Fresh out of an academic University submission for the subject of Public International Law today, I realized that there were a few things that actually make your life simpler while doing a project. There are many things that we juggle with when we set out to do a project- there are questions for which you have already done the research and you have enough data to answer, there are those questions that you have no idea about as yet, and there are those other questions which you are in the process of gathering information.
When you have a research structure with more than 6-7 questions, each having their own set of sub-queries that prompt you research on that line, it can get overwhelming somewhere in the middle if you don't do it in an organized manner. It's not that you won't be able to finish it, but certain practices definitely help you put your project together much faster.
Simple. Yet it solves a ton of problems. Just bookmark all the sites you visit in one folder as you read it. This makes sure that it is always there, and you never face that situation where you came across brilliant data but now lost it among tons of other open tabs. Talking of tabs, that's what the next point is about.
2. New Window
Please use the option of "open a tab in new window". I know this is more of a habit, and many people keep fifty open tabs in the same window. I, for one, can never, ever, do that. It just takes me for a spin. I like to have a pictorial location in my mind about where a content I'm reading is in the browser. Using more windows helps you sort out. Use one window for a research question, maybe. Or, use one window for ongoing research, and another window to have those research data that you have finalized on, maybe?
3. Rough-Paper Document
The best way to collate all that you have got on a subject is to open up a draft document for you project. When you find something that is useful, copy-paste with the link below. This way you have the relevant data, and also the sites you took them from.
4. Rough Citations
As you are typing out your project- make draft or rough citations. Put the citation number then and there, and insert the link you need to cite from in the footnote. This makes your job a thousand times easier while citing. I feel figuring out where to cite and matching it with what to cite all at the same time in the end is such a big mess.
5. Basic Formatting
Always, always write with basic formatting. Do not skip that apostrophe, comma, capitalization thinking you'll do it later. Check the requirements for the font style, size, line spacing, alignment, and start writing after setting them all right. Going around adding that apostrophe in don't in the end, or fixing that capital letter in names/beginning of sentences is very annoying to do. And, don't use short forms. Just write properly. By trying to save time, you'll end up wasting more in the end.
Citations really are the bane of academic writing. For all those of you who read it till the end: here's a bonus! If you already aren't aware: use Citethisforme that might just make doing citations a tad bit easier.
All the very best, try to be more efficient next time. But don't be like me: just because I am efficient enough to do a project in an hour when it is supposed to take 3 hours, I use it like a short-cut to guilt-free postponing. Don't do that. Try these, they really help make your project-time that much lesser.
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