Research First, Part II

“Research first” tends to be code for “publications first” but I am using it a little differently in these posts. I mean it literally: you have to do research first.

I always did — except for my dissertation, which I was supposed to just write, and my book, which I was also supposed to just write. That is why I did not find value in these projects, or in the products.

I have spent my life being exhorted not to prepare class, because I should be writing, and not to read, because I should be writing. That is why I have spent as much time paralyzed or nervous as I have.

The thing is that to give class you do have to prepare it and to write you do have to read, and both class preparation and archival work and reading are research.

So, in the name of research productivity I have always been exhorted not to do research, and this is the paradox.

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3 Responses to Research First, Part II

  1. I am very much on this page. One of the things about the US academic blogosphere (there hardly being a UK one in the humanities) is the immense stress that the bloggers put on writing, on how they should be, how they can’t, how they go through various programs to get words on a page. I can write about almost anything no problem, but my note-taking is too dense for my reading for retention, as opposed to just information, to be fast and so there is always more to read than I can make time to assimilate. I get there in the end but never feel as if I am working well. And yet the paradoxical aim of getting into this profession, at one level or another, was to be paid to read stuff. I still wrestle with the fact that technically I am, because it doesn’t feel like work and so I shunt other stuff that does in front of it.

    • Z says:

      Aha, I knew we were related somehow. I, too, can write just fine and do not understand why people have so much trouble with it in US.

  2. Karen Kelsky says:

    ” in the name of research productivity I have always been exhorted not to do research, and this is the paradox.” this is really well put! It’s the conundrum at the heart of the productivity puzzle–we simply cannot “think” and “learn” and “study” that fast! it takes time! And now there is no time…

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