I was sitting at my desk at University, looking at the huge stack of papers I had printed the last couple of days. Double-sided, two pages on one, and I was still looking at a foot and a half worth of printouts weighting on my desk.
And my mind. I had been grinding to read all the literature in my field, and yet I felt like I knew less than before. And there was new stuff coming in, waiting to be added to the pile, every day.
Now, it was interesting what I got to read, that wasn't the problem. It was just too much. Even more so because I had to distill all of this down into something manageable that I could actually use in my dissertation proposal. The deadline for submission was still a bit off, but it felt like it was approaching faster every day.
If you've ever been in a similar situation, you know what I felt like.
Effectiveness vs Efficiency
One of the choices that was constantly on my mind then was whether I should read more, faster, or whether I should take more in-depth notes that would hopefully make synthesis later easier.
How do you make that choice?
And it wasn't that I didn't have a good note-taking system either. I had built my own custom stack of Markdown files and text editor extensions together for years, and taken notes for my MA and BA theses.
What I was missing was a way to truly connect what I was reading in different sources and make sense of it as a whole.
Enter Discourse Graphs
When I discovered Roam two years ago, I was immediately convinced it was the solution to my problems.
With blockreferences and automatic backlinks taking and connecting notes was suddenly much easier and much more powerful than before.
Since then, I've done all my PhD note-taking inside Roam and couldn't live without it.
But the biggest game changer was yet to come.
And I wish I'd had this two years ago already.
The Discourse Graph extension for Roam is the perfect tool for anyone who takes note-taking seriously.
With this extension, adding meaningful connections between your notes is two keystrokes away.
You can clearly differentiate between what someone claims, what evidence they cite, and pull it all together for smooth and satisfying synthesis.
The Promise of Cite to Write
Over the next four weeks, I will teach you the complete academic process from start to finish, using Roam and the Discourse Graph extension.
We'll cover how to find scientific sources to answer your questions, how to manage these sources, and how to get them into Roam.
We'll cover how to read and take notes for easy synthesis later, building a powerful discourse graph where any new note compounds the value of all previous notes.
And we'll cover how to synthesize what you've read, write it up, and get a nicely formatted Word or PDF document with perfect citations that you can send to others.
There will also be four live workshops where we will discuss the video lectures, you'll be able to ask questions, and where Prof. Joel Chan, who invented the discourse graph extension, will join us.
Note: Cite to Write is free for Roam Scholars. Please contact Roam's support for a special link.