Formal outlines are tried and true, and show you how to break down all the bits and pieces.
For less complicated theories without great depth to show one side versus the other, we can approach the research from this model. Benefits: linear, allows you to get your thinking out all at once and then move on.
For complicated research, where the perspectives are too dynamic and potentially controversial to simply move through completely then move on, we must take each element/angle of the research in turn before progressing. Benefits: allows you to slow down, take more time to lay out detail.
WHY CREATE AN OUTLINE: AUDIENCE
^For whom are you writing (AUDIENCE)
*Academia (Experts in the field of study already)
*Educators (Intelligent people who seek to educate others)
*Business Types (clients/sales reps—need to know for personal
*General Public (parents, residents of a community, general
AUDIENCE CONT‟D: VISUAL FROM DIANA
HACKER (RULES FOR WRITERS)
(WHY SHOULD YOUR AUDIENCE CARE?)
• TO INFORM
• TO PERSUADE
• TO ENTERTAIN
• TO CALL ______ TO ACTION
• TO CHANGE ATTITUDES
• TO ANALYZE
• TO ARGUE
• TO EVALUATE
• TO RECOMMEND
• TO REQUEST
• TO PROPOSE
• TO PROVOKE (THOUGHT)
• TO EXPRESS FEELINGS
• TO SUMMARIZE
• TO CAPTURE
PURPOSE: THE “OLD” AND THE “NEW”
• HOW IMPORTANT IS THE RESEARCH YOU‟VE ALREADY DISCOVERED TO YOUR
• ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
• LITERATURE REVIEW
• HOW IMPORTANT IS THE “NEW” RESEARCH (ORIGINAL RESEARCH, FIELD WORK) TO
• SURVEYS (CURRENT OPINIONS, BIASES, TRENDS, PRACTICES)
• INTERVIEWS (EXPERT, „MAN ON THE STREET‟)
• EXPERIMENTS (SCIENTIFIC METHOD, DESIGN THINKING, ETC); FOCUS GROUPS
• CRITICAL ARGUMENT
• DRAWING CONCLUSIONS
• OFFERING SOLUTIONS
A FEW TIPS FOR DETERMINING ORDER
• Look for a „natural order‟ to establish itself
• “Burnout in the workplace” example from Badke
• Ascending / Climactic Order = Rule of Thumb
• Various viewpoints are valid—do not misrepresent
• Reservation / Rebuttal
RESEARCH INTRODUCTIONS: WHAT‟S THY
• “Keep your introduction lean if not mean” (Badke 140).
• Hooks: real-world examples/problems/issues to engage
• Attention, Interest, Good Will
• Research Intros serve two, and only two, real purposes:
• 1) establish working knowledge of the topic
• 2) state your single research question
IS THAT A BULGE IN YOUR PAPER, OR DO YOU
JUST LOVE TO GO ON TANGENTS?
• Bulge ( noun): “ a section of information that has little
relationship to the paper topic at hand” (Badke 141).
• We did the digging, so it must make the final cut…right?
• It‟s just too interesting to leave out…right?
• At times like this, remember
TRIAGE APPLIES TO PAPERS, TOO!
SO, IN SUMMATION…
• Outlines are essential to organizing piles of information before you
• Know thy foci!
• A) For whom are you writing
• B) For why are you writing
• Less is more: simple divisions are preferable to “algorithmic” models
• Have an approach in mind: topical, chronological, climactic
• Be fair: even if you don‟t endorse the research you‟re reviewing or
including, objectively offering it behooves you early and later
• Avoid tangents (even if they are “really cool”)
Badke, William. Research Strategies: Finding Your Way through the Information Fog.
2nd Edition. iUniverse: New York, 2004.
Hacker, Diana and Sommers, Nancy. Rules for Writers. 7th Edition. Bedford/St. Martin‟s:
New York, 2012.