I’ve spent the weekend doing a different kind of reading: academic.
Yes, the research books are (almost all) here, and my M.A. thesis research can start. Whenever I have to write a long course paper or dissertation, I start at the end. The very first thing I write is my bibliography.
I have several reasons for working my way through from the back. First of all, I may not own copies of all the books and library books will be time-limited. By adding those books to the reference list right away, I’m sure not to forget one. As long as I keep photocopies of the pages I need stapled together, and hand-write a note which book they’re from, I can return the book on time.
By adding every book, journal or chapter as I get it – in alphabetical order and listed according to APA style – I will have a complete list from the start, because print-outs can be misplaced.
But most importantly, once I’m all done with the writing and everything has been proofread, I just need to go through the citations and simply delete the ones I didn’t end up using. That way, everything is already in the right order and formatted to university standard. A simple Ctrl + F8 search will show whether I cited an author or not. I find this saves a lot of time, as the end of a project can be on a tight deadline and references can be overlooked or simply forgotten in the scramble to submit the project on time.
Is anyone else doing this?
It may be just me and my obsession with books and lists, but I like to have them all in one place so I know what I’ve got to work with and I’ll have all the doi addresses and URLs handy as I go along (if I don’t have hard copies to hand).
As of right now, my list is 7 pages and 1,400 words long in Arial, 12pt, double-spaced (as per university guidelines).