I like Pat Thomson‘s recent post about looping. In it she describes a useful writing method to quickly expand on a topic, then reflect to distil down, before expanding again. It seems like a nicely structured approach to get yourself started on a topic, or begin exploring new ideas.
It strikes me that it would also be really neat for reflecting on your research as the viva gets closer:
- Pick an aspect of your work and just write freely about it for fifteen or twenty minutes.
- Then take some time to reflect: What have you been writing about? What are you getting at?
- Summarise your reflections in one sentence.
- Now use this sentence as a starting point for a new period of writing.
- Reflect and repeat until you feel satisfied.
I like Pat’s idea of reading through and thinking about everything that’s been written at the end too. An hour or so of writing and reflecting in this way could do a lot to get you exploring your thesis in a new way at the end of your PhD. A neat method for shaking off the cobwebs and seeing what else is in your work.
Pat’s a very generous academic, and shares brilliant ideas every week on her blog. I’d recommend you take a look at her past posts because I’m sure you’ll find something useful!