Is this a problem?
Category Archives: Research
Friend posted this link to a Chronicle of HE article about a study of atheists.
Author of blog post Tom Bartlett headlines his review with this headline:
“Do Atheists Really Believe in God?”
“Do Psychologists Really Believe in Skin Test?”
Meh. I think author’s question about whether any imagined external force, God, Squirrel, Bad Luck makes one “anxious’ is the right one. id they bother trying to figure out if one is an atheist, what they think the statement “I dare God to kill my children” means?
Like, right now, I am thinking about this, I am aetheist, and I am thinking “what a shitty thing to happen” and I am aware that there is some external mechanism or cause of the badness. I mean, if God does something bad, it is usually through an agent- a flood, a burning topiary, or a bearded guy. It is not like he shows up like Zeus and bangs some chick for no reason.
So, really, maybe the statement reminds us of how there are unknowns out there and it is frightening to think about them. So belief in God is really a fear of the unknown. And so the title could have been “Belief in God is fear of the unknown.”
So, interesting study. But like 99.9% of social science, what to make of it depends on interpretation.
- Atheist Myths (tolerantatheist.wordpress.com)
- How To Know If You Are An Atheist (atheistrev.com)
- Where are the honest atheists? (news.yahoo.com)
- Kansas City Atheists Kicked Out of St. Patrick’s Day Parade out of ‘Respect for… St. Patrick’ (patheos.com)
- Atheist church’s faithless flock proves value of religion (thepunch.com.au)
- Why Atheists Should Embrace America’s ‘Godless’ Constitution (americanhumanist.org)
Ok, so I was hunting for a journal target for a working paper.
I needed to find possible outlets beyond obvious A-levels.
Thought I would take a key reference and see who had cited it and then hunt THAT set of cites for possible journal outlets.
Web of Knowledge has some awesome cited reference search tools, but ONLY for articles.
So, back to google scholar. Found the reference, a chapter from 2001 in Social Capital: Theory and Research (that’s a sexy title).
Clicked on the “cited 568″ link.
Now, I have a list of those 568. I don’t want social capital and health, for example, so next I nee to search WITHIN these for results.
First, check the “search within citations” check box at the top of page.
Then click down arrow in search box.
Next, you get all your choices.
Make sure you use OR in caps for multiple selections. Also, you can use truncated terms like “manang*”.
Voila! From 568 to 46.
- “Manipulating Google Scholar Citations and Google Scholar Metrics: Simple, Easy and Tempting” (digital-scholarship.org)
- Major Update to Google Scholar Website (accounting.typepad.com)
I feel like I need one stop shopping for my institutional theory, fields, emergence, and logics chapter.
How do other people do this?
Traditionally, I suppose I would have taken reading notes or annotations on each item. Then a draft would be written using quotations from those sources.
Now I have notes and annotations scattered across many sources. There are
- Reading notes by item
- Synthetic notes where I assemble quotes and my thoughts from multiple sources around a common theme.
- Digital annotations and underlining in pdfs of articles and books.
- Hard copy annotations in books (and maybe a few articles that are older)
- Lists of possible resources
I am feeling stymied by how best to proceed. As this is a topic I will come back to, I am interested not just in finishing this draft, but also in having a tool or resource. I can keep adding to for future writing. A secondary benefit is using it for teaching or for collaborating.
- Just write, no resource. Here I would continue to edit the draft as is and add literature as I need to based on the need in the draft and relying on memory or searching the PC for items. I could also go through known good sources systematically and leave a few quotes around paper as needed.
Pros: Seems most direct. No worries about other tools.
Cons: each search may lead me down rabbit holes. Relying on memory or other ways to access lit may bias me in a direction. Has been aggravating in the past.
2. Use Excel. I would make a spreadsheet with all the resources. They are ranked by essentiality. I could add some rough summaries of some resources I have. I can then add fields as necessary. One issue is what to do with quotes. If I put them in a field, or in new columns, each record could get really LONG (down the screen) or WIDE (across). A variation is to add a hyperlink to a file of good quotes from each one.
Pros: Easy to add and manipulate records.
Cons: Not easy to get material from spreadsheet into a paper. If the spreadsheet is very big, cumbersome to find things. If I use hyperlinks, I still have to hunt in that file for quotes.
3. Use Word. Like Excel. I would use Word and have it as a table. Easier to edit text in Word. Still not sure what to do with quotations. If I try to go “wide” as in extra columns for quotations, then it can get very wide quickly. Like Excel, not sure how to organize quotations anyway.
Pros: Better word editing than excel.
Cons: Table may have upper limit of rows and columns
4. Use Nvivo. Nvivo can code in PDFs AND in word documents. So, if one starts from scratch, one can build many possible searchable nodes into a library of documents. This is very good for supporting multiple projects with same or similar literature. It also has analytical features, like searching for words and using that as the basis for coding. It can output what is collected. It can also support theory building through queries.
Pros: Building multi-use, multi-project tool. Searching PDFs AND documents. Search and query functions for theory building. With reports, can extract the references with their quotes.
Cons: can not edit tables/databases in Nvivo. Time intensive right now.
5. Use a wiki-like tool such as google sites. I have already done this some in compiling some synthetic notes about Institutional theory or operating definitions for this project.
Pros: With hyperlinks, somewhat easier to get from one topic to another.
Cons: Would have to cut and paste all content. No obvious way to include pdfs.
- How To Do Literature Review (Nvivo or not? Wiki-ly or not?) (netsweweave.wordpress.com)
Now Eviatar shifts to chunking tasks. He calls this, quite nicely, “a mountain with stairs.”
Two points resonated for me. First, about outlines, he suggests only outlining or changing outlines _between_ final drafts. This may be part of my problem with “code rules” as it has been restructured five times, at least I think. Not all of these were after a final draft was done.
Second, he advocates writing and then revising in stages. This more useful for my students than for me, perhaps, as I am already a committed reviser. They still think, most of them, that writing is getting your ideas on paper instead of realizing that writing is another form of thinking. They think it is a mistake to rewrite, instead of normal.
Now, to complicate matters, the idea of the mountain with steps is appealing; common-sensical too. Break down the seemingly distant and difficult task into smaller, feasible steps. I have climbed mountains. I absorbed *Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance*. I have told hiking groups I led that to climb a mountain you have to have the disposition of a cow. The difference is that in those cases, I usually know which way is _up_. In writing, I find myself wondering if these steps are really the right steps to take. I especially wonder if I am going up at a good rate, or, even worse, going down. Efficiency and failure trouble me more directly than self-doubt that I will finish. In mountain terms- I worry now about going sideways or downhill more than about whether I will ever get to the top.
In next chapter, Eviatar (he could be a Tolkein Elf) discusses scheduling. This is one of those topics that always seemed self-evident to me even as i struggle to do it. Kind of like pedagogy. But with age comes humility and I have been more willing to work on the self-evident instead of assuming it is self-materializes due to its obviousness.
The schedule is a reflection of priorities overall, and Eviatar states that your writing priority has to “fit” with your other priorities. He acknowledges there are external constraints. But on p 17 he writes: “Nevertheless, we usually have much more control over our time than we are willing to admit to ourselves, and if you are seriously committed to giver your writing a high priority on your schedule you can normally manage to somehow find the time to write even under extremely difficult conditions…”
In general I agree with him. However, more than creating a schedule, the challenge for me is managing the priorities. This is a bit like the other topic on “how to say no.” Is working with my daughter’s need for more exercise an external constraint or a priority? Is choosing to have equitable gender roles with my working spouse a constraint or a priority? Is feeling compelled to teach in a very labor intensive way a constraint or a priority?
Ultimately, those goals or aspirations which compete for high priority with writing are facets of my identity. So, asking me to prioritize is also asking me to rearrange my internalized identity.
Put this on FB this morning.
Heard news peeps, based on recent census, describing how the US will become a “majority-minority” nation by 2020 or so. Can we kill that phrase now? If no single group is more than 50%, it is called pluralism folks. Or, multiculturalism. Or anything but majority-minority.
Among various problems. it perpetuates some idea that white majority is the natural or desired state of the USA. Look, when the “white” population falls below 50% it is just not the majority. OK? Deal with it. The term sounds like whities get together at my house on Wednesday while the blacks, browns, yellows, reds, and all other hues get together at Denzel Washington’s. It is just not that bipolar anymore. I’m not saying some sort of utopia of “i’d like to sing the world a song” will happen, just that identity, justice, controversy, politics, love and marriage, and schooling will be full of problems and promises in new ways.