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August 02, 2007

Why is it so difficult to write?

Why is it so difficult to write? At least for me this was not only the most challenging part of my first year, but also proofs to be a major burden of my URSS project. Today, I targeted to simply finish of my research on the historic background of higher education reform and to write a scholarly essay on the matter. Well, I did not; despite three folders of extensive notes, advanced MindMaping software and a lot of good ideas. Instead, I found plenty of excuses to reopen my research, work on my annotated Bibliography and I even found myself downloading commentaries on the book Exodus from J-Store. But where does this apparent incapability to summarise the work I have done originate from.

I guess, one element of it is a fear of bullet points. Having read a lot of essays on my topic, believing to have understood them makes me very self conscious. Indeed, I am very much inclined to judge the my own work by the same standards as the published work that I have been using as resources for my information. Not surprisingly, I always loose in this comparison, feeling inferior, or even like someone who is simply using other peoples ideas. Since I know where I have drawn my ideas from it feels like cheating not simply to refer others to these works.

The second problem is structure. My notes follow the structure of the works which I consulted, but of course these differ and opposed to first year classes there are no lecture notes which provide a general just of how things are. Yesterdays entry briefly considered this problem, even though it did not go into sufficient depth. It is not a clear cut decision whether to take a chronological or a thematic structure in the first place; moreover, arranging ones thoughts around the structure chosen seems even more challenging. Especially after the first 200 words written it is incredibly tempting simply to dismiss everything and to construct a whole new plan. This leads to nothing but frustration.

For my last report I used the constructive option of simply forcing myself to write. I do not claim that the outcome was the most pleasant experience for my supervisor, not did it satisfy PAIS referencing standards, but it left myself with a sense of accomplishment. What I will try tomorrow is to use this experience, free writing a semi structured report. However, I will be a little bit more disciplined compared to my last report, aiming for a fully referenced work. This is very much possible because I have a full day to do this. And once it is done Dan and I will finally able to focus on our main topic of enquiry: The Bologna Process.

August 01, 2007

Annother Summary Day

Today, I could finish of my mind map, really appreciating the beauty of MindManager. I am still waiting to a reply from the IT-services to whether they are also able to supply the software to my personal computer, if so that would be brilliant. However, the MindMap does not completely help me to overcome my ordering problem, since I am not sue yet whether I should structure my summary of higher education reform chronologically or by political actors and their particular position.

The reason why I am not sure on this issue is that all major argument have been around for quite some time now, the predominance of one over the other is thereby mainly subjected to the relative positions of power of the particular group. Essentially, it is I believe that the pre-dominance of Neo-Liberalism is a major factor to explain why Germany has finally come around to some major reforms.

This is of course a very complex development, in fact I might as well describe it as ‘the course of history’. In fact probably it will be much easier to organise it chronologically, since this offers the opportunity to stick to a relatively neat pattern of organisation.

The atmosphere is getting up with the weather, yesterday Dan and I used the first afternoon of sunshine to walk eastwards from Leamington, going through Offchurch, whose Pub was unfortunately closed, so we carried on to Cubbington.

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