by Jonathan Gehrz | December 27, 2011
Like any year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s serves as a period to pause and reflect on where we’re been and where we’re going. This year proved no exception. This year, my wife and I gifted a Kindle Fire to my seven-year-old son. True to form, he took to it immediately and without incident, while his technologically declined father spent the first few hours reading directions, blogs, chats and reviews about the pros and cons of the device. It should come as no surprise, noting my son learned a computer login name before he could even spell or write his own. Yet, his savvy to this new technology (new to me) continues to astound me and reminds me that his generation is learning how to process and compartmentalize information differently and far more rapidly than I will likely ever fully grasp (perhaps we chalk that up to the natural process of aging). In the course of this reflection, however, it gave me pause to think about how he might experience a dissertation. In the world of apps, ebooks, Google and social media, how might the activity of independent research look different?
Well certainly not exhaustive, my initial search effort did not disappoint. A few key highlights:
Google: A range of searches (dissertation research, dissertation writing, dissertation proposal examples, etc.) all yielded millions of results inclusive of professional services, tips, grants, professional help, software, and examples.
eBooks: Google (Books) again did not disappoint, with more than 28.6 million books on dissertation. Similarly, a simple search of “dissertation” in the Kindle Store quickly returned over 200 self-help, step-by-step, writing your dissertation fifteen minutes a day with 101+ tips and techniques.
Apps: As I turned my attention to the million+ apps, I found a wealth of resources on gathering and filing information (DEVONagent, DEVONthink, Notebook, Papers), statistics (SPSS, Strata, MathMagic), reference management (Sente, Bookends, Endnote, BibDesk), project management (Notebook, Process, Think, The Hit List), mindmapping (Xmind, Freemind, Mindnode, Inspiration), and more (Scrivener, PDFpen, GraphClick).
Facebook and YouTube: Admittedly, I have yet to fully immerse in the worlds of Facebook or YouTube, but even my novice search yielded a plethora of groups and videos dedicated to dissertating.
Invariably, by the time I learn to master and integrate such resources, my son will be old enough to suggest to me that “new knowledge” is only as good as yesterday’s technology. So as we leave 2011 behind and reflect on our resolutions for the new year, consider, how are you dissertating?