Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement
by Peter Taylor and Jeremy Szteiter
Just another academic book on research and writing? Absolutely not. There is much this is innovative in this book. It’s also very well constructed, with an outline of the authors’ ten phases of research in the first part; a description of the various tools that will assist with the research in Part 2, and Part 3 presents practical illustrations of their use in a project involving theatre arts undertaken one of the authors. It’s about confidently finding your own voice, fully developing your own ideas and achieving your aspirations in the research that you formulate and write about. Other people’s ideas aren’t necessarily better than your own. They can provide a supporting framework for your own important thinking and investigation.
Another distinguishing feature is the ‘cycles and epicycles’ framework for research. This sounds a little daunting to non-academics like myself, but it really boils down to reflecting and rethinking the ideas you have. Give yourself time to visit and revisit your thoughts. You don’t have to put your head down and charge along. Reflect and develop.
The importance of dialogue is emphasised strongly. You must talk your ideas through and bounce them off other people. It’s also about understanding each other’s points of view. The wider you think around your idea, the more likely you are to identify and develop it clearly. Relationships with peers and instructors and their reactions to what you are doing are all-important too. You have to learn about learn, and think about thinking in order to successfully concentrate on the here and now of your research.
You need to develop creative habits so that you can find your voice and meet the challenge of carrying out and then writing up your research effectively.
It’s a book that you can both work methodically through and dip into and out of afterwards when looking for specific tools to help in your current work.
The authors are Peter Taylor, Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he directs the Graduate Program in Critical and Creative Thinking and the undergraduate Program on Science, Technology and Values, and Jeremy Szteiter is a 2009 graduate of the Critical and Creative Thinking program and now serves as the Program’s Assistant Coordinator.
Published by The Pumping Station
Where to buy the book:
http://thepumpingstation.org/books or regular online retailers