Category Archives: personal insight

Dr. Jones: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the research process

As I am starting to prepare research statement, I was thinking why I started doing what I am doing. And I went way back, when I was a kid. I did not want to be a princess, way to boring.

image source: tumblr.com

I wanted to be an archeologist, going around the world, discovering new artefacts. Then, I got interested in film, since I was curious to know more about this mysterious power film can have on people. And in 2003, star war kids was seen on the internet. So I got interested in this smaller screen. And did a master on how short film can be distributed on the web. By then, I was hooked on research and technology and thinking differently and breaking new grounds. And so I think am cool just like Indiana, because doing research, traveling the world exchanging ideas and teaching young mind, is pretty cool. So when feeling done, think about why you started your PhD. Because deep down, under the complaining and teeth grinding, we like what we are doing. Well, I do anyway…

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T-shaped academia : bridging interdisciplinarity

As I was listening to the The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization by Thomas Kelley, on my way to school. I listen to audiobook while I walk. It is a good way to get a break from scientific reading. Anyway, the idea of a special kind of people got me thinking about interdisciplinarity.

T by chrisinplymouth

In an interview, IDEO CEO Tim Brown talked about T-shaped people. They have two main characteristics :

    • Wide breadth of knowledge across disciplines
    • Deep knowledge in one or two specific areas

The vertical stroke of the “T” is a depth of skill that allows them to contribute to the creative process. That can be from any number of different fields: an industrial designer, an architect, a social scientist, a business specialist or a mechanical engineer. The horizontal stroke of the “T” is the disposition for collaboration across disciplines. It is composed of two things. First, empathy. It’s important because it allows people to imagine the problem from another perspective- to stand in somebody else’s shoes. Second, they tend to get very enthusiastic about other people’s disciplines, to the point that they may actually start to practice them. T-shaped people have both depth and breadth in their skills.

I think that in academia, we should also try to be more like T-shaped person. This could build more bridges across disciplines and create new forms of knowledge production as Kincheloe proposed with the idea of researcher as bricoleur (2001).

Bridge reflection by Mundoo

As bricoleurs recognize the limitations of a single method, the discursive structures of one disciplinary approach, what is missed by traditional practices of validation, the historicity of certified modes of knowledge production, the inseparability of knower and known, and the complexity and heterogeneity of all human experience, they understand the necessity of new forms of rigor in the research process. (Kincheloe, 2001, p.681)

As researcher, we tend to dig deeper in our field, elongating the vertical stroke of the “T”. And our horizontal stroke get shorter in comparison, making it harder to cross the gap to another discipline. This mean even more rigorous work so the bridges we’ll build wont collapse at the first crossing over.
Kincheloe, J. L. (2001). Describing the Bricolage: Conceptualizing a New Rigor in Qualitative Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 7(6), 679-692.

Se vider la tête pour avoir plus d’idées

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David Allen quote from The mind is for having ideas not holding them

Je fais ce poste en français, car il y a déjà beaucoup d’écrits sur la productivité en anglais. J’ai lu Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity de David Allen il y’a deux ans de cela. Je ne suis pas sa méthode à la lettre. Mais quand je me sens débordé, je reprends les grandes lignes du livre. Pour cette fois si, je ne vais pas expliquer toute la méthode, le livre est traduit en français pour ceux qui veulent le lire. Je vais me concentrer sur un point que je trouve vital pour moi. Celui de se vider la tête de tout ce que j’ai à faire en prenant des notes et en faisant des listes, afin de pouvoir réfléchir sur ma thèse et avoir de nouvelles idées pour des colloques ou article.

Je me suis largement inspiré d’une vidéo de David Allen : The mind is for having ideas not holding them. L’idée principale est que contrairement à un ordinateur, on ne peut pas ajouter plus de mémoire vive à notre cerveau. Nous devons  donc libérer de l’espace afin que nous puissions réfléchir davantage.

Vous pouvez tester cette idée par vous-même, écrivez tout ce que vous avez à faire comme changer les piles de l’enregistreuse, acheter à manger pour le chat, vérifier la date de soumission pour un colloque, réponde à un courriel…. Vous vous sentirez mieux et moins anxieux. Vous pourrez ainsi retourner dans le flow de la productivité et enfin finir résumé, chapitre et autre activité académique qui requiert beaucoup de mémoire vive.

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David Allen quote from The mind is for having ideas not holding them


Voici quelques sites intéressant :

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life. New York : BasicBooks.

Heylighen, F., & Vidal, C. (2008). Getting Things Done: The Science behind Stress-Free Productivity. Long Range Planning, 41(6), 585-605.