Since my life is pretty much a hamster wheel, and my time for working on getting my ideas in order is limited to the two times 1 hour commuting time I have to my job, daily, there is a limit as to how thoroughly I can work on these ideas. I therefore have to find some formats for my working that will allow me to 1) proceed in my reading, looking for answers to my research questions, while 2) processing the reading, accommodating it – in my head – with the ideas I have build up, so far, and in the meantime 3) manage to trace the newly build ‘collective’ of ideas in writing. How do I keep on expanding my understanding, in a qualified manner, while keeping the balance between too much and to little detail? My answer for the moment is to work with some pretty simple formats. Since all parts of this proces is going to be faster, shorter, smaller, than what I would prefer, I prefer to talk about this as ‘pocket research‘. My pocket research will thus unfold in a circular movement including three steps:

  1. First, I gather some ideas, and intuitions/hypotheses in a ‘pocket research design‘ (see them here). This implies some reading, which is why I need to
  2. secondly, write pocket summaries of texts (here they are), where I sum up the points, not of the text in an abstract way on ‘its own conditions’, but simply carving out the points that are relevant to my pocket research program.
  3. thirdly, there is the memo. The memo is a format, where I have shorter discussions (with myself) on subparts of the current pocket research question.
  4. finally, I collect my ideas while synthesizing ideas from the read texts, into a pocket essay (see them here).

A fourth format, which deals with topics outside the circular pocket research loop, is a meta format like the text you are reading right now. I will collect these texts under the category ‘on method’, see here.


Life is short, there is a limited time to do things, we are finite beings, the hamster wheel is spinning, spinning, spinning…..

Any comments/suggestions/crazy ideas are welcome, please comment below 🙂

7 thoughts on “On my ‘pocket research method’ and hamster wheels

  1. Hello, I’m a young researcher, and I am already struggling with time. But, it shouldn’t be. I’m also finding ways to create more time, one is the collective, you are right!
    I loved the format and the Idea!


    Sergio Valdez

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