reading the literature

this is my depiction of what it’s like to explore the varying depths of information within a discipline, from the big picture broad concepts to the nitty-gritty details.


surveying the discipline from above, clinging to the “trunk” of the hierarchy tree of concepts

sitting on the first branching, getting a closer look at the branches of this discipline of, say, forest ecology

swinging from the first branch, making decisions about where to first climb deeper into this hierarchy.

crouched on the ledge of a second-tier division, thinking about the details in the leaves below

having slipped and fallen deep into the details, our hero clings to a single leaf tip

~ by academicadventurer on September 27, 2012.

4 Responses to “reading the literature”

  1. I LOVE these drawings!!!!

  2. I really like “having slipped and fallen deep into the details, our hero clings to a single leaf tip”. One only wonders what would happen if our hero let go.

    • that’s one of my favourite things about analogies! in the process of finding out how true the analogy holds, you end up asking really weird questions that might not seem to apply at first but then end up leading to interesting places. that said i have no idea what would happen. i think maybe you fall into a different discipline. like you get soo caught up on some tiny detail about mycorrhizal chemistry, say, that maybe you hit a threshold and suddenly your leaf tip becomes a new tree, and you’re sitting somewhere among the branches of a different discipline. kind of like character correlation, a given branching pattern for a given discipline can be overlapped and intersected by other disciplines. or something. it’s early in the morning.

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