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Managing your information: session 2


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Managing your information: session 2

  1. 1. Managing your information: a workshop for first-year Ph.D. students Session 2 Emma Coonan Cambridge University Library
  2. 2. Course content <ul><li>Session 1: managing found/published information </li></ul><ul><li>Session 2: managing the information you generate </li></ul><ul><li>store – organise – retrieve – synthesize </li></ul>
  3. 3. Session content <ul><li>Active reading: notemaking and recording </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity vs. project management </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping track: road maps, the big picture and lightbulb moments </li></ul><ul><li>Learning styles: how do you work? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Reflection
  5. 5. Active reading <ul><li>“ The art of reading is to skip judiciously” </li></ul><ul><li>~ P.G. Hamerton </li></ul>
  6. 6. Step 1: Why are you reading? <ul><li>To understand a concept? </li></ul><ul><li>To gather specific facts? </li></ul><ul><li>To identify the structure of an author’s argument? </li></ul><ul><li>To find alternative views so you can challenge an argument? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Step 2: What’s in it for me? <ul><li>What’s relevant/useful for my own argument? </li></ul><ul><li>What other work does this piece mesh with? </li></ul><ul><li>What lightbulb moments does it spark? </li></ul><ul><li>What might be a blind alley (a white rabbit)? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Step 3: Notemaking and futureproofing <ul><li>‘ Gut’ your text! </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight, underline, strikethrough; annotate, use symbols </li></ul><ul><li>Leave yourself clues about the content, e.g. on the cover page/in your referencing system </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Useful tools: </li></ul><ul><li>highlighter and pen </li></ul><ul><li>PDF-Xchange Viewer/Foxit/interactive software </li></ul>
  10. 10. Step 4: Extracting the best bits <ul><li>Consider where and how to store the useful extracts: </li></ul><ul><li>referencing software </li></ul><ul><li>text document </li></ul><ul><li>index cards </li></ul><ul><li>other … ? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you find the relevant bits again – quickly and easily? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Base document (Teresa)
  12. 12. Index cards
  13. 13. Mind mapping
  14. 14. Step 4: Extracting and futureproofing <ul><li>How will you distinguish between: </li></ul><ul><li>direct quotation </li></ul><ul><li>paraphrase </li></ul><ul><li>your own ideas </li></ul><ul><li>? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Activity: interrogate your text <ul><li>Choose an approach …. </li></ul><ul><li>colour-code, mark up and annotate by type of information/what’s in it for you </li></ul><ul><li>produce a 25-word summary </li></ul><ul><li>think of two questions that Jeremy Paxman would ask the author </li></ul><ul><li>represent the argument as a mind map </li></ul>
  16. 16. Information issues
  17. 17. Tools for keeping on track <ul><li>Alerting services </li></ul><ul><li>Research diary </li></ul><ul><li>Road map </li></ul><ul><li>Big picture </li></ul>
  18. 18. Alerting services <ul><li>Most citation databases offer RSS or email alerts </li></ul><ul><li>Set up a profile and save useful searches </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Drip-feed’ of information keeps you up-to-date but not overwhelmed </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher blogs </li></ul>
  19. 19. Research diary <ul><li>“ The research diary can be seen as a melting pot for all of the different ingredients of a research project - prior experience, observations, readings, ideas - and a means of capturing the resulting interplay of elements.” </li></ul><ul><li>( </li></ul><ul><li>The &quot;vehicle for ordered creativity&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>(Schatzman & Strauss 1973: 105) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Road map <ul><li>Fundamental structure of your research project: why – how – what? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are you doing what you’re doing? </li></ul><ul><li>How have you chosen to answer the question? </li></ul><ul><li>What have you found out? What does this mean? </li></ul>Giles Yeo, Clinical Biochemistry/Wolfson College
  21. 21. Road map <ul><li>Fundamental structure of your research project: why – how – what? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are you doing what you’re doing? </li></ul><ul><li>How have you chosen to answer the question? </li></ul><ul><li>What have you found out? What does this mean? </li></ul>Research proposal
  22. 22. Road map (Jamie)
  23. 23. Road map: time management
  24. 24. Road map: time management
  25. 25. Big picture (Sandra)
  26. 26. Big picture
  27. 27. Learning styles
  28. 28. Final tips <ul><li>Where to start </li></ul><ul><li>Time and space </li></ul><ul><li>Help and support </li></ul>
  29. 29. Where to start
  30. 30. Where to start <ul><li>… not with the introduction! </li></ul><ul><li>Road map/research proposal should give you structure </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping a research diary and making summaries will get you writing </li></ul><ul><li>Write modularly, then link up chunks </li></ul>
  31. 31. Time and space <ul><li>Time of day : creative thinking vs. repetitive work (e.g. proofing, bibliography checking) </li></ul><ul><li>Time out to relax and reflect </li></ul><ul><li>Ph.D. research is a snapshot in time – not never-ending! </li></ul><ul><li>Working space: the right environment for you </li></ul><ul><li>Enough room for a spatial overview of your work </li></ul>
  32. 32. Help and support <ul><li>University sources: GDP, CPPD, Skills Portal, Graduate Union </li></ul><ul><li>Supervisors, research groups, librarians </li></ul><ul><li>Friends and peers </li></ul><ul><li>Online forums, e.g. Graduate Junction (, Postgraduate Toolbox ( </li></ul>
  33. 33. Thank you!