Q: How do I organize my thoughts and begin writing for my multidisciplinary research?
I am doing multidisciplinary research, but am having difficulty in writing. I feel unfocused due to insufficient knowledge. Any suggestions on how I can organize my thoughts and begin writing? Also, is it fine to delay writing?
You have asked multiple questions and also touched upon various challenges. From what I understand, you are finding it challenging to write your research paper. These challenges could be due to the fact that it is multidisciplinary research, involving some disciplines that you may not entirely be familiar with. This may also explain why you have insufficient knowledge so far, and thus your inability to focus, organize your thoughts, and begin writing. Due to these factors, you are considering delaying your writing.
Let me address these one by one.
If the challenge is the multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary nature of your research, you could seek the guidance and support of people who are familiar with the discipline(s) you are not. This could be a peer or a senior, including your supervisor. You could also consider actually collaborating with them on your research. Having a co-author could also help you overcome the writing challenge.
If the challenge is insufficient knowledge, you could again reach out to others, who could help you with topics and areas in which you lack information and knowledge. You could of course also do this on your own, exploring resources and areas that you may have not considered in your literature search so far. Gaining further and deeper knowledge about the various aspects of your research will help you feel more confident about your research overall and specifically about writing, as it will arm you with all the necessary information for organizing and beginning your writing.
Here are a couple of resources on how to conduct more effective literature and Google searches:
- Tips for effective literature searching and keeping up with new publications
- Make your Google searches more precise: A few tips for researchers
To get started and continue on your writing, you could adopt several strategies.
- Write a small bit each day, until the activity of writing begins to feel manageable.
- Begin with the parts you are familiar with, confident of, or enjoy writing.
- Set aside a part of the day for your writing, sticking to this for a few days, until you get into a routine.
Following these practices will help you get into a rhythm, after which your writing should flow more freely.
Here are a few resources to help with the challenge of academic writing:
- What do you do when you find academic writing challenging?
- 4 Tips for researchers on tackling the task of writing a research paper
Sometimes, though, as you have rightly indicated, it might help to take a break. So, you could put aside your writing for some time, until you believe you have more knowledge and feel more confident about various aspects of the research, or simply, until you feel more charged up. Of course, decide on this keeping in mind the completion timeline for your research and also after discussing this with the relevant people or stakeholders.
Finally, for help on various aspects of approaching and writing your research paper, refer to this resource: The complete guide to writing a brilliant research paper. It is a compilation of multiple resources and also includes several tips on writing your paper.
All the best. And, keep the faith.