Research Trips: Five Tips for Surviving the Worst-Case Scenario

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I was recently on a research trip in Hungary when, three days into my two and a half month stay, my laptop, camera, and passport were stolen. Although the theft made my research trip much more difficult, it was not devastating and I was able to complete the research I had set out to do. By taking a couple of simple measures beforehand and asking for support from the academic community when I needed it, I survived my worst-case scenario.

Five Selfish Reasons to Blog

Writing something down can help you clarify your ideas.

Often blogs are discussed in terms of their public expression … sharing information and experiences, creating a community, disseminating your ideas to a potentially large audience, etc. Obviously the flow from the blogger “outwards” is a very important aspect, but here I’d like to mention five reasons why you should consider blogging for what it can do for you rather than for your readers. The reasons below are applicable to any blogger, but perhaps even more so to academics, where blogs if properly used can become a wonderful compliment to more traditional methods of disseminating ideas.

DEVONthink Pro Office Basics

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Even though I have used DEVONthink Pro Office for years, I feel like I haven’t really used it beyond its most basic features. Now that I am done with my dissertation (the only thing I used DEVONthink for), I have been starting to explore some of the basic things DEVONthink does that I didn’t previously […]

Why I Settled on Mendeley for Organizing Research

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I have recently started to revisit some of the research I’ve collected over the last few years in preparation for the doctoral comprehensive exams, and have realized what a lifesaver the reference organizer and note-taking application Mendeley has been. Back in 2008, I had files across multiple locations and devices — some on a laptop, some on a desktop, some on a collection of flash drives. I hadn’t gotten the hang of this new thing called cloud-based storage. But then I found Mendeley, and my virtual research space has been much tidier ever since.

How Digital Technology Has Changed Oral History

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When I conducted my first oral history project back in 1999, I used a cassette recorder to tape the interviews, and a 35 mm camera to take images on slide film. The materials were deposited in a library archive, only available to users on-site. Advances in technology over the past decade, particularly with digital audio recorders and video cameras, have reshaped the options and opportunities for collecting, archiving, and providing access to oral histories.

More Questions than Answers

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This post will be a departure from my usual spotlight on tech tools. I seem to be having a lot of conversations lately about academic freedom, intellectual property, and access to academic resources. In a way, this does tie into our discussion about technology because technology — especially Internet databases — is supposed to make more things accessible to more people. The Internet is supposed to be the great equalizer.

Options for Sharing Your Research-Related Images

Ed White, doing the first American spacewalk in 1965.  Now also part of my dissertation image collection in Flickr!

Part of my dissertation research involves images, and in writing my last chapter, I wanted to share the images I was using with my committee co-chairs. In the past, I’ve put images into Word documents, and never really liked the results. So, I’ve investigated other ways to share images with them, and thought to share my testing with you.

Dedoose: an Alternative Application for Qualitative Data Analysis

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As I approach the dissertation phase of my doctoral program, I’m particularly interested in research methods and the software I may need to analyze data. Of course, I’ve taken statistics courses and used SPSS for my quantitative data analysis. However, it looks like my own dissertation research will require qualitative methods and a different kind of software for data analysis. I’ve discovered Dedoose, a relatively new Web-based application that works well for my needs.

Collaborating on a Conference Panel with Google Drive

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Over the past week or so, I’ve been working with a couple of colleagues to put together a panel for a conference we’re applying to. We worked on our rough ideas for the panel via a group email, but when it came time to write our panel summary, I suggested that we could try using a shared Google Drive document. My fellow panelists were game, and it ended up working really well!

Comparing Research Managers — Zotero, Evernote, and DEVONthink Pro Office

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While writing my post on how I use Evernote, I thought a lot about why I chose to use it over keeping my dissertation notes organized in Zotero or DEVONthink Pro Office, the two other research managers that we’ve written about on the blog. So, the following is a brief overview of each application and reasons why you might want to use one over the other. So, if you’re trying to decide what application you might want to try out this may help you out!