For 2.6.18


Your homework for next week is, first, to exploit the 6.2.18 template I’ve prepared for you to study Chapter 7 of The Craft of Research and apply to your term paper. Please share your .doc file on our Dropbox by next Monday, 12 noon, so I will have a chance to offer comments and prepare our next steps.

Argument, Chapter 7 of Craft

Second, please prepare to discuss Chapter 7 next week in class.

The concept is this: by examining how we think like researchers every day among our friends and others at work and play, we may have the “donkey bridge” to academic research.

To prepare, examine closely the dialogue we read out in class on 16.1.18, where we saw that in daily life we all make claims, offer arguments, support our arguments with evidence, and refer to relevant (and professional) conversations.

At least once this week, before class, discuss your term paper with a partner and where you take turns listening carefully and considerately and with one eye to these basic research elements: for more, please read my

What will happen is that, as you explain yourself to a partner, your interaction will lead you to see things differently, which is good, because starting off with a good idea is not the end of it: complex thinking really is complex, built over time, and where you explore different angles, integrate it with what you and others know and say, and in the process make your idea better, smarter, and more readable

Your goal here is to learn how to think like a researcher: to see in every day conversation, in your reading, and so in your writing, in the terms of claim, argument, evidence, acknowledgements, and warrants.


Your goal is to become an a modern researcher and professional, capable of working both independently and in teams, and to become an independent learner, too, and for that you will need feedback to improve, test, expand, and deepen your ideas. For more, please read my

As you will read in this article, the feedback you get from me may well be helpful, but it will not be enough: you will need to develop skills to find substantive and supportive feedback from a variety of sources.

Nonetheless, I will offer brief feedback from your written work in a way that is possible given our limited time and relevant to our group effort. For that you will need to submit your homework by noon on the day before class. Examples of my comments on student papers last week you will find in the Feedback folder now on our Dropbox

Notes on Homework

I am responding to the homework I find on Dropbox and where I have added comments in Heading 7, so you will find them in a box and italicized.

Argument in Mayho

  • In my view, Mayho’s got a wonderful topic, something that moves her and concerns us all! Her use of the template and steps help us to see where she might go next: to find out how others have already addressed this issue, how differently they have done so, and out of that identify some particular issue where she might contribute some insight
  • Finding this disagreement will be exciting: you will soon take sides, but along the way you will find out how differently relevant professional argue, how different their evidence or their interpretation of evidence, and how different their motives, goals, context, etc. … and out of that you will identify your perspective, insight, and mission!
  • Like 8 Strategies, Steps sometimes works best when you first identify what you’ve done in their scheme (you are ok!) and then identify one other thing – treating their advice as “prompts” you might do next
  • Make sure you add such work – your identification of what you might do next – to your plans for the next week: be specific in respect to research activity so you know where to go next (and maybe not wander around so much
  • I would love to be able to offer detailed feedback on everyone’s work, but we simply do not have that kind of time – which is why I am trying to offer specific comments in places like this AND do so in a way that others might learn from
  • MUCH BETTER than consulting me would be to follow my advice to talk to others – help them help you by inviting them to ask the questions professionals like me might ask – and one way to do that is to open up 8 Strategies and Steps and together use them to interrogate what you’ve done and where you might go next

Additional Note on Craft Chapter 7

It really would be to your benefit to read and apply it: to learn how claim, argument, evidence, acknowledgements, and warrants all fit together

AND, for the zillionth time, why when you start from acknowledgements, as I note above in my comment on Mayho’s work, that before you make believe you know something you find out first what others have to say (then you most definitely WILL know something) and, along the way, if you are lucky, identify your special insight, perspective, context, and contribution!