Ramping up the the literature review process

The Amazon Kindle service had the book “Managing At the Speed of Change” by Daryl Conner for only $1.99 today (1992). It should be an easy read on my Nexus 9 tablet. I’m not sure if that is the regular price or it is on sale. A quick search on the Google Scholar academic search engine for “Managing At the Speed of Change” produced 1,010 results in about 0.08 seconds. I even created an alert to send me any articles published after my search. Digging through 1,010 citations will take a couple weeks, but that is the fun part of a literature review. Google Scholar is a fun starting point that provides a good overview before digging into other digital libraries of academic journals.

At the University of Kansas, I remember taking an interest in researching civil society. Instead of using technology to ferret out every reference an entire different approach was utilized. A trip to Watson library occurred. I searched for a couple of civil society related books and located the right section of the library. What happened next changed my academic journey forever. I checked out a good portion of the shelf and started reading book after book about civil society. That singular act was what convinced me being an academic would be a good idea.

The academy itself is populated with ideas from generations of scholars. It is easy to tap into the collective thoughts of the academy. You just need the drive and desire to consume a large quantity of words. A section of a library shelf was a good start to learn about civil society. Digging through 1,010 publications related to disruptive change will take a little longer.

My master’s thesis advisor explained what it took to be a scholar in a pretty straightforward way. The test was pretty simple. Pick up the latest issue of the most prestigious journal in the field you are interested in exploring. Read that issue from cover to cover. Read the last six months to a year from that journal. If the process of reading all those academic articles is invigorating and enjoyable, then academic work might be something you will enjoy pursuing.

Anybody can sit down and start work on writing an academic article. Getting it published is a different story. Reading everything available requires passion. Learning how to utilize and follow the scientific method is something that can be learned.

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