Hi, my name is Aoife and I have been writing blog posts here at Nova Futur for just over a year and a half. I have a BSc and Masters in Psychology and limited background knowledge about data analysis, app architecture and software development, yet these are the primary topics for our blog posts.
This post is going to explain how a person such as myself, comes to write detailed articles about such topics.
The whole process begins usually from a ‘article ideas’ brainstorming session with my manager. We explore the current trending topics in data, look at the projects our teams are working on and how this correlates with the rest of the market. We also take inspiration from internal presentations given by our in-house experts and welcome any article ideas from all members of the company; these can either be used as inspiration or I will co-write the post with them.
When writing an article focused on a specialist topic e.g. data science or software development, the three R’s are Research, Research and Research! I go down a google deep dive of all things related to the topic, half my time is spent learning the definitions of words so I can understand what I am actually reading.
However, to write an article I like to go beyond basic understanding to a point where I can reasonably argue the point I’m making with enough knowledge and evidence to back it up. These topics tend to be like icebergs, it seems manageable enough at first but once you scratch the surface you see that the stream of information can go on for miles!
To gain the level of insight necessary, I will have meetings with some of Nova’s team members to receive one-on-one lessons on the topic. Here the collaborative nature of the company shines through as they help me to understand the topic in an accurate way. I work with supportive colleagues who always make time to answer my questions and aid me in understanding the complexities of the information I am researching. Not only are they able to answer any questions I may have, they are able to give me insider knowledge and a point of view unique to our company’s experiences. The feedback I receive for the articles is that they are understandable by people unfamiliar with the topic as well as those who have a great deal of knowledge about it, the communication between the teams makes this possible I believe.
With my metaphorical tool-belt equipped, I begin to write the first draft. Once I have the basic structure, I go back in for a second draft and add greater detail, tying in helpful quotes and points. The third draft allows me to re-read and re-write any sections where I feel this is necessary, consolidating my thoughts and refining the content of the piece. At this stage I have read the piece so many times I don’t know what I’ve written or what I think I’ve written so it can be helpful to take a break and focus on another project for a short while, then later I can come back to the article with fresh eyes.
For the posts that require feedback from my colleagues, initially I read as many articles that pertain to the same topic as possible. I investigate the sources and journals they utilise, examining their conclusions, their positives and negatives, what they did well and what they could do differently. I use this research to inform my own investigative design.
Next comes the development of the survey, this is where my background in psychology comes in handy. When conducting a study with humans it is essential to exclude any possible leading questions, make sure the question you are asking is as clear and concise as possible while prompting the participant to give the relevant feedback. It is imperative that everyone knows their data is private and confidential and they have the ability to request removal of their data from the data set at any point.
It usually takes a few tries to get the questions exactly right. Wording can be the difference between asking someone “What app do you find most helpful to work things out?” and “What app do you find most helpful to work out?”, while I am sure your exercise routine is fascinating, it is not relevant. Given that this is an international company with wonderful colleagues from all over the globe, it is important to pay acute attention to wording so as not to have anything lost in translation either.
While waiting for the feedback, I write the literature review section of the article, pulling together all of my research and explaining why we are interested in investigating this topic.
Once the results are in and the data is analysed, I can add our feedback to the article and explore the inferences that can be drawn from the data. By this stage I usually know the direction the article is going to take but the data can really turn things on its head meaning I often have to do further investigative work to understand the findings and strengthen my case.
After a break and one last edit, all articles are sent to my manager and our topic expert to gain their feedback. Any suggestions are discussed and changes are made to bring it to its final state.
I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about how I write these articles, I know I learn so much by writing them!