Thursday, April 06, 2006

What I Have Learned

Okay, it has been about three weeks since I lasted posted. I have never been one to post excessively (maybe one or two a week), but even that is pathetic by my standards. So what have I been up to? In short, I'm doing my best to finally graduate this May! About three weeks ago, I turned in the first draft of my thesis to my supervisor, Dr Andreas Kostenberger. Since then, I have been franticly making the necessary corrections and "improvements." A few hours ago, I emailed my second draft to Dr Kostenberger. On Monday, April 10th (the final deadline for submitting all theses to the graduate committee), I hope to submit my final copy, complete with all front-matter.

So what have I learned as a result of this whole ordeal regarding effective research/writing? Here is a list (in no particular order):

1) Make sure you know the style you're using like the back of your hand. When you're putting together a project with page numbers that start to go in the triple digits, going back and fixing silly mistakes becomes a chore and eventually a nightmare. Rereading is necessary. But, you'll save yourself a lot of head-aches if you have it right the first time
2) Find someone who can check your writing to make sure it conforms to the style you're using and pay them well
3) Don't use Microsoft Word! I've been told Wordperfect is much more user-friendly
4) Create a template specifically for your project that conforms to whatever style you're using
5) If you drink coffee to help keep you going when you're tired, don't waste your time drinking the weak stuff. Drink straight espresso, at least three shots at a time!
6) Take as many vacations as your budget allows. Even if they're "working vacations," you'll be more productive in the long-run
7) Spend enough time doing the things that help your relax (in my case, fishing and playing vide0-games) but don't overdue it
8) Work as little as possible. Spend all the time you can WORKING in the library and in coffee-shops
9) Don't get side-tracked by pursuing major ventures like trying to rehab a house in less than a year (unless you can afford to pay someone else to do all the work)!
10) Always listen to the advice of your supervisor. Even if they're fairly "green" they probably know more about writing a major work than you do
11) Settle for nothing less than perfection, no matter the cost and how long it takes
12) Use some form of bibliography software (I've found Endnote fairly helpful)
13) Finally (and most importantly), don't let the important things like God, family, and friends suffer


Bill Victor said...

Could you imagine writing such a work before word processing programs or even computers. Ever try footnotes using a manual type writer?

Mark Owens said...

If I had to choose between Word and a type-writer, I'd take Word any day:-)

Anonymous said...


Keep up the good work! Thanks for the tips.



Mark Owens said...

Thanks for the visit Celucien. Keep in mind some of these suggestions are a little bit hyperbolic. I strongly believe in working hard. But, I also believe we need times of rest/relaxation to help us think/write better. Blessings.


Anonymous said...

The reason for this email is: (You like eph... and I need all the help I can get).

I need to put together a sermon or lesson or article
on Paul's prayer in Eph 1:17-19 (don't expand focus to
surrounding verses).

Here is where YOU come in-- I am taking a poll, based
on your many years of study (and gleaned wisdom) what
would you say is:

THE AUTHOR's main point in Eph 1:17-19?

Here are the verses:

17 [I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of glory, may give to you spiritual wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of Him.
18 Inasmuch as the eyes of your heart are (Greek says
paul is attributing to them enlighten hearts)
enlightened, I pray that you will know what is the
hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory
of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power
toward us who believe. These are in accordance with
the working of the strength of His might.

Thank you!-- email me back at

Karen Tyrrell
MFT student- taking a hermeneutics class!
Western Seminary