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Author Topic: research productivity tools?  (Read 4721 times)
tucker2012
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« on: April 29, 2012, 11:00:33 AM »

Hello,

I am new to posting on the Forum. I am a recently tenured associate professor (social science discipline), and would like to find ways to maximize my research productivity while adding some balance to my life.  I would be interested to hear any/all suggestions for how to make research and writing more efficient, and to get more journal articles out the door for review. What has worked for you?  Have any of you tried a group approach (e.g., the Emphasis on Excellence workshops, or the Faculty Diversity workshops), and if so, are they worth the time and money?

I look forward to your thoughts, and to becoming part of the forum community.

Tucker2012
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bevo98
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2012, 11:38:08 AM »

Congrats Tucker2012!  There are so many different ways to approach this.  Sounds like you are investigating some already.  Personally, I found Robert Boice's ideas on writing in his 'Advice for New Faculty" particularly helpful.  Look into a few options and see what works best for you.  I am sure you'll find your groove, so to speak.
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tucker2012
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 5:06:21 PM »

Thanks Bevo98!
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pats12
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 12:03:17 PM »

Hi there,

I have participated in the Faculty Diversity workshops and they are excellent--well worth the yearly cost to get the 12 workshops (you don't even have to go...you can just download the podcast which is what I do and then listen to it on a commute).

In addition, I love both How to Write a Lot (Paul Silva) and Tara Gray's book (forget the name...Publish not Perish).

Or if you want something more methodical, use Wendy Belcher's How to Publish a Journal Article in 12 Weeks. I followed it exactly one semester when I was writing an article that I didn't want to do but got a freebie thrown in my lap.
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hegemony
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2012, 1:25:51 PM »

I have three things that have raised my productivity from embarrassing and lackluster to something I actually feel good about.

1. I measure my time. I work in timed sessions, usually 45 minutes, but less if the work is intimidating.  I aim for a total of 90 minutes every day.  I asked the most productive (and unstressed!) person I know how much she aims for every day, and she said 90 minutes.  But it's adjustable -- some days are 15 minutes, some are 3 hours.  I put down how much I'm going to do the day before, and write down how much I did.

2. I have vowed to myself that I will work every single day, no matter what.  For some people this wouldn't be good, but it keeps me going.  I have worked every single day, including Christmas, for the last 18 months.  On busy days like Christmas, I write one sentence.  That counts.  It just has to be something.

3. I've set up a check-in system with two friends.  Every day without fail we report (on a website we set up) on how much time we put in and what we're going to do the next day.  They're very productive themselves and I don't want to be the slacker, so it keeps me going. I see them as the productive ones I want to measure up to, and, strangely, they see me as the same.  We all keep each other going.  They are the reason I've published as much as I have in the last year.  There is a commercial website that does the same thing -- I hesitate to mention the name as it may violate Forum rules.  Anyway, however you get the accountability to other people, it can help a lot.

I don't know if those are "tools," but they're definitely methods.  They have literally doubled my research productivity.
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tuala
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Posts: 29


« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2012, 9:14:17 PM »

Fantastic advice here!

One thing that is helping my productivity is Shut Up and Write - an informal, regular get-together with a focus on individual writing. The idea is to hold the sessions in a cafe, so that there is a social / fun element and then to write for say two 25 minute sessions, with a 5 minute break in between.

All you need to do is plan and bring whatever you are going to work on.

There wasn't a group at my uni, so I started one. Early days so far, but I'm enjoying it and finding it helpful.
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kellyhof
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Posts: 2


« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 9:46:39 AM »

Great advice. But what about video tutorials? Youtube is full of essay writing video tips.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QylC3zpVwZo
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lotsoquestions
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2012, 10:05:30 AM »

I've recently been experimenting with "spin off" projects.  What I mean by this if as you write Paper 1, you come with an idea for a related paper, then you can organize yourself to write the related paper in the future -- so that you're not starting from scratch with the next project.  I recently gave a conference paper, wrote that chapter, then came up with an idea for a somewhat related paper that I was able to put together and submit to a different type of journal but which relied heavily on the groundwork that I had laid in the first paper. 

I'd be curious to hear what others have learned over the years about organizing research in this way. 

Here I use Zotero to keep track of articles and footnotes, etc.  and this way when I'm working on a related project a lot of those cites are already preloaded.

I've also begun doing collaborative research and using research assistants more.  I laid out a project recently that I probably won't get to next summer -- unless I can convince one of my MA students that this would make a great MA thesis -- in which case I'll have them do the lit review, etc.  and then write the paper together with them.
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kron3007
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Posts: 1,120


« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2012, 4:14:25 PM »

Stop reading this and get back to work!

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bookishone
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Posts: 1,980


« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2012, 9:51:05 PM »

Stop reading this and get back to work!



Ha! So true....

I use Freedom (for Mac) to turn off my internet access for X minutes/hours at a time. Windows has something similar. While I'm working, I have a file where I stash the things that I would normally go look up online -- a publication date, check the spelling of an author's name, look something up in a database -- and save that work to do once my internet comes back online. This really helps with distraction.
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