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Contemporary Military Archaelogy, Landscapes, Research, Outreach & Blogging

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Getting focussed – 3 busy months ahead

In three months, near enough, I’ll have come to the end of YEAR 2 of my PhD. By that point I aim to have completed my data collection and analysis and given myself a good foundation to start writing in earnest (and hopefully a bit of wriggle room for some extra fieldwork, as I always want to do more!).

So it’s all about focus. Here’s an interesting bookmark that came up just now, as I was trying to get back into another website (thanks, Firefox).

https://thinkaheadsheffield.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/overcoming-digital-distractions-and-why-multi-tasking-is-for-losers/

I don’t know if I can ever fully give up multi-tasking but I need to limit it to particular tasks. I’ve noticed since I started doing more work online (e.g. in Google Docs) it’s a lot easier to go down the internet rabbit-hole, and I miss the flow I’d get from working in a word processor with no tempting tabs in the corner of my vision.

Anyway, that’s enough distraction! Back to my word document now… 🙂

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Re-inspired! #CHAT2016 and #MCA2016

So I got back from the CHAT 2016 conference in Orkney last night (a nice LONG drive back down to Yorkshire!) and realised it’s been a couple of months since I updated this blog regularly.

I wish there was some way I could do a PhD by portfolio – a portfolio of conference papers and practical reports, as they’re the way I seem to think the best. It’s really helpful for me to render ideas down into 15-20 minute presentations and then thoughtful questions from other conference attendees help to put things in a new light for me.

I’ve had 2 great conferences in as many weeks and they’ve inspired me to get more active on this blog again as a way of Thinking Out Loud.

(we’ll see how well this fits in with the rest of PhD life…)

Watch this space for conference reviews and research updates as I work through the ongoing synthesis and analysis of my fieldwork data and try to get the rest of my archival and interview data collection done by February!

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Writer, academic…

Functional categories #picoftheday

The week thus far has been spent collating my fieldwork results and testing the categories I developed in my first fieldwork session back in Spring. The material culture in and of the stone tents contrasts interestingly with that in the active training contexts of the live firing area.

I am trying to use a grounded theory approach to conceptualise the development of my functional categories – this approach is used much more in sociology and social sciences but has an application here as my categories are developing from qualitative data such as conditions reports and my own observations.

At the moment however it is mostly about writing lists. Many, many lists of cross-referenced categories, comparing like with like and different with different, to see which categories and properties emerge.

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Academic workflow, or, I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

I’ve never tackled a document as big as a PhD thesis before and I knew from Day 1 that my usual approach (start at the beginning, write to the end, panic, rewrite) would NOT work, so I’ve been road-testing different workflows to see what works for me.

Others have kindly shared their academic workflow models and thanks to their recommendations I have (for this Year 1 Draft stage) settled on EndNote for bibliography management and Scrivener for draft/notes management. (Fortunately Scrivener is available with a 30-day trial, giving a lot of time to decide if it’s a good $30-$40 investment, and I already had EndNote.)

Continue reading “Academic workflow, or, I Love It When A Plan Comes Together”

“La gĂ©ographie, ça sert d’abord Ă  faire la guerre”

I’ve had a mini-win today, after banging my head against a literature review for far too long.

Yes, I’m doing an archaeology thesis. But this is (at least in part) a geography chapter.

I’m looking at how military land use influences the management of known archaeological features (or “heritage assets”) on a training estate in the UK, so I’ve been dutifully reading about specific case studies and specifically looking for legislation and management plans mentioning archaeology. I was struggling a bit.

Continue reading ““La gĂ©ographie, ça sert d’abord Ă  faire la guerre””

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