Follow by Email

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I AM NOT A DOCTOR



... nor do I play one on television
Disclaimer to my disclaimer: As I discussed the importance of citing sources in this post, I continued to fail to properly cite all sources. I have at least provided links, but links are not a substitute for properly sourced material. I INTEND to properly cite all sources in all posts of this blog in proper APA style, as time and my capabilities permit. I also intend eventually to publish a bibliography of sources, broken down by subject areas, in the form of a series of literature reviews.

This post is a disclaimer. As I consider writing about various topics that will require some research, I intend to hold myself to the highest academic standards, to ensure that the information I provide is accurate and trustworthy, but I am writing this blog because I recently suffered a brain injury, and my judgement and actions don't always meet my own standards, so I must ask my readers to help me to maintain academic integrity, by holding me accountable to my own standards, posting comments when necessary to keep this blog, and eventually the entire resource website, trustworthy and authentic.

I never intended to get as personal as I intend to get in this post, but understanding the author's perspective can be helpful in evaluating the usefulness of information and opinions. Over the years, people have expressed the opinion that I am "brilliant" and "knowledgeable," but the fact is, my "superpower" is my imagination. I invent what I don't know or don't remember, but then I verify the information before I disseminate it to others. My constructed knowledge of how things work is generally accurate, so my invented "facts" can usually be documented with little difficulty. My backward method may be cheating, I suppose; some might call it lying (I would NEVER make up facts that weren't true!), but I justify my approach based on my obsession with continuous self-checking and documentation of sources. Sometimes I refer to this process as a "reality check," because unchecked confabulation would undermine the usefulness of this project.

Years ago, I kept an assortment of reference books in the trunk of my car. I had a well-indexed book on nutrition (Davis, 1970), the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, and Bradley University's grammar "Bible," the Harbrace College Handbook. One of my English professors called Strunk and White "Satan's Bible," but his consistent theme that writing should be strong, clear, and concise, agrees with Strunk and White's approach to writing style. See Geoffrey Pullum's (2009)  article in The Chronicle Review  "50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice."

Now I use the internet. All of my former sources and many new ones are indexed and at my fingertips on Evernote, with my own highlights and annotations available to me any time, from any computer that has an internet connection. Now my favorite grammar reference is the Grammar Girl Podcast. Of course, for quick results, I use the free online grammar checker SpellCheckPlus (which, as I have previously commented, gave me a free license to use their professional edition for use with this blog, their only request being that I tell others about their program).

(Evernote is a program that I find so useful that it needs its own blog post.)

When I write, I am careful to verify my facts using peer-reviewed authoritative sources. When I cannot find an authoritative source, I usually remove the information, or else I express the idea as an hypothesis. Occasionally I have used a triangulation of sources such as Wikipedia or newspaper or magazine articles, or a personal blog by someone who is considered an authority on the particular subject.

Recently I have been lax in citing my sources. This laxity is a problem for a person like me, whose credibility is already compromised by a brain injury. Many of the topics I am considering for future posts will require more careful attention to such details.

Readers, please hold me accountable! When you see a factoid, ask about the source. I welcome questions. They can only improve my credibility.


References:


Davis, A. (1970). Let's eat right to keep fit (Rev. ed.). New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
     
Retrieved from http://bit.ly/DavisA_LetsEatRightToKeepFit

Pullum, G. K. (2009). 50 Years of stupid grammar advice. The Chronicle Review, 55(32), B15.
     Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/50-Years-of-Stupid-Grammar/25497




No comments:

Post a Comment

I am developing a prototype resources website at http://bit.ly/resourcesfortbi. Please review my plans and make suggestions.

I welcome comments that can help make this site more helpful to those experiencing similar difficulties, or for those friends, family, and professionals who take care of bicycle injury / brain trauma.victims.

Since I want this site to be helpful to victims, I reserve the right to edit comments if they seem to conflict with that goal.

Helpful comments would include corrections of false information, references to local services that relate to my posts, or comments that help me to keep spelling, grammar, and word-choices appropriate and correct. As a brain injury victim, I depend on others to insure accuracy and to spot the kinds of errors that I may not recognize. Please feel welcome to contribute your expertise to make this site effective!