Efficient Academic Writing… the Project

This blog will be used as a learning journal for an independent learning project. The project is to learn how about academic writing… How to organize research literature and notes… and how to take those notes and produce a finished academic piece such as a book chapter. I will answer the same four questions for each entry:

1. What have I learned today, this semester, this week?

I learned about an excellent tool for organizing research – Mendeley Desktop. I learned how to use it. I am using it in conjuction with Google Scholar. This combination really streamlines the finding of materials. Once your “Scholar Preferences” are added, search result items that are at the W&M library have hyperlinks directly to that resource at SWEM Library. Once I download the PDF, just drag it to Mendeley desktop and it automatically imports the bibliographic metadata, abstract, doi, author key words, etc. I can add personal tags, highlight the PDF, sticky note the PDF and add personal notes that all stay attached to the PDF file within Mendeley. Later I can search my whole database for a word in an article or any of the metadata. Truly a wonderful tool.

2.  How did I learn it?

I found out about the tool from a classmate, Meg. Then I downloaded the tool and played around with it to find out how it works. By trying out the features I learned about what it could do to help me be better organized when doing a lit review.

3.  How might I learn it differently, maybe even better, in the future?

I might have read the manual about how to use it or found a tutorial.

4.  How might I help someone else build on my learning?

I can share this tool with other students and show them how to use it. I created an entry on the SOE Tech Reference Wiki Page http://soetech.wmwikis.net/Collaborative+Research+Tools for Mendeley Desktop and Google Scholar. I also forwarded this information to Dr. Kim, who teaches EDUC 663 – Research Methods. She suggested I might present it to her students as a useful tool.

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