Well, I answered question 1 in about a day and a half with 16 sources and in 12 pages including references. Starting question 2 of 4 tomorrow.
Is it too much to ask that my fingers figure out how to type out the word information? I mean seriously. It is one of the most typed out words in all of my qualification exams being that my degree is in information science.
For some reason though, my fingers keep typing it informaiton! I have enough other words that Word does not recognize that I have to type over and over again (interdisciplinarity anyone?) making the ugly red line seemingly pop up every 4th word as it is!
Well, I’ve mapped out citations for 2 parts of the first 3 part question. What does that mean? It means I’ve broken up the question in all of its parts into different Evernote notes and then went through all of my materials (also on Evernote) and put relevant quotes with their citations on each one.
It’s part of my leanphd methodology that I do fully intend to map out for those who want to be in the know, one day. I just need to find time to do it. I usually do this mapping in scrivener, but since I am taking advantage of multiple computing devices to get this done I felt that Evernote was the better choice for the time being. Once I get all the information in one place, I may transfer it all to scrivener. I’ll have to see if that seems worth it or not when the time comes.
Alas, this is the end of the night for me for tomorrow I shall start anew and fresh and hopefully somewhat rested. I still have the rest of this question to map out and then the next three. Then, you know, the actual writing part.
Of course, the one article I really want right now is no where to be found and is not available in any digital repository I have access to. This is one of the few times it really sucks to be so far away from the university as I know I could walk into the library tomorrow and make a photocopy of it.
If I ever do find it, I will scan it in, OCR it, and make sure it’s in at least three different accessible places with backups as I’m almost certain I’ll be referencing it for my dissertation.
This morning I got my list of 8 qualification exam questions of which I am to choose 4 to answer. At first it of course looks overwhelming, but I’d be disappointed if it didn’t. While I can’t discuss the exact content of the questions or my answers, I can discuss the process I go through to answer them and all of the real life stuff I have to deal with at the same time.
Like for example, should I leave the house to do this? Or, should I just barricade myself in my office (where I have all of the sudden noticed the lack of flat space on which to lay out materials), turn up my music, and try to get it done here.
I can say, for those who are interested, my questions focus on things like the interdisciplinarity of info sci, open source, virtual ethnography, and social informatics.
This entire process is wrapped up in a mess of excitement and anxiety. Oh and procrastination of course, but I only have a week to complete four papers that will determine whether or not I actually get to begin my dissertation process, so that really can’t last long. As I look around though, I have to say, my desk could use some tidying before I even try to start this madness…
So, tomorrow starts my 3rd semester as an Info Sci Phd Student. I’ve been in school for so many years that I have developed several habits on the eve of the semester that help me get focused and get organized. Realizing that there are a few students that read my blog, I thought I’d share just a few of these things that others may find useful as well.
1. I make sure I already have all my books
Yeah, this may seem like a “well duh” statement, but I take this one step further in that I put tabs sticking up off the top of the first page of each chapter. This helps me understand when the syllabus says “Read chapters 1 – 4”, I have a good idea ahead of time just how much work that is. Additionally, I can easily flip to any chapter I need to in an instant when I need to study.
2. I create my file structure
This is perhaps the IA coming out in me, but I like to have a place for everything from the beginning. I create a parent folder for the semester Fall_2011 and then I create a folder for every class. Once I get the syllabus and the class materials I create a folder for every week inside each of the class folders, as well as a homework folder so all of my assignments are in the same place.
3. I setup my Omnifocus database
Each class gets its own setup where I put in all of the assignments based on the syllabus once I get it. This way both my computer and phone go off to tell me when I have something due. I also get that bit of excitement when I get to check something off as done.
4. I setup my Evernote notebooks & tags
Each class gets its own notebook that all get stacked together in a notebook for the semester. I then setup tags for each class and the semester overall.
So there you go. It’s not the most exciting stuff ever, but it helps me stay organized which is very important for online classes – especially in grad school.
For those who want a little more in depth look into all of the tools I use check out my Signal to Noise post I made about 4 years ago.
Good luck this semester!