Planning Your Research: Reflection and Invention as Method

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This document should help a student avoid the tendency to 'report' their judgments. If they complete the writing tasks in the document, they will begin to learn more about their investment in the subject they chose. Material should benefit any academic writer, regardless of discipline or classification.

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Planning Your Research: Reflection and Invention as Method

  1. 1. Planning Your Research:  Reflection and Invention as a Method Pre­Writing Activity BEFORE you research, recall your purpose. What question/problem are you trying to solve, and why? While the research process can be exhausting, overwhelming, and so vast that you feel like its far too intense for you to handle, it’s also rewarding because it reduces the amount of time you are likely to spend writing. That's because the more you know about your subject, the more confident you will be communicating about it to other people. However, you don't want to get overwhelmed and intimidated by other writers. You can save time during the research process if you take the time to articulate your thoughts on your subject before you seek out other sources of information. Don't let your sources write your paper, let your sources help your audience better understand why what you are writing about is awesome and relevant, and most importantly why you are a good person to represent this issues concerns and values (e.g. as a global citizen, student, athlete, sister, etc.). Take about an hour or so and try writing down everything you already know about your topic before you research. This process should enable you to begin making sense of what makes your research significant, and where you need to go to help you explain and illustrate your arguments. Reflective Writing Critically examine what you wrote. Ask yourself the following questions: ● How did I come to these conclusions about my object of study and/or the problems I want to investigate? ● Who has already studied these issues? How did I learn about these researchers, speakers, developers, and/or writers? ● What do I need to know more about, to competently address my subject to multiple audiences?
  2. 2. Relevance to Academic Writing Note:  When you start doing research in your field, you may be writing for individuals that expect you to use certain social languages and proof.  Since 'disciplines' are not static monocultures, the last question in the bulleted list usually accounts for many problems in academic research. It can be difficult determining who is recognizable as a member of a field, which affects your selection process regarding how much you need to prove, whether or not your argument is original, is relevant to contemporary scholarship, can be studied with your discipline's accepted methods, and so on. In fact, if you plan to go to graduate school, you will find that some scholarship is self­reflexive. Researchers make their findings applicable to their field by making a case for one or more of the following aims/purposes: ● Identifying the limitations of the way a problem has been discussed ● Identifying the limitations of an accepted framework or method ● Deliberating over the impact or accuracy of some phenomena ● Investigating the roles and responsibilities of researchers and the ethics of the research process ● Applying current methods to an object/phenomena to enhance the audience's understanding of both methodology and phenomena. Thus, they may set out to broaden or narrow the scope of the way certain terms and methods are used, as well as offer additional examples that reinforce the legitimacy of accepted frameworks. The bulleted list represents some, but by no means all, of the purposes that motivate researchers to want to publish their work in their field.

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