Last night I bought a book for my bachelors project. Nothing too exciting in that statement. In many ways, though, this new book acts as a continuation on a book I bought and read more than ten years ago.
The authors of the new book don't say as much. They say that they're exploring territory that the first book and other books in the field didn't look at. The general field I'm trying to use, the sociology of knowledge, has something to do with my project.
The main thrust of the first book doesn't go in the direction that I need or my project, though. I think the direction of the second book will go where I need to go. Just from the preface, I feel like I'm going to learn the language and vocabulary that I need to talk about my project.
Researching without an instructor or having proficiency in research techniques causes this type of problem. Without either of these types of guidance, learning or coming up with a theory almost turns into re-inventing the wheel. Adult working has taught me that this approach wastes valuable time.
A Java programming book I read introduced the concept to me, but I was too naive at the time to understand. Apparently programmers like to share templates for menial subroutines. Much faster to copy and paste a simple template then move onto doing something more creative and higher level. It's out there. Why waste time re-inventing the wheel?
I have yet to start reading the main body of this new book. I just read the Introduction and Preface. It has gotten me excited so far. My situation frustrates me a little, not having been introduced ten years to this book written in the 1966. It is what it is, though. Life always has lessons for us.
Who's really to say that I have a lesson to learn here, though? I found the book while brainstorming how to articulate some thoughts in my mind by using Wikipedia. Maybe I hadn't found this book more than ten years ago because the technology, Wikipedia, wasn't there for me to explore my thoughts.
I couldn't even intelligently talk about my thoughts or the particular books given to me to read more than ten years ago. Maybe I didn't have the technology available to explore my thoughts in relation to the world of ideas without having to explain and justify myself.
Who knows? I didn't even really know what I was doing with this project more than ten years ago. I just wanted to write a dystopian novel to graduate college. I had primordial ideas. I originally wanted to write a thriller based on angst and boredom than some kind of heady meditation on social justice.
I appreciated what I have learned, though. The process has taught me how to learn. I've had some interesting experiences going through library and historical society archives. I've seen how the growth of the Internet helps researchers engage in more efficient research from their own den or kitchen table rather than having to travel everywhere. I've also learned how to prospect for sources through book references, journal article references and, heck, on Wikipedia!
All in all, I've come out well enough in the deal. And, who knows? Maybe if I hadn't been taking this long to make this progress on my project, maybe I wouldn't have kept up with online research processes as well as I have.
LINKS OF INTEREST: sociology of knowledge, Wikipedia
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