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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Agenda (2)

Think of your agenda as a large structure with different slots that can be filled with particular tasks, large and small. Some ideas will develop into more significant contributions to the agenda; others will be lost because they don't support the agenda, and as a consequence aren't supported by it.

You can think of your overall research agenda on the model of the hermeneutic circle. The agenda gives meaning to the individual parts of it (chapters or articles), and the individual parts of it modify the overall definition of the project. For example, I might write a chapter that ends up substantially modifying my conception of the entire book, forcing other chapters or ideas for chapters out.

This model is preferable to the idea of getting an idea for a single piece, and then trying to complete that piece. If you don't know what it's a piece of, it's harder to write.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

One of the reasons meetings go awry is that there either is no agenda, or the agenda is not taken seriously, or the agenda was planned without thinking. Instead of realizing that each "item of business" deserves a certain amount of discussion (this time around) and then a decision about how to proceed (to be followed up on next time), the participants are allowed to air all their views, no matter how trivial, no matter how long it takes. Suddenly there is no time for the really important item of business. There's probably some psychology to this--the important things were going to be painful to talk about, so the chair let trivial matters eat up the time.

It is exactly like that with a research agenda. Certain passages become over detailed and others are neglected because an agenda was either not thought out properly or was ignored during the writing.