Generate Ideas by Freewriting In your research log, freewrite in response to one of the following prompts, replacing the blanks with the ideas for topics that you generated during your brainstorming session. Before you begin, set a goal of a certain number of minutes or a set amount of pages you will write.
- Writing about ____ will help me accomplish the following purposes . . .
- I am personally interested in ____ because . . .
- I am academically interested in ____ because . . .
- My readers need or would like to know about ____ because…
“The Evolving Legend of La Llorona” and answer question 5 from Monsters.
This article appeared in History Today, which describes itself as a “serious” magazine. What about the article–its language, its use of evidence, its tone–separates it from less serious publications and from peer-reviewed journals intended to be read by other historians?
Find a Written Conversation We’re surrounded by written conversations. Some focus on politics, others on sports, and still others on issues in an academic discipline. You’ll find contributions to conversations on the front page of newspapers, on websites such as CNN.com and Foxnews.com, in academic and professional journals, and in the blogs at “Tumblr or Blogger.com. Spend some time locating a conversation about a topic that interests you. Use the following prompts to find the conversation.
- List a topic that interests you. Because you’ll be searching for sources, jot down a list of search terms, or keywords (p. 146), that you can use to locate sources on the topic.
- Choose a newspaper or magazine or search for sources. Browse a newspaper or magazine or search for sources on a Web search site (p. 33), a library database (p. 33), or a library catalog (p. 32) using the keywords you jotted down about your topic.
- Identify sources that seem to address the topic. Skim each source (p. 61) to get a sense of how it addresses your topic.
- Decide whether the sources are engaged in the same conversation. Ask whether the sources are addressing the same topic. If they are, list the ways in which they are “talking” to one another about the topic. Identify any agreements, disagreements, or differences in their approach to the topic.
- Reflect on the conversation. Ask whether the sources you’ve identified tell you enough to understand the conversation. Consider whether you might need to locate more sources to give you a fuller picture of the conversation
My Research Project Create a Plan to Explore Your Topic In your research log, answer the following questions After you create your plan, use it to guide your work and to remind yourself of steps you might overlook. A note such as “talk to Professor Chapman about recent clinical studies” can come in handy if you’ve become so busy searching the Web or your library’s catalog that you forget about your other plans for exploring your topic. After you’ve drafted your plan, share it with your instructor, your supervisor, or a librarian, who might suggest additional resources, shortcuts, and alternative strategies. Take notes on the feedback you receive and, if necessary, revise your plan. My Research Project Create a Plan to Explore Your Topic In your research log, answer the following questions.
- Who can help me learn more about my topic?
- What questions should I ask people on my list?
- What settings can I observe to learn more about my topic?
- What resources can I search or browse through to learn more about my topic?
- How can I keep track of information I collect as I explore my topic?
Using your responses, write your plan as a series of steps and ask your instructor, your supervisor, or a librarian to review it
My Research Project Manage Sources in Your Research Log A critical aspect of working with sources is deciding how to manage them so that you can easily locate information when you need it. You can choose from several options.
Saving, downloading, or e-mailing sources
Adding sources to cloud-based services such as DropBox, iCloud, or OneDrive
Organizing your sources with Web-based tools, such as Google Drive or Delicious
Printing sources and saving them in a notebook or folder
These and related strategies are discussed in Chapter 8.
My Research Project
- What is my topic?
- Have I discussed my topic with others? If so, what have I learned? If not, who are likely candidates for interviews—such as librarians, instructors, and people involved with or affected by my topic—and what questions should I ask them?
- Are there any preliminary observations I should conduct? Have I done so? If so, what have I learned?”
- Have I identified types of sources that are appropriate for my project? What kind of sources are they?
- Have I found and reviewed sources? Have I searched the library catalog and browsed the shelves? Have I searched databases and the Web? Have I skimmed, marked, annotated, and taken brief notes on the sources I’ve found? If so, what have I learned about my topic?