SUBJECT and a SCRATCH OUTLINE [early, uninformed, tentative]—examine and copy “scratch” outlines—-how extensive?
Did it inform the reading?
Did the reading inform the scratch outline?
How many wrote a scratch outline without doing any preliminary reading?
Encyclopedia—broad survey of subject [may be used as minor sources]
Reference works—any suggestions? Consider the area and make adjustments…
remember periodical, magazine, and newspaper indexes
scanning material [easy reading]—–
Notes on encyclopedia article
What to look for…only facts that are unknown previously to you—weed out unnecessary
Highlighting [only significant]
Outline will focus notes [each area of outline requires specific notes—keep separate]
One book/one page; one magazine article/one page; one periodical/one page; one newspaper/one page
One internet/one page
Note card or page requires: “fact or idea/source of information”
Separate fact from opinion
Scratch outline to rough outline—-differences [extensiveness, logical relationships, patterns]
Thesis and supporting points: writing the introduction
Thesis or “supporting point”
What is the significance of the introduction? What will it contain? Why important? How long? [see p. 463 for “formal outline” and thesis statement: what would intro look like? Will discuss three main points with sound and clear and useful method of introduction.
By today all should have subjects and some form of scratchoutline.
This weekend is where you finish essential preliminary reading and begin to form a “rough” outline from a “scratch” outline.
Steps: 1—method of introduction [longer than normal—a general overview and discussion of the topic]
2—basic thesis statement or “purpose” expressed [what do you want to say about the subject?]
3—supporting points [major divisions] expressed clearly! And with some specificity.
Introduction is the most important “area” of the paper [no matter how many paragraphs]—it is the “set-up,” the “frame of reference” and the thing on which the entire paper will turn. It contains your main idea [subject] your understanding or opinion of the subject [thesis or purpose], and your introduction to the major divisions of the essay
SOME RESEARCH PAPER WRITING TIPS
No writing takes place in a vacuum. The rhetorical situation—purpose, audience, and occasion—determines your tone and shapes your writing. Whenever you write, you engage in a process of developing an appropriate topic for a certain audience. You will explore and gather information and focus the subject, form a thesis, and develop an appropriate plan of organization. You will also, for this class, revise two drafts before preparing a final version.
Is the subject specialized in nature? Will the audience be? Do you expect your audience to have some foreknowledge of your subject? If not, consider a lengthier introduction.
Understand the occasion. This is an academic paper. Remain objective. Be clear, forceful, direct.
Set the appropriate tone:
Tone is a reflection of your attitude toward your subject and must be appropriate to your purpose, audience, and occasion, whether for a personal essay or lab report. Although humor might well be suitable in a letter to a friend telling him/her of trouble with your new car, it would be inappropriate in a letter of complaint to a manufacturer. Set the tone to match the seriousness of the essay topic.
When you have a subject in mind you will need to explore all the possible ways to develop it. You will also need to follow certain leads and eliminate others as you direct and focus your ideas.
Writers use many different methods to explore a subject. If you are having a hard time getting started, try “free writing”—writing non stop for a brief period of time about any aspect of your subject that occurs to you—and then examine your writing for productive approaches. Some other useful methods are “listing,” “questioning,” and “applying different perspectives.” Use whatever methods seem productive for you.
Different methods may work best for different subjects; if you run out of ideas using one method, switch to another. Sometimes, especially for an assigned subject remote from your own interests and knowledge, you may need to try several methods.
Limit and focus your subject:
Exploring the subject will suggest not only productive strategies for development but also a direction and focus for your writing. Some ideas will seem worth pursuing; others will seem inappropriate for your purpose, audience or occasion. You will find yourself discarding ideas even as you develop new ones.
Establish a thesis [or purpose]
If you have limited and focused your subject, you have worked a long way toward developing an idea that controls the content you include and the approach you take. Your controlling idea, or thesis, insures that decisions you have made about purpose, audience, occasion, and tone fit together.
The thesis statement will also help unify your paper. It will also guide many decisions about what larger details [points of support] and specific details [concrete details, examples] to keep and what to discard. It is your “frame of reference,“ and it will become the point around which your entire paper will turn.
Choose an appropriate method of ARRANGING IDEAS. Use an informal working plan [a collection of lists, notes about your subject, most of which will come out of your preliminary reading. Next form a ROUGH OUTLINE. This will lead to a rearrangement of the material and a later FORMAL OUTLINE.