Start with the systems…

I figure – as its Sunday evening, I would do well to take some time to reflect before the new week begins. In terms of my cycle of introspection / reflection, I’m still in the phase of setting out intentions hopes and wishes for the few weeks going forwards. My current intention setting is focussed on developing systems. This comes from a chat in the office on Thursday with a fellow PhD student (3rd year) Alexandro. He spoke to me about the important of systems and how setting up good systems from the beginning will be a time saver in the longterm!

When I wrote my Masters Thesis with Rebecca and Fei, we developed a blog (like this one really) where we wrote our ‘brain pickings’ with references – so everything we were reading, thinking, quotes from our interviews – we referenced and tagged in blog posts really thoroughly. Tagging was a new thing (twitter was launched that year) so we got the idea that we would use the tags as search terms with which we would mine our thinkings later. We at the time also used a free endnote-like system I think was called Zotero to collect our references.

When it came to writing up, our process involved creating a skeleton document, and for each category we had decided we were going to write about, we drew up a list of the relevant tags. Then it was a question of going through each tag – putting all the thinkings into one document, and then trying to create a cohesive narrative about these. This seems to me – without knowing that much about Grounded Theory yet, to be a decent way to create theory from data.

At the moment – this blog as a database provides me with an intuitive means to gather images, videos, text and to categorise and tag these – and for this to be done chronologically by date. This blog is then searchable by me (and others). So I feel quite excited about trying my systems out here!

I do need a bibliography system – I’m going to see if Zotero still exists!

I’m interested to see what taxonomy of tags and categories evolves – as this is something that also comes from the data in GT.

Finally I’m reminded by a quote from Jocko Willink –

Discipline is Freedom –

being disciplined about using these systems properly will bring freedom later down the line.