the
    1. the CONTROL KEY to select individual pages one at a time or
    2. the SHIFT KEY to select the first and last page you want . . .which will THEN result in selecting the first page you clicked, the last page your clicked, and all pages in between.
  3. Click on “File” at the very top of the OneNote program. Then click on “Print.”
  4. Click on “Print Preview” to format things or scroll through what will be printed . . . and/or click “Print” to print.
  5. IMPORTANT: If you need a PDF printer, install the free program CutePDF Writer onto your computer, and you will now have a PDF printer installed as an option for printing any time you print any document.

I hope that helps!

Mickey

[Video] Easier Writing in Gingko App, the Most FLUID Writing Environment Imaginable

Greetings!

It’s been a long while since I’ve been able to post. My thesis deadline is fast looming, and so this will likely be my last post until I finish my thesis and finish presenting in Spring of 2014.

I’m going on hiatus with a bang, though: Below is a very quickly-made video of how I’m using Gingko App (you’ve GOT to see it) to do the Single Method of Academic Writing, which Dr. Single outlines in her book “Demystifying Dissertation Writing.” Her method is a game changer. You want to know about the method. 🙂 Gingko App makes it SUPER FLUID. But, even if you don’t use her method, Gingko App is still just an amazingly fluid writing environment.

ASIDE: One thing I left out of the video is how easy it is to create the quotes in Citavi by just highlighting the quote in the PDF preview displayed in Citavi, and then pasting the quote into a Citavi quote bubble. This makes quote-gathering a BREEZE!

Well, I hope you enjoy the video. (Click on the little square in the lower-right corner of the YouTube video to expand it fully to a large view.) Please feel free to post comments and/or questions. Take care, and as always, happy writing!

Writing-as-speaking-on-paper versus Writing-as-thinking: Using Due Dates and Sanford Kaye’s Quick Writing Process to Assist!

Greetings!

I hope this post finds you well. 🙂

Heads up: This is a longer post that might be better printed out.

——————————–

This morning I logged into PhinisheD to post my accountability goals and give and receive encouragement and KITAs, and I encountered the following thread starter:

It’s 9am (somewhere), does your muse know where you are?

I have adopted Stephen King as my imaginary coach.Coach King says, “Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up, chomping his cigar and making his magic. . . . What do you do that lets your muse know you mean business?”
 

I took a moment to think about this: I kept dwelling on the word’s “meaning business.”

Well, after yesterday’s super productive writing session, I realize that I probably have inadvertently made my muse’s work difficult! Poor muse! 🙂  And I think I know the main issue: At some point my “writing-as-thinking” needs to solidify/congeal to “writing-as-speaking-on-paper.” If you are a writer-as-thinker type (as I guess I’ve been! Eke!), then this is only done very consciously.

Due Dates, Deadlines, and Email Requests from My Advisor Motivate a Helpful Review of My Work Habits

So, yesterday I buckled down to transition from writing-as-thinking to writing-as-speaking-on-paper, and voila!: By the end of the process, I had 1,058 honed words . . . and counting! NOTE: It helped that I was inspired by an email from my advisor requesting a draft. 🙂

As I noted above, if you are a writer-as-thinker type, then transitioning from writing-as-thinking to writing-as-speaking-on-paper requires a conscious decision. To accomplish this yesterday, I gathered my prior writing-as-thinking drafts and parsed out the best from those to hone a writing-as-speaking-on-paper draft. I did this by using Sanford Kaye’s Quick Writing Process (QWP), or rather, my version of what that process has evolved into for me. I consider the QWP to be smart, pointed, designed, fast freewriting that yields BETTER writing than plain freewriting. Details are below!

IMPORTANT:  If plain freewriting works for you, don’t abandon it!!! Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken! Especially when it comes to academic writing! 😉

My Version of the Sanford Kaye Quick-Writing Process: Designed Freewriting

If you’ve designed it, can it really be considered freewriting? 🙂 I think so! You’ll have to decide for yourself. But again in my view, the QWP is basically smart, designed, free-writing that is less foofery and more pointed and thus more usable than plain freewriting. Here’s the basic method . . . or actually how it’s evolved for me over time

  1. Pretend like you can do no more research. You simply can’t access any more sources or data. You can’t read another thing. You can only write. You can’t even open up a PDF file to check something. You can ONLY write. Just imagine that you are on a deserted island (with plenty of food and water ;)), have no wi-fi, and are working on a type-writer. That’s right: You have no PDFs anywhere, digitally or physically!
  2. Further, you must submit your writing today (within the next hour or couple of hours). How you will do this on the deserted island without wi-fi is besides the point, right? 😉
  3. Start by making an outline of what you need to say, as quickly as possible. NOTE: I limit the whole QWP to 1 hour and give myself 10 minutes to do create this quick outline, and I just list what I think should be in the outline. No self-editing! Just write the outline out. If outline elements get written out-of-order, then no worries: I just number them correctly after: Simple. You are NOT ALLOWED to self-edit during this. If you must edit the outline, then edit it for 2 minutes MAXIMUM afterwards (by numbering outline items, crossing some items off, quickly adding an outline element you think is missing, etc.)
  4. Next is the quick writing: Give yourself 40 minutes to write the best draft you can in 40 minutes. Even if it’s supposed to be a full chapter, just play along with the hypothetical situation: You only have this hour, and you have already used 10-12 minutes of it! All you can do is write enough of the eventual paper so that when you submit this quick write to the powers that be, they are intrigued and say, “Okay, yes. We want to see the full version of this come to light. Yes, we see where this is going, so okay: Go ahead and produce it fully. Why, yes! Carry on! :)”
  5. In the remaining 8-10 minutes in the hour, print out what you’ve typed and make notes on it, such as “I need to say more here about so-and-so. This is too weak . . . need some supporting citations and/or quotes . . . etc., etc. The argument loses traction here . . .” etc.
  6. Finally, get an audience (often this is my accountability partner) and talk aloud from your printout and notes on it. (Kaye doesn’t include this step nor step 5 I don’t think,  but I do). If you have no audience, you can record yourself (no need to go back and listen). The point of this: It is EXTREMELY hard to talk nonsensically for a sustained period of time. You kind of sort of naturally and automatically start adding more words, notions, explanations, and ideas to make it make more sense. Immediately after you do this (or while you are doing this), note the extra words you added when speaking.
  7. Lastly, talk to your advisor or a peer in your field about the gaps you feel remain in your knowledge-base from which to write. Explain to your advisor what info/points/support/evidence/backup from authority that you wish you had. Your advisor might say, “Oh. You need ____ (Shakespeare). He writes about _____, and that will shore up that part of your argument.”

It has gotten harder and harder for me to “psych” myself into believing I only have an hour to do the quick write. So I’ve had to get an accountability partner who contacts me and says, “I don’t have my email copy. You said it would be an hour. Just send what you have.”

I don’t allow myself to view my quick-writes as rough drafts or freewrites. This is because I have to work very pointed, psychologically, to move from writing-as-thinking to writing-as-speaking-on-paper. No: For me, these quick-writes are simply beginner’s drafts. I must begin SPEAKING on paper, and not just continue to think on paper. I like beginning (beginning is GOOD!), and thinking of quick-writing as beginning helps: No pressure. It’s just a beginning draft that may not be all that rough necessarily, and I have begun to speak, on paper. Victory. 🙂

Conclusion

So that’s it! I find the QWP to be an AWESOME way to get unstalled–to just get stuff down on paper so that it’s captured, but stuff that you plan to KEEP largely and that is not terribly difficult to HONE.

IMPORTANT:  Again, if plain freewriting works for you, don’t abandon it!!! Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken! Especially when it comes to academic writing! 😉

On the spectrum between writing-as-thinking and write-as-speaking-on-paper, I consider the QWP to be in between the two but closer–for me–to writing-as-speaking-on-paper. It is FAR BETTER for the way my mind works than producing a stack of meandering freewrites. I can’t TELL you how many drafts of freewrites I used to collect and let stress me out as I tried to read back through them to understand what I was thinking at the time and to try to determine what, if anything, was salvageable and of quality from them. It was messy and a LOT of work.With the QWP, you know exactly what you were thinking: The quick outline spells it out.

I’ve discovered that producing 2 quick-writes for one section, and certainly no more than 3, works. If I leave a week or so between quick-writes, then usually they are sufficiently different for it to be useful for me to have produced a second quick-write.

THE KEY: The quality of a quick-write is a function of how well you have done your pre-writing tasks of annotating and note-taking. Quick-writes based on prior reading alone are hard to do. If you follow the Single Method of Academic Writing, wherein you read a work just 3 times and by the end have cite-able notes, the information is in your head sufficiently to be under your command. And if it’s in your head sufficiently to be under your command, then you can quick write!

So what about you?: Do you find that you get stalled if you don’t separate your thinking-writing from your speaking-on-paper writing? In what ways do you separate the two? Have you been able to make plain freewriting work well for you? Please share your thoughts!

[Photo Gallery] Mickey’s Note Card Method of Doing Rowena Murray’s Method of Snack Academic Writing from Level 1, 2, 3, and 4 Outlines

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(NOTE: Hover over the photo slide show above for a pause, play, rewind, and forward button. Also, the photos are STATICALLY displayed at the END of the post for easier examination. Below if you CLICK on a photo, a photo viewer will open up in a new window that allows you to scroll through the photos at your leisure.)

Greetings!

Above is a photo gallery of photos that tell the story of how I do Level 1 through 4 outlining (which I learned about in detail from Rowena Murray’s book “Writing for Academic Journals”) on 4- x 6-inch note cards and extend the process to QUICKLY design and then draft paragraphs . . . quickly. The net result is more well thought-out, more focused writing that you KNOW is clearly adding logically to a draft, and that you can do ANYWHERE (and during snippets of free time!)–with or without a computer. Hallelujah!

It’s almost counter-intuitive: You’d think handwriting things would slow you down immensely. But it affords a different kind of thinking-while-writing, and it doesn’t in the long run slow you down. It in fact saves lots of revising time because you’re doing your writing from a very intentional outline in a very disciplined, pointed way.

Freewriting lovers, don’t worry! :): There’s still a place for freewriting with this method of disciplined, intentional writing.

Via a series of video clips that I hope to create and post for my next post, I’ll explain the philosophy and how’s of Level 1-4 outlining, explain what it enables you to do (it’s paradigm-sifting and wonderfully PROGRESS-CAUSING), and share tips and do’s and don’ts to help you get the most out of the process and avoid pitfalls. I’ll also talk about how you can get academic software to gel nicely with this method of writing.

So, once I submit a full draft of my paper, I will allow the making and posting of the videos to be a reward for having done so :). In the meanwhile, enjoy the photo gallery below, and please feel free to post questions and comments!

Take care, and happy writing! STATIC photos are below!

Mickey

STATIC PHOTOS (Click any photo to open up in another browser a photo viewer that allows you to scroll through the photos at your leisure.)

[Videos] Idea Mason Demos: A RIDICULOUSLY FABULOUS Academic Research and Writing Software Program

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Last post I introduced Idea Mason. Let me just say: Words cannot express how clear I am on my project, thinking, writing, and revising with Idea Mason. I switched from Scrivener to Idea Mason and am ELATED. This is one … Continue reading

Major Academic Reading and Writing Workflow Revision: Introducing Idea Mason into the Flow!

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This gallery contains 2 photos.

Hi, all! It’s been awhile since I last posted (major writing deadlines). I hope you’ve been well! Well, while doing a search of the forum at Phinished.org, I accidentally came across a program named Idea Mason. Their website is at … Continue reading

A Dissertation/Thesis Writing Workflow You’ll Love. It Works. It Flows. [SHORTER VERSION]

[SHORTER VERSION OF THE POST. See detailed version here.]

April 16, 2014 Update: Please view this workflow PDF, check recent blog posts, and visit the Tools pages in this blog’s menu to see updates to my approach as I make them.

January 14, 2014 Update: I still largely use but have tweaked the workflow below. I share the tweaks at the detailed version of this post. Also, this PDF provides an overview of the tweaks, along with links to videos and relevant software websites. Many blessings, and happy writing!

——————— START OF THE ORIGINAL POST ———————

Greetings!

Many dissertation and thesis writers LOVE Dr. Single’s System for Academic Writing. I’m one such thesis writer. It is probably the most enlightening thing I’ve ever encountered about academic writing, aside from George Gopen’s exceedingly eye-opening, very awesome work, “The Sense of Structure: Writing from the Reader’s Perspective.”

I looked up the other day and realized that my digital workflow FLOWS very fluidly now (despite being both digital and physical and being comprised of multiple programs). And it employs Dr. Single’s System beautifully (well, in my humble opinion–smile).

The digital “stars” of the workflow are: Mendeley, Citavi, and Scrivener. (Aside: Citavi is Windows only at the moment, though a cross-platform, web-based version is in development according to Citavi’s creators. From what I’ve heard (not much Mac experience here), Mac users might try Papers instead of Citavi.)

The digital “supporting actors” of the workflow are: LiquidPlanner, ProWritingAid, and your text editor of choice (I use MS Word).

Below I share the workflow. It’s simple (as far as simplicity in thesis writing goes)!

I would LOVE to hear from you, so please feel free to add your comments and tips. Feel free to use it to inspire your own. And as always, happy writing/working!

Best wishes,

Mickey

NOTE: The Mac version of Scrivener is more robust than the Windows version of Scrivener that I use. Thus, some of the steps (such as the Read-Aloud editing step) can be done within Scrivener Mac instead of Adobe.

———————–

The workflow, the short version:

  1. Manage your long writing as a Project in LiquidPlanner. Get the free, education-usage subscription if you qualify. It’s quick to obtain.
  2. Store, organize, tag, and annotate PDFs in Mendeley.
  3. Collect notes and quotes in Citavi. Citavi will take CARE OF YOU, citation and bibliography-wise! PAPERS is not Citavi, but if on a Mac, perhaps try the program PAPERS until Citavi’s web-based version becomes available.
  4. Outline your long paper in Scrivener, and save the corresponding, blank outline structure of folders and component text files AS A TEMPLATE.
  5. Create two versions of the file using this template: (1) a “do-the-drafting-here” instance of the file and (2) a “just-receive-and-store-print-ready-final-drafts-here” version of the file. Some folks may additionally want to create a “freewrite-here” version of the file. NOTE: That’s a bit much for me (3 Scrivener files to manage), and since freewriting can be done via Scrivener’s global Scratchpad, I use that.
  6. Before you write each paragraph, to help you write the paragraph more efficiently than not, plan the points (i.e. paragraphs) you need to make for each section of your thesis/dissertation. AND THIS IS THE KEY: DO THIS POINT/PARAGRAPH PLANNING VIA THE COMMENTS FEATURE IN SCRIVENER (see detailed explanation of this in the detailed version of this post).
  7. While drafting: Copy and paste quotes and notes from Citavi into Scrivener as needed. Citations and bibliography creation is happening when you do this. See http://service.citavi.com/KB/a357/using-citavi-with-scrivener.aspx
  8. Two editing tips/techniques/tools:
    1. Save your writing as a PDF, play it aloud, and edit based on editing needs you hear. Be carefully about alternate spellings you can’t “here.” 😉
    2. Copy and paste a (small enough) section of your text into Pro Writing Aid’s editor, click the “Analyze” button, and mindfully utilize/implement suggestions at your discretion.
  9. Copy and paste (or export/import) finalized section drafts into the version of the Scrivener file that exists just only to receive and store completely polished, ready-to-compile-together-and-then-be-printed-out section drafts.
  10. Export this Scrivener file to MS Word if you need to: There, take all of the bibliographies generated for each section and condense them into one bibliography at the end of the paper, do final edits and proofreading, and be done!

HONORABLE MENTION: XMind for Outlining and Creating Audio Notes

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention XMind for brainstorming in the form of mind mapping. This is usually how I discover/create/hone my outlines. Good writing of very long works hinges on the outline: A long work’s outline needs to be authentic–the one you REALLY want to write from, not just the product of an exercise just so you can claim have an outline–and it needs to be quite thoughtful. XMind can get your outline there! And it’s FUN: You can attach audio notes to every mind map node in XMind; you can dive down into nodes to get to a zoomed-in view; and you can (re)emerge up from inside a node to get to a higher-level view.

As always, happy writing!!!

NOTE: Access the detailed version of the workflow here.

A Dissertation/Thesis Writing Workflow You’ll Love. It Works. It Flows. [DETAILED VERSION]

[DETAILED VERSION OF THE POST. See short version here.]

Greetings! Many dissertation and thesis writers LOVE Dr. Single’s System for Academic Writing. I’m one such thesis writer. It is probably the most enlightening thing I’ve ever encountered about academic writing, aside from George Gopen’s exceedingly eye-opening, very awesome work, “The Sense of Structure: Writing from the Reader’s Perspective.” I looked up the other day and realized that my digital workflow FLOWS very fluidly now (despite being both digital and physical and being comprised of multiple programs). And it employs Dr. Single’s System beautifully (well, in my humble opinion–smile).

The digital “stars” of the workflow are: Mendeley, Citavi, and Scrivener. (Aside: Citavi is Windows only at the moment, though a cross-platform, web-based version is in development according to Citavi’s creators. From what I’ve heard (not much Mac experience here), Mac users might try Papers instead of Citavi.)

The digital “supporting actors” of the workflow are: LiquidPlanner, ProWritingAid, and your text editor of choice (I use MS Word).

Below I share the workflow. I’ve added a lot of detail, so it reads long because of that, not because it’s a complicated workflow. It’s simple (as far as simplicity in thesis writing goes)! I would LOVE to hear from you, so please feel free to add your comments and tips. Feel free to use it to inspire your own workflow. And as always, happy writing/working! Best wishes, Mickey

NOTE: The Mac version of Scrivener is more robust than the Windows version of Scrivener that I use. Thus, some of the steps (such as the Read-Aloud editing step) can be done within Scrivener Mac instead of Adobe.

———————–

The workflow, written as if a big reminder note to myself:

1) WRITING MANAGEMENT (TIME, TASK, & PROJECT MANAGEMENT of the WRITING) Create a reverse calendar using Liquid Planner. (Here’s my video review of LiquidPlanner). Always start the timer in LiquidPlanner when starting tasks. This enables you to discover/learn how long things really, actually take you so that your planning gets more accurate and real as time goes on. Note: I applied for free, educational use of LiquidPlanner.

2) READING FOR WRITING . . . and NOTE-TAKING for WRITING

  1. Store, organize, and tag PDFs in Mendeley. It is smart to have tags such as “has been physically printed already” so that I know to look in my file cabinet for a physical copy instead of forgetting this and printing and printing again and again . . .
  2. Read and annotate PDFs in Mendeley (or Adobe if using the PRO version). To keep a PDF cleaner than not, annotate to the heart’s content in Mendeley, but in Adobe Pro add only “bubble sticky notes” and NO HIGHLIGHTING.
  3. Transfer (i.e. copy and paste) annotations from Mendeley into Citavi as citeable notes (that are THEN copy-able and paste-able to Word, Scrivener with citation attached). Citavi holds images and tables, too. Remember: Citavi will build my bibliography based on what only I citeEasily copy and paste references, notes, and quotes between Citavi files. IMPORTANT: Either maintain a Citavi file that mirrors the Scrivener file’s outline; keep separate Citavi files named by topic, book, article, etc.; or some combination of the two. Name Citavi files carefully, though, so that you can find quotes and notes again. Again, easily copy and paste references, notes, and quotes between Citavi files.

3) THE HEART OF THIS WORKFLOW: STAGE-ONE DRAFTING

  1. Create a thesis/dissertation outline in Scrivener (see item 7 below about XMind for outlining). Save this outline-containing Scrivener file as a template. Then open/create a “DRAFTING” version of this file, and open/create a “JUST-USE-ME-FOR-COLLECTING-DONE-PRINTABLES” version of this file. VERY IMPORTANT: There should be one, dedicated Scrivener file that you can open and simply know that the only thing within is POLISHED DONE pieces. DO. NOT. DRAFT. HERE. This file just exists to RECEIVE polished pieces. You paste completed sections into this file. This is the file you will compile and export at the end. To reiterate: It is NOT where you draft/compose.
    • Warning TO-DO: Do freewriting, drafting, and “storage of doneness” separately—meaning in completely separate Scrivener files. Don’t start mixing these. It gets messy FAST otherwise. Just don’t do it.
    • Thought: In addition to the 2 versions advised above, some people may also want to create a “FREEWRITING” version of this file. I don’t! That’s too much for me! INSTEAD, Scrivener allows you to save freewrites by name within the global Scratch Pad of Scrivener. That’s good enough and less complicated for me! I prefer to SKIP having a whole, extra Scrivener file to manage.
  2. SCRIVENER’S COMMENTS FEATURE IS A STAR IN THIS WORKFLOW: In the “DRAFTING” version of the Scrivener file, add the “comments button” to the toolbar. To start drafting/composing: In one of the text files, type “P1” and a comment for it: In the comment, plan the point to make in paragraph 1 and note the citations needed—e.g. Smith (1995) p. 2; Maxwell (2005); Crotty image; Pawson (2005). If you accidentally delete a needed comment, push the “undo” button in Scrivener (add the undo/redo buttons to the toolbar, too!).
  3. Draft the paragraph. Stop when it’s g’nuff (i.e. “good enough”).
    • THE HUGE KEY TO ALL OF THIS: Remember that HOVERING OVER A COMMENT ICON WILL DISPLAY THE FULL COMMENT. Display the paragraph-planning comment so you can mull it, then start drafting the paragraph, then mull it some more, then continue drafting the paragraph, and so on.
    • DON’T SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT: Take 3MonthThesis’s advice here: DON’T BEGIN A NEW PARAGRAPH WHILE LEAVING THE PREVIOUS ONE NEEDING A WHOLE BUNCH OF WORK: THIS WILL RESULT IN AN OVERWHELMING SMATTERING OF UNFINISHED THOUGHTS. TAKE THE TIME TO HONE THE PARAGRAPH WELL ENOUGH. THEN MOVE TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH. WHAT PARAGRAPH IS NEXT NEEDED DEPENDS ON THE ONE BEFORE IT, ANYWAY.
    • USE SCRIVENER’S SCRATCH PAD TO FREEWRITE: If you need to just freeflow write without honing paragraphs, do this in a FREEWRITING version of the file or better yet via Scrivener’s Scratch Pad functionality.
    • USE SCRIVENER’S FULL EDITOR FOR DISTRACTION-FREE WRITING: IN THE VERY BUSY SCRIVENER PROGRAM: Feel free to draft in the distraction-free FULL EDITOR. The hover-over-the-comments-icon thing still works in the full editor view.
  4. Plan the next point that needs making. Feel free to EITHER plan all points before drafting OR plan-one-paragraph-and-then-draft-it, plan-another-paragraph-and-then-draft-it, and so on until there are no more points you need to make for that section.
  5. CITAVI IS A STAR IN THIS WORKFLOW: While drafting paragraphs, copy and paste needed quotes/notes from Citavi. Remember: References and citations will be automatically taken care of once you employ this simple set of steps: see http://service.citavi.com/KB/a357/using-citavi-with-scrivener.aspx.

4) EDITING TWO EDITING “TRICKS” (tools really) that rock:

  1. Export/save the current section as a PDF.  Print a physical copy and have pencil in hand. Have Adobe read your work aloud to you. On your physical printout, with that pencil you have just ready and waiting, jot “fixes” and editing notes as you listen.
  2. Paste a subsection of your writing into ProWriting Aid’s online editor at  http://prowritingaid.com/Free-Editing-Software.aspx#.UUhEohzU-n8. Click the “Analyze” button and mindfully use the results at your discretion.

5) FINAL EDITING and PROOFREADING

  1. Copy and paste–or import–COMPLETELY DONE SECTIONS to the “JUST-USE-ME-FOR-COLLECTING-DONE-PRINTABLES” Scrivener file.
  2. As often as desired, compile the “JUST-USE-ME-FOR-COLLECTING-DONE-PRINTABLES” Scrivener file, and export it to MS Word.
  3. In MS Word, condense the multiple bibliographies to just one, do final formatting and editing tweaks, and print out for final proofreading/editing! NOTE: Hopefully you want need to, but if so, so be it and carry on: To do major edits at this stage, don’t forget about the “succintifying method.”

6) CELEBRATING! After submitting, celebrate with dance and food! 🙂

7) HONORABLE MENTION: XMind for Outlinining and Creating Audio Notes I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention XMind for brainstorming in the form of mind mapping. This is usually how I discover/create/hone my outlines. Good writing of very long works hinges on the outline: A long work’s outline needs to be authentic–the one you REALLY want to write from, not just the product of an exercise just so you can claim have an outline–and it needs to be quite thoughtfulXMind can get your outline there! And it’s FUN: You can attach audio notes to every mind map node in XMind; you can dive down into nodes to get to a zoomed-in view; and you can (re)emerge up from inside a node to get to a higher-level view. As I stated at the start, though this method READS long, that’s because I’ve added a lot of extra details. In actuality, it’s relatively quick and flows. More importantly, it has you producing drafts while it keeps up with your citations and references. I’m elated and recently pretty easily produced 8 pages of “done” writing using this workflow. As always, happy writing!!!

——————— END OF THE ORIGINAL POST ———————

——————— START OF MY DOCUMENTATION OF TWEAKS ——————— 

April 16, 2014 Update: Please view this workflow PDF, check recent blog posts, and visit the Tools pages in this blog’s menu to see updates to my approach as I make them.

April 15, 2014 Update: Idea Mason (mentioned below) does not like Windows 8.1+ on my laptop. I have switched to drafting in OneNote. I still use Scrivener simply to hold polished sections and not for drafting. I switched back from Qiqqa to Mendeley. (I know, I know.) More people use Mendeley and it was easier to share using Mendeley.

January 14, 2014 Update: The ORIGINAL workflow below still works for me. I‘ve now tweaked it in the ways listed below. If this is your first time reading this post, I believe it is better to scroll down, read the original post’s content, and then scroll back up here to read the tweaks listed below. For a diagram of the updated workflow, including links and videos about the programs mentioned in the list below, please see this PDF. Here is a video that I realize can serve as a primer for the list below, thought it wasn’t create to do so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU8lqweuu0g

  1. I have replaced Mendeley with Qiqqa (for links to the Qiqqa website and Qiqqa’s own videos, please see the PDF linked above).
  2. I do my mind mapping in Docear. It’s free and allows you to easily toggle your mind map from a brainstorm branching tree to a hierarchical outline and back, which is ridiculously helpful. I just wouldn’t have been able to imagine how much it helps to create concept maps from your notes and early outlines and then toggle a concept map into a sequential, hierarchical outline to see how it would read as a paper. Wow! Wish I’d been doing this earlier.
  3. I design my paper in Idea Mason and write the “zeroeth” draft of it in Idea Mason. The “zeroeth” (or zero) draft is the draft preceding the first draft, in which you just get it down without worrying about having “perfect,” great, or best anything. Here’savideothatdemonstrateswhyIdesignandzeroeth draft specifically in Idea Mason: 
    1. Detail: To design the paper, I turn a tentative level 4 outline — which I’d built emergently in Citavi as I read, quote-excerpted, and took notes in Citavi — into a story tree as explained by Dr. Carlis here and as pictured here in this snapshot from my Idea Mason file. Designing a story tree leads me to doing good zeroeth drafting, peacefully and fast in Idea Mason (see point four below on zeroeth drafting). WARNING: I don’t use Idea Mason’s citation functionality. I find it quirky. Most other Idea Mason users are fine with it. However, I would think twice about Idea Mason. Use it perhaps if “zeroeth drafting” for you is challenging in MS Word or Scrivener, you have a citation work around, or you don’t mind doing citations later in the first draft. As the video I shared above shows, I think so much better and more fluidly in Idea Mason toward quicker production of writing, SO much more easily than anywhere else such that I just won’t leave Idea Mason out of my workflow. But if you flow in Scrivener, consider skipping Idea Mason. I have compared drafting in Idea Mason with doing it elsewhere, and writing slows substantially for me in other writing environments in comparison. I hope to make a video to explain my complete note-taking, then mind mapping (as needed), then designing, then drafting, then honing process via my Citavi-to-Docear-to-Idea Mason-to-Ms Word workflow, hopefully once I submit my thesis.
    2. Detail: Subsection by subsection in Idea Mason I sketch-write and create a zeroeth draft. I make GOOD use of Idea Mason’s versioning feature so that I hesitate not at all to experiment with making major changes to paragraphs and subsections. This gets better ideas captured down on the screen in black and white faster, and that makes my writing overall go much faster. Much.
    3. Detail: In Idea Mason I create and the configure my “materials” (writing containers) such that I have paragraph containers of different types. Here’s a picture. I build my paper with all “support paragraph” types at first. If I feel it helps, I’ll indicate a paragraph type as a transition paragraph type or a summary paragraph type or what have you later during revising. Also, I configure the layout of my paragraph and section containers such that I can paste the zeroeth draft version to the right of a blank space for writing a honed draft of it. They sit side by side, then, and I hone writing pieces in this way. This picture of an Idea Mason paragraph or subsection container that I created and then configured shows how that’s possible within Idea Mason.
  4. I export my Idea Mason draft to MS Word and use the amazing Citavi Word Add-In to do citation work. Citavi auto-generates the bibliography from there.
  5. The other parts of my workflow remain the same as explained below in the original post except . . . I only use Scrivener as a repository for my honed, final, to-be-compiled-and-printed drafts now. I know!!!!! This is because I am able to do the designing and thinking and chunking in Idea Mason that I only WISH I could do in Scrivener. As you can see in the Idea Mason video I shared above, that makes sense, though: I literally build my paper with paragraph containers (subsection by subsection) in Idea Mason and toggle very fluidly back and forth between the outline, the draft as a whole, and paragraph containers back to the outline, the draft as a whole . . . 🙂 Since I have Scrivener and Scrivener’s exports to MS Word require little formatting, I might as well use Scrivener to collect my completed sections and chapters.

What I’ve learned from all of this work on my workflow is that it’s paradoxical: Simplicity is not about the number of tools in your workflow. It’s about having the right tool for the each job, only doing the jobs needed, and ensuring that each job’s tools yield a product with which the next tool can work. Oh, and, the other thing I’ve learned: Only make changes to your workflow if you really need to. And you can sense when you really need to :).  When a tool OR your methodology is stalling you such that it hurts and does not help or help enough, you probably need to adjust your workflow. As I mentioned, once I’ve submitted my thesis, I hope to be able to create a blog post and a series of 4-minute videos to demonstrate the tweaks I’ve described here. To get a sense in the meanwhile, you might view the Idea Mason series of videos, this Citavi video, and the aforementioned PDF. As ever, happy writing, and take care!

 

Lit Reviewing: Best “How-To” Things I’ve Learned, Best Tools/Forms I’ve Obtained

Greetings!

It’s been awhile, as it is crunch time, academically speaking.

This blog post was easy to create: It is a slight modification of a post I shared at a forum in response to a request for lit reviewing advice. I figured it’s about time I provide an update on the topic now that a bit of time has passed and I’ve learned some new things!

Below are some of the new lit reviewing knowledge, tools, books, advice, links, etc. that I’ve gained in the last few months.

Enjoy!

——————————

There are FOUR seasoned authors who (in their books/works) have explained to me how to navigate the sea of literature and get to the good stuff but not drown in it. I so, so, so wish I had that information at the BEGINNING instead of near the end of my lit reviewing endeavor. Oh, well! Better late then never, I guess?

Author #1: Peg Boyle Single, PhD
The help is located in: her section on how to get in and get out of a source QUICKLY and EFFICIENTLY but SUCCESSFULLY . . . in her book Demystifying Dissertation Writing. LORD, how I WISH TO HEAVEN I had been taught this BEFORE I STARTED READING, ANNOTATING, and trying to LEARN/FAMILIARIZE MYSELF WITH the literature.

DemystifingDissertationWriting_BookCover

Author #2: Kristen Luker, PhD
The help is located in: her section on how to POINTEDLY read from the literature, how to learn/figure out what the best stuff (articles and books) is via a process that has the best stuff “rising to the top,” so to speak . . . in her book Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences: Research in an Age of Info-glut

SalsaDancingIntoTheSocialSciences_BookCover

Authors #3 and #4: Mike Wallace and Alison Wray (I’m 99% sure both are PhD’s)
The help is located: (1) at this website containing amazing tools/samples from the book (see the editable MS Word form/template attached below that you fill out in order to perform a Critical Analysis of a Text) and (2) within their book–especially chapters 8, 9, and 10 and the appendices . . . but the whole, entire book is priceless in my opinion.

CriticalReadingAndWritngforPostGraduates_BookCover

If you are so inclined, take a gander at the reviews for this book, many written by profs. This may help you know whether this book will be useful to you, as well as might checking out the free forms and templates provided at the Sage website for their book. Particularly, looking at their MS Word Critical Analysis Template may help you make that call: It is a free template available at the samples tab of the book’s Sage website.

It is WELL-WORTH a trip to the library to photocopy Single’s and Luker’s advice, techniques, and spelled-out game plan for finding the lit and using the lit without drowning in either process.

Lastly I’ll share the fact that I am so utterly ridiculously happy that I conducted my annotated bibliography (an concise analysis and summary of articles in a collection you’ve “convened”) within the free program Citavi.

No program, in my opinion, is superior to the free pogram Citavi for lit reviewing. ESPECIALLY if you use the keyword function.

I have attached a sequence of screen captures of the REFERENCE tab in Citavi (every source in Citavi has it’s own REFERENCE tab with neat subtabs like Overview, Content, Context, Quotations, Tasks (to do with/regarding this source), etc.

If you look closely at the images that follow, you can glean all the wowser lit reviewy stuff that Citavi enables, such as creating a LINK between two sources and rating that link as (basically) “supportive to each other,” “really supportive of each other,” “refuting each other,” etc.

(If you look closely, you’ll also see a few typos of mine in the screen captures! Don’t look!)

It is very important to note that it is easy to compile and export all this work that you would do in Citavi to an MS Word file, a PDF, and other file types. To print out what I typed in the Evaluation field (where I wrote my analysis and summary for the article or book), I clicked on the blue “Evaluation” link, clicked on the File menu, and selected print. You can print to different file types.

1) Citivi reference OVERVIEW tab:

Citavi_ReferenceTab_OverviewSubtab

2) Citivi reference REFERENCE tab:
Citavi_ReferenceTab_ReferenceSubtab

3) Citivi reference CONTENT tab:

Citavi_ReferenceTab_ContentSubtab

4) Citivi reference CONTEXT tab:

Citavi_ReferenceTab_ContextSubtab

5) Citivi reference QUOTATIONS (and notes) tab:

Citavi_ReferenceTab_QuotationsSubtab

6) Citivi reference TASK & LOCATIONS tab:

Citavi_ReferenceTab_TasksAndLocationsSubtab

Phenomenally nifty, eh, and scholar-tailored, yes? Mmm hmm: I concur!

There’s only so much a fellow STUDENT can really know and help a peer with . . . but I can say that these are the authors/books/tools/knowledge/info/methods/etc. that have best rendered me much more educated and effective about lit reviewing thus far!

QUESTIONS TO YOU!!!:

  • What’s the BEST piece of advice you’ve ever received on how to review the lit? 
  • What’s your lit review process, and what do you like about it?

Well, that brings this blog post to a close. Wishing all student lit reviewers vibes: You can do this!

Mickey

P.S. Aside and SUPER optional: There is a video that helped me (psychologically to understand that it is okay to be POINTED about one’s perusal through the literature: “Writing Your Literature Review: How to Cope with 10,000 Papers You Haven’t Read.” If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, a video explaining how to see the video is there. I think it costs like $5 or something to join the site and access the videos (I can’t remember: It may have been more). I understand why these lecturers charge to access the site: They put a LOT, LOT, LOT of work into it. It’s lifework of theirs.