A State of Incompatibility

Tiffany Yang

So. I’m putting together this paper for publication. While I actually relish the writing and putting together of  ideas, organizing the jumble in my head, and making them coherent and cohesive on paper, what I don’t like is rooting for citations.

I enjoy almost everything about the manuscript process. I like doing literature reviews and finding papers that are exciting and relevant. Lit searches can be dangerous to your mental health when the search terms are too broad or when there’s a lot of research on that topic; on many occasions, I’ve cringed at the number of found search results. I like the paper-reading process and will often curl up on the couch, or commandeer a table at a coffee shop, with a pile. Add in a little stimulant (caffeine and a pastry or two), and I consider that a well-spent afternoon. In terms of “types” of papers, I especially enjoy “thought” papers over “experimental” papers because, even though they take approximately 10x longer to read and digest, they alter the way you think rather than providing a bit of more concrete information for your fact bank.

Having read papers pertaining to the topic at hand, I usually feel competent enough to just start writing. Unfortunately for me (but, fortunately for the people who will end up reading the paper), I have to go back and troll through my reference library and find sources to qualify my claims. Or, in some cases, find more recent evidence. Many sentences in many paragraphs end with glaring red parentheses yelling “FIND CITATION” with an exclamation mark or two sprinkled in every now and then for flavor. It would be great if I could reconcile the extreme love/hate relationship I have with reading and writing with source-finding; averaging them would at least make me a less disgruntled person during the process. I’m not even sure why I feel this way because when I talk to people I always wish I had my references with me so that I could pull them out and say, “See! Someone has said/thought it, too!”. For some unknown reason, this reference reluctance only applies to manuscripts.

Having taken a break from (you guessed it) looking up references, I should drag myself back. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving break and, should a relative proclaim that their turkey consumption is going to put them in a food coma, point them to this.

2 thoughts on “A State of Incompatibility

  1. I know from experience that looking up references can be extremely cumbersome. But it’s true that it’s all part of the process, even though some aspects are more enjoyable than others! And it’s wonderful that you enjoy the other steps involved! Keep it up Tiffany. And I hope I get to read it once it’s finished, citations and all!

  2. I HATE doing citations. One of the worst parts are formatting. For my research jobs I use Zotero. And it helps create a library of your citations for future use which will making the hunt for citations easier in the future. Good luck!

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