Public libraries on Mendeley

Mendeley just included a feature I’ve been waiting for for a while now…public collections of articles that you can manage from within the desktop client.  You can subscribe to the feed or embed code into your site to keep up to date with relevant articles of whatever public libraries you’re interested in.  This is potentially very useful for teachers who have reading lists that students need to be aware of.

In the spirit of a transparent research process, I’ve created and made public the library I’ll be using for my systematic review of the literature for my thesis.  It’s very limited right now, as I’ve only created it for this post.  Over time and together with my research assistant, I’ll obviously be adding new articles regularly.

Proposal presentation

In our department, we’re required to present our research proposals for comment before submission to Higher Degrees.  This allows the group to give feedback before final corrections in the hope that the proposal is accepted without having to make major revisions.

I’ve just shared my proposal presentation that I gave a few days ago on Slideshare.  The feedback I received, although mainly editorial, means that the structure of this presentation is not the same as it will be in the final submission e.g. the Method has received another step in the process.

Would love any feedback.

PhD progress

Things are finally starting to move on the proposal now that I’ve managed to catch up on a lot of other regular work that’s been outstanding.  I’ve had a few meetings with my two supervisors (one is a professor in my department and another is the head of the Directorate of Teaching and Learning at the university) and we’ve drawn up a timeline for submission of the proposal.

I’ve also been spending some time putting together a different proposal for funding, which I submitted today.  I had no idea how much time is involved in getting these things together.  On the one hand you spend a significant amount of time on something that may have zero pay-off.  On the other hand, it really serves to clarify your thinking around the project.  Through this process, I found that vague ideas are easy to have, but finding a workable methodology to take them forward is far more difficult.

I’m also beginning to understand what people mean when they say that research is a very lonely process (I recently spent hours on a few paragraphs, tweaking them so that they’re just right).  Oftentimes, people just won’t understand what the motivation is and it’s sometimes quite difficult to explain.  It’s like that saying: “If they get it, you don’t have to explain.  If they don’t get it, you can’t”.

Anyway, as I said previously, I’m going to try and make this research process as open as possible, in the hope that others in similar situations find some consolation in realising that they’re not alone.