methodistcoloringbook asked:

as an academic research librarian i would like to say YOU ARE DOING EXACTLY WHAT WE TRY TO DO WITH INCOMING STUDENTS. 1. show them: there are sources! 2. teach them: where to find those sources! 3. let them: draw their own conclusions so hopefully, 4. they will go out and learn more themselves. the incredibly pedantic and angry "academics" up in your blog mirror the faculty behavior we are desperate to correct. it is so damaging to inquiry, especially when learned young! so, THANK YOU.

Actually, thank YOU because it’s my hope that by doing this, your job will get easier. Too many people (and some faculty as you mention) go out of their way to make this process seem impossible. Which actually does kind of lead to the whole thing where people “accuse” me of something by saying “but ANYone could do this!” And I’m like, “please DO!”

And a double thank you for continuing to try to correct that behavior…I kinda gave up on the entrenched-in-their-ways folks, cut out the middleman, and went slightly rogue. So hopefully this double-pronged approach will help shift the whole mess ever-so-slightly toward progress.

TL;DR: Dear Librarians, you are the pillars of Bibliomancy and I love you.


This is a great introduction to how scientific studies may be conducted. Unfortunately it is rare that a person actually can and will go to the additional effort of evaluating the studies that they rely on to make their arguments.

When you hear someone insist that something has been proven, be skeptical or inquisitive enough to actually read the study and see for yourself. There may be confounding elements that are being swept under the rug. Human beings often have a conscious or unconscious agenda that may be anything from basic ego (“I am right!”) to money and power.

Every intellectual has a very special responsibility. He has the privilege and the opportunity of studying. In return, he owes it to his fellow men (or ‘to society’) to represent the results of his study as simply, clearly and modestly as he can. The worst thing that intellectuals can do - the cardinal sin - is to try to set themselves up as great prophets vis-à-vis their fellow men and to impress them with puzzling philosophies. Anyone who cannot speak simply and clearly should say nothing and continue to work until he can do so.
—  Karl Popper 1994: Against Big Words

jeshala replied to your post: Evidence, Arguments, and the Idea of “…

So like… interesting debate/research is off the menu now? Dang, people. You’re very good about saying ‘this is a thing that may or may not be true’ when you’re not sure. Guess that’s too hard to read for some yahoos though.

What irks me personally is that the people who do make absolute claims seem only to be able to imagine that their perceived “opposition” must be equally extreme, or as rigid and uncompromising as they are.

A perfect example is this ask and my answer from 5 months ago:

How do you respond to “Middle ground”? ( people who say that “there were POC in medieval europe, but there weren’t that many”.)

Uhhhh, according to your criteria above, medievalpoc is the “middle ground”.

It really depends on where AND when you go. Elizabethan England had so many (specifically) Black people that Elizabeth I tried to deport them en masse. It didn’t work because deporting your own citizens doesn’t, usually. 15th Century Bohemia, as has just been so thoroughly discussed, had relatively few people of color. “Relatively few” isn’t ZERO.

Notice I’m not saying EVERYONE was a person of color.

I wish people would really stop overstating my purpose, and creating a false polarization about medievalpoc. It’s getting ridiculous.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter how I say what I say, it seems like the problem once again boils down to me saying anything at all.

I think that the problem here is the more you learn and read and see about history, the less sure you can be about making most claims, especially ones that are blanket statements or generalizations without exceptions. The further you go, the more you research, the more of these “exceptions” you find, until you begin to question the rule to begin with!

That is a good thing. I mean, there are exceptions to every rule. What happens, though, when you group, collect, organize and document ALL the “exceptions”?

You see a whole new picture.

That is progress.




Top, skirt, arm and leg fluffs by

Black sclera lenses by

It was not only libraries and archives that acted as sources for our research, but we also had to search into the minds of the participants involved, as their opinions and imaginations are also valid, and fuel the role of arts and culture in the production of knowledge. This has been one of the prime functions of the arts since the beginning of recorded history.

Slavery and the  British Country House, Edited by Madge Dresser and Andrew Hann (p. 135)

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anonymous asked:

Writing my first book. Please tell me what order I should go in HELP. I have index cards and an empty notebook in front of me, know exactly how I want my story, but what goes first? Research? Names? Plot twist ideas?

Ideas come first. Well, really, the first thing is: what excites you?

It doesn’t matter if it’s a character, a twist, a concept, or just a single moment. The thing you’re looking at and cannot wait to drop on your audience. It’s the one thing that will drive you to commit to the project, and will carry you through the parts that tie it all together.

Once you’ve found that, you should have an idea of where to start. Everything else is negotiable.

A formal pattern would be: concept, lit review, preliminary plotting, research, plot refinement, write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite… call it close enough to done, rewrite again.

Concept is easy: I want to write this. At this stage it’s fairly nebulous. You can probably scribble out a concept in a single paragraph. And almost any writing prompt you’ve seen falls into this general category. This is just having the idea.

Lit review is where the work starts. You need to go out, find other material in the genre, read it, and start building a comprehensive idea of what the genre you’ve just waded into really looks like. This isn’t always a necessary step. If you’re a hard core sci-fi fan, then a lit review of space operas probably isn’t going to be that useful, because you already know what you’re looking at. But, if you’re wandering into new territory, this is absolutely vital, because you will learn new things about the genre. You should keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t in the genre as you’re going. This will help you avoid easy mistakes, and will help a lot.

Preliminary plotting has probably already started. You might have actually started this when you were building the concept. So if this is already done, you can move on. This boils down to, I have characters that do these things. You might only have a vague idea of what happens along the way or where they’re going, but you should have an idea of where your story starts.

This is probably where you’ll start to get a handle on your characters. You might have had some concepts for them already, but after your lit review, you should have a vague idea of who you want in your story. You’ll probably keep refining them through the entire process, and research will tell you a lot about who they should, or would, be.

Research is a lot like the lit review, it’s work, and you probably started doing research during your lit review. This is going to be very dependent on your preliminary plotting and what you learned during your lit review.

One piece of advice about research: buy your books and keep them. You never know when a stray book on Arthurian lit or a history text on Mesoamarica will suddenly become relevant to what you’re doing right now. Also, if you’re in college, keep your textbooks. I know it’s basically free money, but good ones can be incredibly valuable resources later on. Being a writer requires being a book hoarder.

Also, I know I put this in a linear order, but, research never ends. You do the research you want before you start, but throughout the project you’ll keep hitting points where you need to go back in. Again, if you still have the books from earlier they’re still available as resources.

Plot refinement can be just nailing down the order of things in your head before you start, or it can be sketching out a formal outline. It depends on what works best for you.


Rewrite. Because, as they say, “writing is rewriting.” The hard part here isn’t actually finishing, it’s knowing when to stop. Once you get going, odds are you’ll never be completely satisfied with what makes it to the page. But, if you don’t check yourself on this, you can easily end up spending ten years revising a project to death. Don’t do that.

Obviously, you can rearrange these however works for you. Generally speaking your lit review and research will inform things about the story you’re trying to tell, closing off options and opening new ones, so they should come first. But, honestly, if you have something you need to get on the page, do it. You can always clean it up, fix it, or feed it to a grue later.

Two things to grab:

Steven King’s On Writing. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of King, but his advice here is excellent.

King recommends of reading Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Do that too.


The ways in which scientific research is implicated in the worst excesses of colonialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world’s colonized peoples. It is a history that still offends the deepest sense of our humanity. Just knowing that someone measured our ‘faculties’ by filling the skulls of our ancestors with millet seeds and compared the amount of millet seed to the capacity for mental thought offends our sense of who and what we are.

Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, by Linda Tuhiwai Smith

a focus on ways research communities — the medical community, academia, anthropology — have exploited, misused, and marginalized others has kind of organically arisen this year. this book is intense, excellent, intensely excellent

Yesterday, the Pew Hispanic Center released updated numbers of unauthorized immigrants living in America. Wondering how these numbers are calculated, given that it is a more difficult population to assess?

ABC Univision has a plain-English explanation of our methodology, with help from Jeff Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center. "Back around 1980 or so the conventional wisdom of the time was there were 6 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country," Passel tells ABC. "That was both very wide and very wrong."

A much needed reminder that how we frame things can lead to entirely different outcomes, and this holds true outside of conversations centered on poverty (think race, gender, etc.). How poll questions are framed influence their outcomes. It is very important to know WHO is asking the questions and WHO is paying for the poll. People can manipulate to provoke the desired outcomes. Pin this on Pinterest.

Helpful Links for Advanced Organic Chemistry

Not for the undergrad taking o-chem to fulfill their w/e requirement but rather for those interested in furthering their knowledge of the discipline and perhaps aiming to join a synthesis/methods lab.

Advanced Organic Synthesis Handouts

Tips and Tricks for the Organic Lab Undergraduate/Grad Student

Challenging Organic Chemistry Problems

Encyclopedia for Organic Reagents