Friday, November 30, 2012

Writing About Writing (Updated)

Image by Meghan McDevitt-Murphy via Facebook


So many things I want to write about for this blog... I've been back at work since October 8th, and it's been some ride. Not bad by any means, but an adjustment. Bookie is 4 months today, and this past week she turned a corner where she went from infant-baby to infant-girl. She can see more, farther and deeper than she had been able to before. I can only assume the nonstop nursing she did a little over a week ago had something to do with it (can you say 'growth spurt'?)...must have gone straight to her brain, and her legs, her arms and her hair. Everything is bigger, including the world she sees, and it's very awesome and humbling to behold.

That being said, with all the different things I could write about right now (i.e., Bookie's baptism, pumping at work, Bookie's time at day care, my awesome workplace, bringing Bookie to class with me, the joys of babywearing--I plan to write on all of these at some point), I've decided to compile a quick post containing my research-related writing projects: past, present and future. There's so much to fit in over the next 10 months, especially since after those 10 months I hope to go up for promotion to Associate Professor. My ability to do that hinges on the following projects, and finding the time to complete them all...definitely wish I could wave a wand and have more time per day appear out of thin air at this point. Anyway, here they are, listed very briefly as I'll probably elaborate on them in later posts:

  • "Information literacy on Facebook: an analysis," research article by yours truly and my research partner, Teresa Grettano, published in Vol. 40, Issue 2 (March 2012) of the peer-reviewed journal Reference Services Review. This is Part 1 of a two part study, the second part described below in the "Future" list.
  • "Information Literacy Gets Social," a professional column I wrote that was accepted for publication in the PaLA Bulletin, the quarterly publication of the Pennsylvania Library Association. My understanding is that it should be in the next issue, which I believe is the Oct-Dec 2012 issue. 
  • Term Paper for Dr. Will Cohen, Dept. of Theology/Religious Studies here at The University of Scranton, to fulfill the requirements of the 3.0 credit Graduate-level Reader I'm doing with him called Theology of Work, Rest and Liturgy. The paper doesn't have a title yet, since I haven't written it yet, but in it I will be looking at the parallel dichotomies of ratio-intellectus, work-rest, and time-eternity, in the works of several modern/contemporary theologians, including Josef Pieper, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. Andrew Louth, and Rebecca DeYoung. This paper, which I am aiming to be 12-15 pages long, will then be absorbed into my Masters thesis, which is described below.
  • Part 2 of the study about Facebook and information literacy, described in the first bullet above. This article will report on the data Teresa and I collected during the course we co-taught in Spring 2011 called Rhetoric & Social Media. It will be submitted to Reference Services Review by the first week in February 2013, which means I'll be writing it during the month of January. Luckily the data is already collected and analyzed, so it is simply a matter of reporting in article-format on what we found. (Ahem. I write that so casually, but this is definitely easier said than done, as I learned with Part 1.)
  • A book chapter essay for a book tentatively titled Academic Publication and Contingent Faculty, eds. LynĂ©e Lewis Gaillet and Letizia Guglielmo, which has been accepted by the editors and is due in by April 1, 2013, to be 15-25 double-spaced pages. Rather than describe what I am writing for this, I'll just share the abstract of my piece, which is actually about...writing! (I swear there's always a meta element to everything I do it seems...) And which has yet to be written, since that is how academic publication sometimes works, i.e., the writing you haven't written yet is accepted for publication, which then means you have to go ahead and write it. (At first I thought this was crazy. Now I just roll with it. *shrug*) I plan to write this piece as soon as the Reference Services Review Part 2 article is off my plate, so beginning in mid-February 2013, most likely. I like that this is more of an essay as opposed to a research report, as it will flex different writing muscles than the other stuff I'm working on. Here is the abstract:
Among the wide variety of contingent faculty responsible for producing scholarship, the tenure-track faculty librarian is faced with the dual task of conducting research in order to maintain a personal scholarly agenda while also providing research support to others. This situation offers both challenges and opportunities inherent to the unique role of the faculty librarian as both researcher and instructor. The challenges most often come from lack of time and resources, and yet the opportunities offered by the collaborative nature of the the faculty librarian's work can in fact help define and advance a worthwhile and marketable (read: publishable) scholarly agenda. This essay will offer as an example one tenure-track faculty librarian's experience in developing a scholarly agenda focused on information literacy and social media in collaboration with another tenure-track faculty member in the English department at her institution. It will tell the story of how each of these faculty members learned of the other's research interests, recognized that they were were complementary, and developed a course together where these topics were explored pedagogically to create a meaningful classroom experience for students and instructors alike. Because they planned to use the classroom as their lab and the students as voluntary subjects, this research required that they navigate the IRB process. This process had its own unique challenges since the research involved students, technology and pedagogy, a combination of factors which lead to privacy concerns on the part of the IRB. How these concerns were worked through successfully such that the research could proceed will be discussed. Furthermore, the librarian in the team found that their work appealed to other academic librarians in her field since it represented a successful collaboration between a librarian and an instructor from another department: a dynamic that is highly sought after by academic librarians on other campuses. Because collaboration was both the means and the goal of this librarian's scholarship, it made for a successful research experience leading to peer-reviewed conference presentations and journal articles in both researchers' fields. Concrete advice based on these experiences for how to successfully collaborate with colleagues in order to identify and advance a worthwhile research agenda will be offered.
  • Masters thesis, which will be at minimum 50-60 pages double spaced, though likely longer based on what I plan to write. Dr. Will Cohen has agreed to be my thesis advisor, which I'm really excited about since not only have I been working with him this semester on the topic I will write my thesis on, but he and his family are also fellow parishioners at my parish, All Saints Orthodox Church. I've already casually described what I plan to write on for my thesis in an email I sent to Dr. Cohen, so once again I will just copy that out here so you can see where my mind is and where it will be going once I dive into this undertaking. My thesis plan is to first create a detailed outline/proposal of what I plan to write, how I plan to write it, and what works I plan to use to do so. Once Dr. Cohen has approved it, I will then proceed with executing it. I want to have the outline/proposal done by mid-semester in Spring 2013, so, likely I will finalize this soon after the above book chapter is due in, so mid-late April 2013. Then I will be throwing myself completely into the work itself, aiming to complete it by the end of the summer, and defend it by the end of September 2013. Basically, once I get the above writing projects off my plate, all of my writing energies will be poured into my thesis until it's done, with the bulk of the writing happening next summer. So, here's what I plan to write on, as of now:
For the central work of my thesis I want to read/analyze the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (both text and, where applicable, praxis) for the ways in which ratio-intellectus play a role in how the liturgy is experienced by those present. For now, I am using these words (ratio-intellectus) for these complementary concepts, though they align with the work-rest dichotomy as well as the time-eternity one--something I will develop in my study. I envision three main "parts" to the thesis: 1) a development of the conceptual framework of ratio-intellectus based on the work of many thinkers (I'd like to draw on the Fathers, classical philosophers of antiquity, and more modern thinkers like Pieper, Schmemann and Louth; the paper I'm writing this semester would likely be incorporated into that third sub-section of the thesis); 2) the analysis/study of the liturgy (this is my "original contribution" within the thesis, though I plan to begin this section with an introduction where I summarize the ways in which the liturgy has been examined in the past--a "lit review" of sorts on what others have done with the liturgy, in order to put my work in context); and, 3) implications for mission and living a Christian life "during the rest of the week" based on whatever I find in the previous two sections.

And I think that about covers it. As you can see, my writing marathon should be over by October 2013, at which point my next task will be to write the 20-page narrative for my promotion application to Associate Professor, due in around November 1, 2013. And if I can actually manage to complete everything I've just listed, I'll be in a very good place to apply for promotion.

And now that I see it all laid out, and as excited as I am about each project, I realize all the more how much I need that magic wand to make more time appear out of thin air... Here's to hoping I can pull it off!

Bookie thinks I can...

Post updated on December 7, 2012, to include the awesome ecard at the top of the post.


  1. Wow... that is a lot... may God guide and protect you in the midst.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth! I've been so busy that it took me a whole week to reply to your comment :) Hoping Mr. Husband feels better soon!! He has my prayers for quick recovery.

  2. She's not really an academic at all, but with the whole liturgy/rest/work project, you might be interested in Kathleen Norris' little book (from a talk I think) called "Laundry, Liturgy, and Women's Work" It's interesting and has a lot that is good..have you seen it?


    1. Thank you for the comment Masha! I have read Norris' "Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work," last year in anticipation of writing this thesis. I liked it, but at the time it was unclear to me how to "make use" of it in the actual writing process. That being said, I was no where near ready to write, so I don't begrudge myself that fact. In my more "academic" readings this semester (in quotes because, while I do love scholarship, I also know that just because something is "academic" doesn't make it more useful or better), I came across several references to Norris, particularly in the piece I read by Rebecca DeYoung (which was a chapter called "Sloth" from her book Glittering Vices). I noted in the margins that it was a sign to me that I should revisit Norris' piece during the thesis-writing process, and God willing I plan to do that next season. Thank you for the tip though! It's more confirmation I need to revisit her. :)

  3. Hi Donna,

    First I wanted to extend my appreciation of your work and family balance. It is so amazing to see people who have great discipline in themselves. Your work on "Information literacy on Facebook: an analysis" I think is a breakthrough research that indeed needs to be dug further.


    Mary of

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate your appreciation :) It is hard, but worth it. And thank you for your positive feedback about our article. We just submitted for publication an article that will be a follow-up to that one. The follow-up article is under review as we speak, so hopefully it will come out by the end of the year.