Monday, December 01, 2008

Fast Prototyping

Orgtheory draws our attention to What's New. Fabio recommends especially the post on time management, and I would add that the idea of rapid prototyping is worth familiarizing yourself with.

Tao's immediate inspiration for this comes from software development. Our own Rob Austin (with Lee Devin) has suggested that prototyping in this sense is an important aspect of "artful making". In the case of academic writing, I'd add, it is a way of emphasing the craft of it.

The basic idea is to make sure that you are developing your ideas by way of iterations of expression of them. You are making sure that your argument works at every step along way. The prototype gives you a way of deciding whether it works as you had hoped. And this gives you a very concrete sense of how to proceed. It ensures that you are not just developing something "in your head", but that you are actually working on the paper.

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