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Once again great job at the conference forum ladies.
What if you're pretty fresh into your career, don't have any ideas for writing/publishing, and aren't even sure how to come up with ideas? In my particular case I work at a private CRM company and most of the projects I work on currently don't provide a whole lot of inspiration.
What are some things some of you do or have done in the past to get inspired, get ideas, or get started?
Is this just something that maybe takes more time, experience, and knowledge and I shouldn't be worried about trying to jump in? Or is the opposite approach better just to get my feet wet? (applicable not just to me specifically but anyone that is young and just starting their career)
As the assistant editor for the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, I get to see my fair share of manuscripts go through the review and publishing process.
First of all, you don’t have to be sitting on a goldmine of data to write a paper. If you are, that is really great- good on you. But for the most part, we only have some working pieces of a puzzle. Write about those pieces. It is perfectly okay to not have a the final answer, and most of the time people don’t. We have these Journals to professionally pass around these ideas for others to build on. Don’t forget that we are a community.
You could also view writing a manuscript as an excuse to explore topics that you otherwise wouldn't get the chance. You can revisit aspect of your thesis that you didn’t have time to go into before. You can analyze a particular component from a field season. You could synthesizes a couple articles, or write about the work of a grandfather/mother of archaeology.
Say you are a lab tech and don’t get to see much of what is being written about the report- ASK the project manager. Say, “Is there anything about this project that could use some more exploring, I have the time and energy.”
The most important point that I cannot stress enough is do not wait for somebody else to tell you what is interesting and don’t wait for somebody to ask you to write. If you have an idea- bring it up. If you don’t have an idea of what to write about- ask your colleagues.
It may not be the most profound archaeological discovery the world has ever read, but you have to start somewhere. You can’t hit if you don’t swing.
I will emphasize that communicating with project managers and PIs about your interest in getting involved in a project(s) that has potential for research is the way to go. At first when you are trying to get your foot in the door, you should be open to doing pretty much whatever is needed for the research - i.e. data entry, library research and the such. Such tasks will also get you experience on doing research, collaborating, etc. Even offering to present a piece of the study or data for the group as a whole at a data sharing or a an informal talk venue will greatly help. As a grad student, the first year I made it known to faculty that I wanted to gain experience doing research - after the first semester when I helped a prof with historic ceramics from Sri Lanka and basically demonstrated my commitment and willingness to go beyond my volunteer nature, I got more offers. The key was to be flexible and willing to take on any task for the research. Hope this helps.
Post by kristinagill on Apr 7, 2014 8:14:50 GMT -8
Great advice! I might also add that if you would like to discuss some potential ideas, you're welcome to use this forum as a place to do so (or chat with someone privately). Sometimes it helps just to throw your ideas out there to get a feel for things, and figure out which piece of the puzzle you want to work on. It's been really helpful for me to discuss my ideas with other people, especially getting an 'outsider' perspective in how my work/ideas (puzzle pieces) fit into a broader context. Personally, I tend to be very open about what I'm working on, but you should always remember to exercise some caution in sharing your ideas/work publicly (or with certain people). That said, collaborating with someone (or several people) is always helpful, especially when you're just starting out, and some of the most prolific publishers tend to collaborate (and keep collaborating) even after they're well established. Not only does collaborating allow you discuss your ideas openly with a select group, it also helps with setting deadlines, distributing the work load, etc. You also get some eyes on it other than your own, which is great for catching things you don't see, clarifying your arguments, AND helping with editorial issues, all of which will come up during the peer review process anyway.