Writing literature review or how I became a wizard

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During the first two weeks at NUGSE I could definitely realize what my study was going to be: full of assignments, papers, readings and deadlines… So once I asked myself: why didn’t I go to Hogwarts? However, now I am sure that I am exactly there because I really feel like a wizard. The experience of the first semester helped me learn how to do impossible things, or, at least, impossible at the first sight. And I would like to share about the “magical powers” that made my process of writing litreview assignments much easier.

First of all, I would highlight such wonderful reading techniques as skimming and scanning. When the professors were light-heartedly telling us about the final papers and especially about the number of sources that we should analyze in order to write them, I was just in panic. I could not imagine how to read 20 sources for each paper, and the sad thing was that there were 3 of them. Nevertheless, it turned that my fear was vain when I started looking through the articles. It was enough just to skim or scan the text in order to grasp the main idea and find certain extract that worth reading thoroughly. Moreover, after skimming and scanning the articles I found it very helpful to group those ones that contain similar topics or concepts; it helped a lot when I proceeded to writing. The proverb “the devil is not so black as it is painted” suits well here as every difficult task is supposed to have an easy way to deal with it.

One more thing that I learnt is called “1 day – 1 writing”. To be precise, I revealed that it is difficult for me to cope with several different papers within one day since then I am not able to concentrate properly on any of them. Instead, I decided to devote one day only to one work, or to spend several days to finish one and then proceed to another. Sometimes the latter is not possible because several deadlines may be quite close to each other; therefore I, mostly, prefer alternating my works, i.e., the former way. In addition, when surfing the Internet my attention was grabbed by an interesting post where the author claims that to be Julius Caesar is impossible and even harmful. To put it differently, multi-tasking, or doing several works at once, has detrimental effect on the brain and diminishes the quality of works you do (Cooper, 2013). I completely agree with that as my own experience showed that work distribution helps to write more efficiently and keep a track of ideas.

Finally, I discovered some strange power of my brain which I call “the last moment effect”. Surely, it has been said more about the time management and its importance but what I found for myself is that my productivity significantly rises with the approaching of deadlines. I am not speaking about writing and submitting papers when there is only one or two hours left; I am not such brave kind of person. What I mean is that the rule “the less time you have the more intelligent your writing is” works excellent for me. On the other hand, some Internet writers express strong disagreement with the belief of working more productively under the pressure of ‘less time conditions’ asserting that it is not a good habit to keep. They believe if someone really benefits from having less time they either do it occasionally or usually work like that (Gonzalez, 2014). I do not support this point, by the way, due to the fact that less time do not mean pressure for me but mean more creative ideas.

To conclude, I have described here my “magical powers” that served me as tools for completing my final assignments. Nothing is impossible, and it relates to writing course papers as well; the only thing that you need is to figure out what style of work suits you best.

P.S. I hope you to share if you ever had the same findings as me, or, if not, could you tell about your personal work style?

References

Cooper, B. B. (2013, September 12). Ten surprising facts about how our brains work. Retrieved from

https://blog.bufferapp.com/10-surprising-facts-about-how-our-brain-works

Gonzalez, R. (2014, November 4). Why do we work better under pressure? Retrieved from

http://io9.gizmodo.com/why-do-we-work-better-under-pressure-1553149028

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2 thoughts on “Writing literature review or how I became a wizard

  1. Dear Xeniya,

    Thank you for your practical and interesting post. I think almost all students are wizards as they are able to create an excellent paper in a short period using their own study styles.
    In my case, I found techniques as scanning and skimming, and devoting my day only for doing one thing are effective as well. However, I try to avoid “the last moment effect» and submit assignments as soon as possible because when deadline is coming, you become under pressure and stress; consequently the quality of a paper can suffer seriously. Moreover, I notice wherever I procrastinate, the Murphy’s Law (Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong) happens with me. Once I have submitted my paper at 11.59 p.m. because of waiting “a great idea”, when it grew up in my mind, my laptop broke down, and later the light turned off. It was completely harsh lesson for me and I have strongly started using time-management strategies after that. In addition, I recommend applying mind-mapping or outlining to organize your thoughts, and to master a critical reading technique that is extremely useful.

    Wish you all the best with your study!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Aigerim, for your reply and advice. I should admit that writing papers when the deadline is close is not always a proper thing to do, and your example will make me more cautious about it from now on. Anyway, it was very interesting for me to hear you sharing about your work style and experience. I hope your working habits help you to create genial papers!

      Liked by 2 people

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