For 19.11.18

Reading Craft, Chapter 4, “From Questions to a Problem”

This is for you, not for me: prepare notes to help you understand what is going on and as you would refer to these notes to know what to do and why

  • Read through Chapter 4 as carefully as we did in class and write in the margins keywords, as we indicated, for each of the four steps as well as others that appear essential to the problem
  • Your job is not to “please the teacher”, but to use note-taking to learn this complex, sophisticated way of understanding the research your term paper and MA thesis require of you


Read again the last pages as we read them in class for tips on how better to overcome fear and uncertainty, as if you were receiving advice from an experienced research

  • Please understand that this is complex, sophisticated stuff that you will not learn in one semester and even two
  • As we discussed, in elite institutions you would have people and groups to discuss this with in considerable detail, extensively, and every week over years: if you are uncertain, that is completely understandable
  • The only mistake you can make is not trying

Advice on preparing homework

I am not asking you for a report, but providing you with an opportunity to gain valuable feedback, to encourage you to develop good writing habits, and so provide a supportive path to your research and success here

  • Feedback is a complicated business, here I offer a comprehensive overview
  • Courage is what you will definitely need to do this challenging work, and here I have written up some of the advice instructors and advisors offer student who, understandably, feel undertrained, threatened even, but deserve support: you all deserve support when you take on such an ambitious enterprise!

Apply this modeling and theory

Using either the McAfee article or your own research topic, take some notes and write them up

  • Writing is best considered a daily, if not hourly enterprise and where you note all kinds of things you hear and think about so as not to forget them: collect some notes
  • Reflecting on your notes will help you check your understanding, clarify your thought, and make them memorable: once a day at least, review what you’ve written and revise, add to, or amend in a free, exploratory way
  • Get the juices flowing: you’ve probably been trained to associate writing with pain: how about learning how to associate writing with pleasure! Write done interesting stuff only, especially moments when you think “a-ha!”
  • Write first for you, then later, next Sunday, select some of them to share: this gives you a principle of selection (only the the stuff that might interest others, like me) and a timetable (write every day so that Sunday you have a bunch of notes to choose from