For 3.12.18 (1-3pm)

This will be our last class, and as I thought we would have one more class let me suggest that we set a portfolio due date of 10.12.18

  • If you have not done the homework until now, you have a chance to pass this course with this last assignment, For 3.12.18
  • I will offer bonus points for those who have done one or more of the previous assignments and include them in the front of the portfolio
  • The due date for submitting a file in MS Word will be Monday, 10.12.18, noon, on our “Final Portfolios 10.12.18” folder on Dropbox
  • Portfolios and Dropbox offers advice on assembling your final portfolio

Your Final Assignment: Developing a Research Question

What is a proper Research Question?

In your portfolio, present an outline of what you’ve learned a research question should include from your study these past two weeks of Chapter 4 of The Craft of Research, “From Questions to a Problem”

  • Pay particular attention to sections 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.2.3, and 4.2.4 and where you identify what the text says and explain what you think it means
  • Talk to write. Tip: work with a partner, discuss what you think is going on and then write down how you explain it to each other

Identify the research questions you find in your chosen topic’s literatures

Your particular research question for this term paper will emerge at the end, when you finally abandon the project and edit it: until then, you’ll likely start off with a topic only as in 4.2.1 and identify the concepts or relevant current issues as you will find in 4.2.3 only as you complete your literature review

  • For each of the articles you think relevant for this term paper, identify and discuss the author’s research question
  • For each, identify and discuss how your on particular question has changed (often, the more change the better), so that your notes are a record of your learning (seeing things differently, changing your understanding, revising your research question)
  • Begin and end this exercise with more questions than answers: list these questions (aka “hypotheses”)

Find at least three articles on your topic

Please assume that any topic you come up with has been done already, which is just great, because then you can learn from the experts!

  • You are looking first for discussions among relevant professionals, those you want to join
  • Search for “current issues YourTopic 2018 x” first without the “x” and then where x= kpmg, Deloitte, ey, hbr, McKinsey, etc., and any other high-level sources you think might be relevant
  • See my advice on Search

Report on what the articles say

Using reporting verbs, identify and discuss briefly each of the research questions four parts and report as well on what else is going on

  • Identify your research strategy, beginning with “strengths and weaknesses” but likely moving on to other structures, such as SWOT, or historical accounts or other strategies as you have read in Steps for Better Thinking

How do your sources think?

Identify precisely which of the Steps for Better Thinking you have looked for and/or discovered in your sources: account for how your sources think: how do the go about explaining themselves, what are their forms of argument?

Example Search and Result (and what your homework for 3.12.18 might look like)

For example,

  • Joe thought to ask: “To what extent was the spread of AIDS across Africa in the 1980’s a result of IMF policies?”
  • I thought to search for: “factors explaining the spread of AIDS in Africa 1970s”, and once I got a good idea of what some of those factors might be, I searched for “factors explaining the spread of AIDS in Africa 1970s IMF”
  • Of the many results, I looked for someone who had already answered Joe’s question, and so I selected from among the results this article, Impoverishing a Continent.
  • I confirmed my choice when I found a discussion of what they think are the issues, satisfying the criteria of Craft 4.2.3, introduced like this, “SAPRIN explains this damning indictment by identifying four ways in which reforms under SAPs have impoverished people and increased economic inequality, and where the four ways appear to me as conceptual frameworks for understanding the issue.
  • After outlining briefly what is to be found here and in the process clarifying my own question, identifying key word and so search terms, my next step would be to find 3-4 more articles including at least one where some other professional thinks this argument is limited and offers a competing argument and others which look at the problem differently, maybe as I began to see in my first search without “IMF”.
  • For each of these articles I would briefly outline the issues or factors they think important and identify how they might confirm, context, or contrast what I found in the first article.
  • I would then explain my findings to a classmate and where I first ask her to ask me 1) “how does this all fit together?” And 2) “how has your concept changed?” And 3) “what would you like to look for next?”
  • I would then combine my notes with what I’ve said and learned from this conversation, including specific answers to each of these three specific questions, 1), 2), and 3) (believe me, I will look for this when grading your homework)
  • I would then revise my research question and, for bonus points, add another few pages for the final submission on 10.12.18

If you complete these steps in these next two weeks, on the 10th of December you will be more than half done and can then go on your vacation without having to worry too much!!!

  • You really do want to start early, a month now before the assignment is due, because then you can change your question a few times as you find out how the smart people have already addressed your question
  • And if you start now, you’ll have your 3,000 words, plus another 3,000, and maybe even another 3,000, and so can edit your paper to a nice even 3,000 and win an excellent grade — because you almost certainly have to write your paper three times, with editing, 9,000 words or more, with editing, to write something halfway intelligent — that’s just the way it is, there are no short cuts.

Good Luck!

Also for next week, Mendeley

Mendeley. Download, install, and enter three of your bibliographic entries in Harvard style.