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initial dump, short
Sarah M Brown, PhD
almost 2 years ago
ing across disciplines is hard.
---As an aside I am not ready to wrrit etoday, I wante d to and I dont know why I am so blocked. I like for things to figure out what wou d happend. I am so tired and that would be the hardest thing that didn't happen. I just need to figure out what can be done. I Need to get through what this can be done. an dthi si not goingn to be easy. I just need to get a etter solution and i need to figue out what this ca be resolved. I cannot do this, it's so hard. I do not know how to get hrough this and how to figue out tis writingn and I am fatigues and ungry.
Writing is hard, in general. Expressinng ideas withouth continual feedback that comes from a verbal conversation. Writing well depends on the audience. Writing becomems easier over time when you writie within a specific community, you et to know the auience and you eging to understand etter things. As you gain a more familiarity with that audience it gets easier and easier. This is the better thing to do. Is this a better solutionn.
However interdisciplinanry writing is much harder, largely for that reason exactly. You have to write for an audience that's a community you're not a member of. Style conventions vary. Terminology is different. Length is even difffernt. An understaningn between you and your audience is dissolved. YOU hae to think about what these thigns that you hae een acustomed to fro so long mean in na different light. Thinking form new perspectives is really hard, we're nto wired for that. We are wired fro using past experience to generate ideas and concnepts and to evaluate new eperiences. The same words can mean different things. The organization of the contnecnt is even differnt. Conventions for writing titles and headline and sectionn headers all vary.
Writing for a new audicen is hard because its th eopposite of what we are trained to do and it is the opposite of what our braind s are wired for.
It's hard even for senior people, so it's ok to strugle with it as a PhD student. One of the most transformative experiences of my phd trainingn was an interdisciplinary wrriting experience. We had to work across borderlines. None of us knew what the answer was. We didn't now how to understand how this could have worked.
We were a team of engineers and psychologists attempting to write something particularly challenging to begin with. We weree claiming the need for an epistiomological shift, and proposing an optionn for a direction to go. We broke down core problems and were proposing a more computationally rooted option. We would take turns drafting sections of the paper. A psychologist would write it and the engineers would find ti too imprecise and qualitative. We would try to write it and it would be too technicacl, too full equations and not descriptive enough. We weren't making progress. We needed a dramatic interetion.
Thi was a large interdiplinatry progje there were four professors sevearl postdocs and two phd students. nice total people. We were nearing the end so fthe semester as we were stuck and so we decided our solution woudl comem in a few weeks. We found two weeks, were two days each week we could all agree to clear our schedules. Thursday and Friday each weeek. Four total days. We reserved a conference room and didn't tell anyonen else in either lab. No one was welcoem to interrupt or ask questins or ask for signatures from many of the faculty or anything for those four days. We called it a writing seuqester. We stayded in placec. Duing the right thingng we could do.
Duringn those two days we spend the thwol timem and we worked through what twe needed to do. We spend then timem and we worked togheer. We set the paper up from an outline in word into a sharelatex projet. We knew there would be a lot of citations that no one wanted o manage manually and we knew tha tthere was a lot of equationns that we would ned throughout much of th epaper and we needed a cloud based soltuion so tha twe could all work together. We sat around the talbe and started working. We could talkand discuss and sentence by ssentencec s we could compose the paper sectionn by section . We though aout what this can be done.
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