This is one of the hardest things I encounter as a distance learner. Am I doing this right? Do other people have the same problems? I've been reading these brilliant handbooks (see images below) on doing research. They are written in such an accessible and reassuring way and are literally guiding me through a process which (even though I've done it three times already) I find difficult to steer through alone.
- containing reading (I'm not totally sure what I am looking for so I read more and more, but the more I read the more confused I get; just one more book and then it will be clear; anyway - there's so much interesting stuff out there; I was just looking for this one article and I found all these others)
- Using more reading to avoid getting down to writing
- now I know I read about that somewhere - but where was it again?
Solutions I've found include:
- once I've developed an initial idea, I write down subheadings (often with accompanying questions I wan answers for from the existing literature) for my intended literature review and get strict about what is relevant to those headings. If it is not relevant - don't read it.
- if I'm really tempted by something but it is not strictly relevant, I save it in a folder marked for 'someday'
- Trying to write as I go along, for example, when I have a reasonable amount of literature demonstrating existing research that has been done into the specific uetions I hve asked under each subtitle, I write it up and more on. But I've definitely still not fully conquered this one.
- I have a document that lists everything I read and when. I also make notes on each reading that is carefully labelled with author, title and date, so easy to find and pull up notes specific to reading and to skim through for what I am looking for. It is time consuming to write notes for everything you read (that is where being strict about what you read helps), but well worth it when it comes to the writing up.