During the first semester of Honours I feel that I have come a considerable way in my reading and writing practice. Although this does not necessarily translate into a more efficient use of time and the ability to finish work with more time for proof reading, the depth in which I am exploring my topics can be recognized (i.e. I still find that I am writing up to the deadline, but I can see a change in the quality of my work) By reading and writing practice I am referring to all three subjects: Research Workshop A, Communication Revolutions and Transient Spaces.
My approach has been to use a notebook for summarizing, transcribing and brainstorming. This is the messy part of my research. Any and all thoughts go into this notebook. Next I either translate these notes into blog posts or start to organize them into a word document, which eventually becomes the layout of an essay. My result for the first essay for Communications Revolutions reflects the effectiveness of my approach. In terms of Transient Spaces (which is still being marked, but with which I feel satisfied), this practice of constant reading/writing/reflection resulted in an outcome where I was able to experiment and be creative and effective with my media production. In terms of Research Workshop A, I was able to use research to actually locate, refine and define the problem I am facing. Because this topic is my major project for the year, I have used first semester to make sure the concept and approach to the production is the most appropriate. I have tried to ensure that the foundation of my documentary practice and theory is a strong as it can be from the outset.
In terms of using the library as a resource, I have tried to be more critical, creative and lateral in terms of searching the databases. Through exploring and experimenting with searches I have become familiar with e-journals and databases and have been forced to decide on the relevance of articles for myself. This means more analytical, critical and in depth reading which helps improve all aspects of study in general. I have also been on the lookout for connections between subjects and topics in order to locate arguments and to have ideas. Whilst there is always room for improvement, I have definitely come a long way in this area and can see how I can progress as the rest of the year wears on.
The area in which I need to improve most is project management. By this I mean managing my schedule in terms of balancing the amount of time I put into each different aspect of study, utilizing a calendar and gant chart and maintaining these disciplines and habits. In the first three years of my degree this has always been my weak point, and I have tried to improve throughout the past semester. I would say that there has been a significant change and better management of time in 2010, but when pressured this sense of structure is lost and prioritization of my time is not as effective as it could be.
Connected to project management is my use of software such as Zotero for managing my bibliography. This is need of vast improvement as I’ve found myself resorting to my old method of manually entering references into a word document. For this to change all that is required is more concerted effort on my part to take more notice of Zotero. On this point of picking up new habits, I would say that I have fostered a productive use of delicious book marking which has become invaluable.
Overall grade for Participation: 85% HD
I feel that the level of reading and writing I have done has helped me build a strong foundation for what will hopefully be a strong and engaging project. The original abstract I had at the start of semester was a problem in itself, which needed resolving, and I feel I have done this through utilizing methods and ideas discussed during Research workshops.