Friday, July 12, 2013

Scapple - simplicity at its best

As I ease back in to academic writing at the start of the summer I recognise familiar bad habits and blocks to finding my 'zone'. Finally I find a piece of software that can handle my tendency to shoot off in too many directions and become incredibly indecisive when writing.

Scapple is like having a piece of paper, pencil and rubber - but much faster because I can copy move paste passages of text, colour code them and link ideas together. It is like a writing workboard, so much much easier than the rather linear arrangement of a regular word processor.

Reading this desktop from the left you can see that I have a few research plans, but felt inspired to develop ideas around the first one. The peach box contains information from the HEA about seminar proposals, then you see various areas of brainstorming and information. It really helped me to bridge from my messy thought processes on to the page, freeing me up to focus on specific things.

You can insert pictures and screenshots, and export as .pdf, .txt, .rtf, .rtfd and easily copy text to their other (excellent) writing software: Scrivener ( a tool that I used extensively to assist me with my PhD.

The next is purposefully small as it is just an illustration of notes for a paper that I'm writing.

In the top left you see my first thoughts about the key points that need to be included, to the right, an old abstract and below (in light brown), headings and short paragraphs for an abstract. As I chop sentences they are simply dumped on the right and I can juggle text to build the abstract. 

For me, this is a dream approach. 

One note, if you purchase it retain your serial number because if you're using the software across two machines (home and office) then you'll need it and it is difficult to recover. 

If you're using Scapple I'm interested to know more about how you're using it as I'm looking for examples to show my students, please do tweet me @lizdobsonUoH

Thanks L&L!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


With a few days off I'm working on a paper and also planning a HEA proposal for a seminar on interdisciplinarity. Following this "Collaborative Arts Practices in HE" report (, created collaboratively between myself, Dr Rob Wilsmore, Dr Christophe Alix and others, I'm planning to bring academics together to discuss the challanges and value of fostering interdisciplinary practices in HE performing arts.

If you're interested, I'm running a #collabchat on Monday July 15th at 16.30.  Please click on this link to consider topics and vote:

Chat soon!