Monday, August 2, 2010

What I learn from 'Organising my EndNotes'

EndNote is a fantastic software that I visit frequently. However, I did not find time to actually explore it. I will one fine day, but not today. For now, I'm happy to toss in all the journal articles I've inserted in my small steps of fattening my review and arguments of literature. That's what I promised myself, I need to update all readings on a daily basis. I promised myself that I'll read at least 3 journals and review them using Pat Thomson's methods:

  • write the argument of the article using 4 bullet points.

  • write the evidence using only 3 bullet points.

  • write the epistemological stance - 1 bullet.

  • identify how is it relevant to my own research.

  • identify 1 interesting point and 1 point of disagreement (be critical)

I usually type this in Word doc, and then I'll link this doc to my EndNote. I've found this method very useful, because usually, when I first read it, some articles weren't actually-seemed-to-be-useful, but as time goes by, I actually needed those articles to answer my supervisor's query. This is what I learned, the need of Knowledge Management.

This is what I'm 'physically' aiming for.
Rabbi yassir walaa tu 'assir ya rabbi.

For now, I'm contented in using EndNote to be my 'physical' knowledge manager. I use EndNote to use knowledge; label it, place it (systematically), locate it, exploit it and delete it (make sure you have actually received your degree before doing this). I don't really enjoy doing this messy thing at the beginning but being systematic makes my research grow, my knowledge puffed and I thank Allah for that. For granting me clear mind (and a bit nutty to!)

So far, this method works for me since we (the Azza PhD team comprising Dr G and a few nutty researchers) believe I'm not reviewing my journals like the kopitiam menu system - listing all the hardwork of others in systematic way. I'm actually arguing authoritively and writing evaluating statements. I must thank Rosie Douglas and Ruby Rennie of Edinburgh Uni who taught me to do this nearly a decade ago! I have to be frank though, I did not have a clue on what they were talking about during the final year dissertation tutoring sessions, but now I truly do! Truly, badly, deeply do. (I remembered how Ruby gave me a journal to synthesise. I don't even now what synthesise means at that point!)

I'm sorry for other readers who aren't in the research world. Lack the audience awareness, I know,  which is very bad! And I'm sorry. But I learn better when I can explain what I understand to myself in simple words. And I thank you for sharing this platform with you!

p.s: My first entry from Nottingham Uni PhD workroom, which causes the academic-ness of this entry!


  1. Salam Azza,

    Very useful article. Where can I get more info about the Pat Thomson's method?

    With regard to end note, there is another similar software which is refwork. I am using the tool to manage my literature review. Easier to learn and most university subscribe to it. So you can use it for free rather than the free pirated end note. You can google to compare the two software or check from here-

    Ramadhan Kareeem from us in Nottingham, UK.

    Nottingham, UK

  2. Thanks Fakhizan, and am truly sorry for the horrendous delay in replying.
    The Refwork is very useful since we mostly deal with the journal online, and I'd use it too if I haven't started with EndNote first.
    By the way, Nottingham Uni Malaysia Campus is very generous, they provide us EndNote software! Cool eh?
    So, have fun PhDing yourself! May He pours His blessings to us and the ideas will always fresh and flowing, insha Allah.


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