A few months ago I wrote on “Setting Up a Digital Workflow for Academic Research” and I’m please to announce that I’ve been working feverishly on this process, and although it is still in development, here’s a solid update for you!

As a reminder, my personal definition of a Digital Workflow: the execution and automation of research  processes where tasks, information or documents are passed from one digital program to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules.

Why do you need a digital workflow? Because you spend too much time 1) finding articles, 2) downloading and naming files, 3) annotating and editing pdfs, and 4) organizing and citing research.

Discovery Workflow

  1. Search library for relevant articles in University Library, Work Library, and Google Scholar.
  2. Keep notes on search strategy in Literature Grid spreadsheet “Search Strategy” tab, by specific topic/paper.
  3. Download PDF of article to “Original Articles” folder in GoogleDrive.
  4. Note the original amount of articles found.
  5. Create new Zotero folder for specific topic/paper.
  6. Import PDFs into Zotero into specific topic/paper.
  7. Fix meta data or “create parent item” for all articles.

Reading Workflow

  1. Sort Zotero specific topic/paper folder by title (on your first day) or by date added to Zotero.
  2. Open literature grid and start blank grid for specific topic/paper.
  3. Copy first Zotero bibliography to clipboard – paste in first cell of literature grid.
  4. Double-click to open the PDF.
  5. Complete literature grid fields as you review and annotate article.
  6. Note any additional saturation/bibliography articles to review in future.
  7. Save the highlighted, annotated article PDF in Zotero when you exit.
  8. Note final number of articles found, used, and/or deleted.
  9. Revise core themes and brainstorming grid as needed.
  10. Consider whether you should create any Google alerts for articles from specific authors or keywords from particularly successful search strategies.

Writing Workflow

  1. Open APA template document.
  2. Change all immediate identifiers for specific topic/class/paper.
  3. Review keywords and themes to outline the biggest concepts for your specific topic/paper.
  4. Create an outline based on themes presented in literature.
  5. Define the title.
  6. Define the thesis or main idea.
  7. Clarify your distinct supporting points (claims, opinions, and conclusions) that correlate to the main idea. Use them as headings and find where they fit best with your overall themes.
  8. Clarify your evidence and decide what examples you want to use for each supporting point.
  9. Move from outline to draft by creating an academic MEAL paragraph (Main idea, evidence, analysis, the link to the next paragraph).
  10. Finish a complete first draft. Turn it in to Writing Center.

Citation Workflow

  1. Use Zotero to list all citations listed in literature grid with relevant topics and themes.
  2. Use Zotero to list all citations specifically listed within the paper.
  3. Use Turnitin to review originality report.
  4. Fill in any holes of where additional literature could, or should, be cited.
  5. Fix APA in-text citation and bibliography formatting and mechanics.

Revision Workflow

  1. Finish a complete first draft. Turn it in to Writing Center.
  2. Revise for methods of development (how you develop, explain, present or argue the supporting points), such as comparing and contrasting two ideas, or explaining a cause and effect relationship.
  3. Revise for organization (clear, coherent and logical paragraphs) and rhetorical strategies (exposition, description, narration, or argumentation).
  4. Revise for style, tone, and diction (repetition of words and phrases and audience tone).
  5. Finish a complete second draft. Turn it in to Writing Center/Peer Review.
  6. Schedule one-on-one session with Writing Center to review any key mechanics or specific troubling issues that have come up during revisions.
  7. Finish a complete third draft based on feedback.
  8. Turn it in and get published.