August 03, 2007

Finishing Phase 1

I am glad to be able to say that I have overcome my writers block. A combination of further research and free writing was what helped me most, no matte how good my own excuses were not to do exactly this. The more I wrote, the easier writing became, moreover, the whole subject matter started to make some sense. This shows me again that I should have done it much earlier, but than again I ask myself, what exactly I could have done differently in my preparation.

The Way I am working now is to write an annotated Bibliography, in which I summarise what I found interesting about a particular text. These summaries are not referenced, but completely emotive, as I found it simply takes too much time to note down any detail. In a sense, this works very well to get an overview over a topic, however, it consistently lets me down if I want to write more than a couple of bullet points on a subject. Because, this method also implies that I have to go back to each essay individually in order to find the particular passages that I need. Due to the time intensity of this, I do not make use out of all my material, because it is just simpler to stick to a confined number of sources. A vicious circle really.

I have written before on how great my enthusiasm for MindMaping software is and maybe it could offer me some guidance with this problem. Additionally to my annotated Bibliography, I could note down the passages that I believe to be relevant in my mindmap. Than, it should be relatively easy to access these parts, whilst I am writing my text. What I will note down and what will be left remains of course a question which no software will, hopefully, ever answer.

Content wise, I am consolidating my knowledge on higher education reform in Germany and start to look at the broader philosophical context. During my, gap filling, research I stumbled across some quite interesting articles that go beyond the report which I am just finishing of, but that may also be of some interest. One specifically targets the question of how European universities came on the path of marketisation at the end of the 1980s, so that should defiantly be of some interest.

Dan was also writing on his report for most of the day. We saw numerous parallels between German and British developments, especially regarding the expansion in the 1970s and the lack of funding in the 1980s. I guess, after that Britain took the more radical approach with electing Margaret Thatcher. Anyway, it is a real pleasure to discuss these things on the kitchen table, inspiring each other and spending new motivation. Hopefully this will stay the same when we start researching on the same topic tomorrow. But, I am sure it will because we are now both bringing in our own little field of expertise, which should equip us with some very individual way to analyse the same policy process


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