Writing to Learn

I recently read a book by William Zinsser called Writing to Learn. In this book, Zinsser tells the story of how he came to the belief that in order to learn a topic — and truly understand it — there is no better way than to simply write about it. I would tend to agree with him. Writing causes your brain to work in such a way that it puts the pieces of the puzzle together in the right order. You can read all you want about a topic, but you won’t truly learn it until you have spent some time organizing your thoughts so that you can write about it.

For my Institute for Research Design in Librarianship application, I need to explain how I will complete my project — exploring the DIL competencies in the context of the College of Engineering at UT. For me to understand this topic well enough, I have to write about it. I plan to complete an annotated bibliography about data management so that I can become an expert about it. I will post that annotated bibliography here on this blog along with the two others I’ve done. In fact, writing two annotated bibliographies is one goal I set for this year, so doing so will serve two purposes.

I have read only the first part of Writing to Learn, which is a memoir-like section explaining Zinsser’s quest. In the second part, Zinsser provides examples of clear writing from several different fields to demonstrate how it’s done. Eventually, I will read the second part, but right now I have other things I want to read more.

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