How to Unfile Research Paperwork

My filing cabinets had been bursting with grad-school materials for years. This weekend, I finally got around to addressing the problem. I’m calling the solution my unfiling system. Recognize That Past Research Projects Take Up Precious Space Something I’ve realized: if I keep all the hard-copy research I’ve done, I’ll be buried alive in paperwork. I would wager that a pack rat lurks inside every researcher—but even for an academic, I boast a pretty pronounced hoarding instinct. My boyfriend generously calls it my documentarian nature. As a girl, I collected brochures and menus. Now in my thirties, I continue to amass stationery. Grad school was a paper heaven for me. With academia come piles of paperwork. I don’t just mean bureaucratic detritus and the kinds of program brochures and promotional materials that I love to collect. I mean research, class notes, syllabi fodder, teaching materials, past dossiers, old cover letters, and handouts that may not be useful in the future but that I’m lazy enough to keep anyway. I’m guessing you, gentle reader, might exhibit the same tendency from time to time. Weigh Practicality and Sentimentality I have a pretty extensive filing system for all of my academic research; what I’ve lacked is a way to make space for current and future projects. To do that, I know I must make peace with the past and move along. At least I had hanging files set up to categorize the papers I kept. Teaching materials and coursework are sorted according to class and semester. My thesis and dissertation research have their own files, several for each project. Thank goodness I’d...

Monograph, She Wrote

In honor of the television series that I have been streaming online, I’ve added a new pair of postcards to Tweed’s collection. I just watched an episode of Murder, She Wrote in which Jessica Fletcher lectures at a prestigious university, which gave me the idea for an academic version of the show’s title: Monograph, She Wrote. There’s even a Monograph, He Wrote version. Send some postcards to your hardworking friends working on academic manuscripts. To access a full-size image, you could actually click on the thumbnail of the one you like and add it to your blog or Facebook profile. (All I ask is that you not alter the image.) Have a great weekend, all! As for me, I’ll be dreaming of an active retirement in Cabot...

How I Self-Revised My Dissertation, a Video Presentation

Today, I’m proud to share with you a project that’s been on my mind for a long time now: a video presentation detailing the steps I took to revise my own dissertation. Sometimes it’s difficult to dive right into revisioning and redrafting (the components of revising) because there’s no clear first step. Every PhD has found a way through the mire; as I’m in a position to share my approach, I’ll do just that. Revising from the Standpoint of a Developmental Editor To bypass the hemming and hawing that can accompany the academic revision process, I ultimately drew on my training and experience in developmental editing. That approach allowed me to accomplish several important tasks all in one phase: solidifying the argument from the ground up and restructuring accordingly sharpening the thesis and its many permutations addressing faculty feedback polishing the writing adding almost 100 pages of content I emerged from this process with a defense draft of my dissertation that was stronger than the previous version in every way. To accomplish such a total overhaul, I had to have a way in; otherwise, it would have just been too daunting to start. Sharing My Revision Experience I surprised myself with how much I was able to improve my dissertation in a span of two months, so I have for some time known that I wanted to dissect and relate my experiences for others’ benefit. It’s what we all do: having accomplished, we look back and extend a hand to those who are following the same path. The resulting twelve-minute video presentation details the process I used so that...