Posts Tagged ‘Dissertation’

I attended a lecture last night by Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” I was very interested in what he had to say because I have written about Carr before, and I have had his book on my shelf for nearly a year.

Sadly, I’ve been too distracted to read it.

And, sadly again, that’s his point.

What he says is true: The constant barrage of information via smartphone, iPad, desktop computer, laptop, iTouch, etc., is eroding our ability to concentrate. We’re reverting to cavepeople distracted by all the sights and sounds of our environment, as opposed to the erudite focusers we became after Gutenberg invented the printing press.

One of his slides gave me great pause.

People claim they check email a couple of times per hour. Once research participants were fitted with eye-tracking paraphernalia, researchers discovered they checked email 30-40 times per hour.


No wonder I’m not done with my dissertation yet.

To his credit, Carr identified the many ways the Internet has improved our lives, including enhanced visual-spatial skills. And he admits to being distracted as well.

Here’s the point I’ve made before: The Internet is not going away. So what do we do to maintain and improve our ability to focus?

We turn it off. Use it sparingly. Have conversations without checking email, Twitter, Facebook, texts, etc. In Carr’s words to me in the book he signed, “Stay deep.”

I’ll be looking for a nice WiFi-disabled cave to hang out in while I finish my dissertation.


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I’ve been working very hard on my dissertation. I know that may come as a shock, but it’s true.

According to what I wrote in my proposal and IRB application, I am trying to determine what television news reporters in small markets perceive as influences on their daily newsgathering and decision-making processes. And, just to make it extra fun, I chose a qualitative research method: in-depth interviews.

It has been challenging to find participants, then schedule and conduct the interviews — all of which have been phone interviews. Many of these have happened after dinner, before the kids go to bed.

You can sense a disaster about to happen, can’t you?

Tonight, I had two interviews in a row. Eddie was supposed to keep the boys quiet.

For whatever unfathomable reason, he decided to stage some kind of freaky dance party in our living room instead — with predictably disastrous results.

Meanwhile, just a few steps away, I was in my office, trying to conduct an interview.

Hear the disaster here.

I can’t imagine what that poor reporter thinks.

(And don’t worry — both boys are just fine.)

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