Andrew L. LaFave – Scrivener, Process, and Finding Art in Academic Writing!
Will be presented by
Andrew L. LaFave, full-time Ph.D. student in K-12 Urban Education Policy at the University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education
October 5, 2014, 8:00 p.m. USA/New York Time Zone
Please join the seminar by clicking on the link below within 90 minutes of the start of the seminar (Click here for technical support if needed)
After months spent reading, gathering data, and analyzing and thinking about a research project, the time comes to write. But how to proceed? How can you keep track of all this information?
Even more importantly, how can you craft a meaningful piece of writing that not only expresses your findings, but does so in an elegant, literary way? In this seminar, I offer one tool and two strategies to transform a doctoral student buried under a mountain of research into a scholar with a polished finished product. The tool is a program called Scrivener, which functions as an all-in-one research tool for organizing relevant literature, analysis, and original writing. The value of being able to use a single computer application to manage everything a project needs from idea to finished work cannot be overstated, and the utility of a tool like Scrivener leads to the first of my two strategies: finding a way to organize your writing. I suggest several possibilities – from outlines to mind-maps to napkin scribblings – to help transform your work from untidy notions into concrete statements. My second strategy draws on scholarly tradition of the nineteenth century to help the more technically-minded among us find ways to express our thoughts in a more fluid, readable, and ultimately more artful way. The prevailing style in academic writing is intentionally obscure, preventing the dissemination of valuable research findings to an audience beyond our colleagues in the academy.
This presentation will provide students with concrete strategies to improve the quality of their academic writing. Based on my own experience developing my voice as an emerging scholar, I offer an overview of an all-in-one research and writing application called Scrivener1. Scrivener was originally developed for screen writers and novelists, but the program’s capacity to organize and store literature-based research coupled with an easy-to-use nonlinear word-processing function makes it ideal for academic use. After the overview, I provide a variety of strategies for organizing a writer’s thoughts, including mind-maps and outlines. I conclude with several suggestions for how to avoid the opaque drudgery that weighs down so much academic writing, and provide some guidance on how to turn students’ writing from dreary academic lead into artful, literary gold.
Meet Andrew LaFave
Andrew LaFave is a full-time Ph.D. student in K-12 Urban Education Policy at the USC Rossier School of Education. His current research focuses on the schools as organizations and the power dynamics that exist between and among administrators, teachers, and students. Prior to becoming a student at USC, LaFave was an award-winning conductor and high school band director in Las Vegas, NV, where his ensembles consistently earned superior ratings at state and regional music festivals. He lives on a 34-foot sailboat in Ventura, California with his wife, son, and cat.
Follow Andrew on Twitter at @Andrew_LaFave; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org