The Importance of Having a Plan

For me, this week was about focus and concision. Doing research in the age of the 'info-glut' can be really difficult and time-consuming, but I found that Luker's tips were really useful in learning to navigate that.
Research is a process, and it tends to be a long one for me just because I get caught up in certain tracks and then I change my mind or I realize I've been reading about the wrong thing (true story). I have always had a problem with being organized before going into the research process, but Luker's tips were really helpful for that. Her idea of not reading a whole book, just the introduction and conclusion and the table of contents is something I did during my undergrad, but not nearly enough. I would often find myself reading a book that my professor had told me would be useful for my topic, but finding it wasn't really that relevant, but I would continue to read thinking that maybe it would eventually say something useful for me.
I also appreciated Luker's point about not always listening to your professors. While they are extremely knowledgeable and helpful, they don't always know exactly what your research interests are, and may try to give you advice that doesn't quite fit your ideas. Research is a personal thing, in that it's your own personal interests, and I appreciated Luker reminding me of that.
It's really easy to get off track when doing research, especially if you're like me and have a curious mind and can't help but follow every lead to its end no matter how pointless. This chapter really helped remind me that to do research properly and not waste time, you need to go into the process with a plan and a clear research question. I'm really going to have to work on that.

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