what is an “original contribution”?

Originalmente publicado en patter:

Many doctoral researchers worry about what ‘original’ in original contribution to knowledge means. They worry whether their research will be seen as original enough. They worry which of the multiple ways in which original might be interpreted will be applied to their thesis.

The notion of original seems to carry with it the idea of singularity – I’ve done something fresh and unique– combined with the notion of originary – I’ve started something new here – combined with the notion of authenticity – this is all my own work, I haven’t copied it from anywhere else. Now each of these terms, applied as assessment criteria, is actually pretty unhelpful when it comes to academic work. These categories of originality might make sense for thinking about painting the Mona Lisa, or even inventing Facebook, but they don’t get very far in relation to scholarship. Let me explain.

Singularity? Something unique?…

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División de Educación de la Comunidad / Community Education Program in Puerto Rico(1954?)

Originalmente publicado en Biblioteca Virtual de Puerto Rico:

Screenshot 2015-04-09 11.28.52Este es el título del documento publicado por la división internacional de RCA en la década de los ’50, reconociendo el extraordinario trabajo realizado por la División de Educación de la Comunidad de Puerto Rico (DIVEDCO). Esta unidad del Departamento de Instrucción usaba equipo RCA tanto para la producción como para la exhibición de sus películas en las comunidades rurales.

DIVEDCO fue una unidad del Departamento de Instrucción Pública creada por ley en el 1949 por el gobernador Luis Muñoz Marín. Fue uno de los experimentos sociales más importantes y éxitosos de la historia moderna de Puerto Rico. Se destacó en la implementación de iniciativas educativas innovadoras sobre los temas de civismo, salud, democracia y resolución de conflictos. Para la diseminación de estas ideas recurrieron a la producción de películas, artes gráficas y libros. En cuanto a los carteles les recomiendo el excelente trabajo del Smithsonian Latino Center disponible en

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taking the doctoral walk

Originalmente publicado en patter:

This is a guest post from Susan Gollifer, a doctoral researcher in education at The University of Iceland. Susan’s research looks at teachers and human rights curriculum.

I am coming towards the end of a two-month Erasmus placement at a university overseas. During this time, I have had the opportunity to work with master’s level students on their academic writing and to write two chapters of my own thesis-I should add, draft chapters. As I approach the time to return home, I have started to reflect on my learning experience in terms of how productive I have been with my thesis writing. Writing does not come naturally to me and I spend considerable time drafting and redrafting my text before I am satisfied with a final result. I often return to my writing several days later and completely restructure my work. In this sense, I see myself as a writer…

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Ven y celebra la Semana de Biblioteca con nosotros.

Semana de Biblioteca Portada

La semana del 12-18 abril se celebra la Semana de Biblioteca. Vamos a ofrecer talleres en: Servicios de Biblioteca, Bases de Datos de APA, Búsqueda de Vídeos en Bases de Datos y Búsqueda aplicada a recursos de Terapia y Patología del Habla.

También estaremos sorteando una “gift card” de $80 para utilizar en la Librería Euroamericana. Para participar pasen por Biblioteca soliciten un servicio y luego se le orientará sobre la boleta que debe llenar.

Si por alguna razón no puede asistir a un taller, puede pasar por biblioteca y puede pedir una cita para que se le dé personalmente o en grupo.

Para mas información ver el programa de la semana.

Semana de Biblioteca Portada

Semana de Biblioteca Talleres

Adendi: el archivo digital de El Nuevo Día

Originalmente publicado en Biblioteca Virtual de Puerto Rico:

Adendi es la bases de datos de los artículos publicados por el periódico El Nuevo Día. La plataforma de búsqueda disponible hoy es la segunda generación para Adendi que existe desde los ’90. Ambas han resultando ser algo complicadas y confusas para lograr obtener lo que uno desea. Esto provoca frustraciones entre estudiantes y usuarios que luego no vuelven a utilizarla. Quizás por esta razón desde hace unos años El Nuevo Día decidió dejarla gratuita. Ver http://www.adendi.com

Lo positivo de Adendi es que puedes recuperar los textos de los artículos de muchas de las secciones del periódico. Lo negativo es que no presenta las imágenes. Su contenido abarca desde 1990 y luego de muchas búsquedas parece ser que llega hasta el 2012.

Para lograr una búsqueda sin frustraciones en el campo de “periodo entre una fecha y otra” escriba: De 1/1/1990 hasta 1/1/2012. Por lo menos a mi…

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How to write a simple research methods section

Originalmente publicado en The Research Whisperer:

Photo by Mel Hattie | unsplash.com Photo by Mel Hattie | unsplash.com

Yesterday I read a research application that contained no research methods at all.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

In an eight-page project description, there were exactly three sentences that described the methods. Let’s say it went something like this:

  • There was to be some fieldwork (to unspecified locations),
  • Which would be analysed in workshops (for unspecified people), and
  • There would be analysis with a machine (for unspecified reasons).

In essence, that was the methods section.

As you might imagine, this led to a difficult (but very productive) discussion with the project leader about what they really planned to do. They knew what they wanted to do, and that conversation teased this out. I thought that I might replicate some of that discussion here, as it might be useful for other people, too.

I’ve noticed that most researchers find it easy to write about the…

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A question of language competence or writing style?

Originalmente publicado en Doctoral Writing SIG:

By Cally Guerin

Last week a student came to me in tears, distraught at what she felt was a very unfair assessment of her writing ability after her supervisor had decided her English was not up to scratch. She is from an Asian background, and was born and educated in Australia. While English might not be her first language or ‘mother tongue’, she is certainly not using English as an Additional Language (EAL), as the current terminology has it. (It used to be English as a Second Language, ESL, and may be moving on to English as an International Language, EIL – all of which depends on the context and perhaps the current fashions in the field.) Our universities have plenty of ‘Generation 1.5’ PhD students like her who work and think in more than one language.

Putting the labels aside, the young woman is also typical of many students…

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Writer’s block: unblocking and declawing

Originalmente publicado en Doctoral Writing SIG:

By Susan Carter

I’ve long felt that ‘writer’s block’ is too general a term. It is a bit like saying ‘I’m sick’—people know something is wrong, but to find a cure, you need more detail than that. In the last post, I reported on an excellent talk by Professor John Bitchener on giving good feedback on doctoral writing. He was also critical of the catch-all phrase ‘writer’s block.’ John suggests that what ‘writer’s block’ usually means is limited reading, limited thinking and limited scoping of the topic. His tonic for unblocking writer’s block is more reading, thinking and scoping.

The pointer to more reading rings especially true to me as being helpful for many reasons: to get the jargon of the discipline; to see how good paragraphs and sentences are constructed when the writing is clear; to locate any tensions of opposing view; and to re-inspire. And there is of…

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