For 4.10.18

  • For this week, you have only to get started: we will work on this together in class and you will have a chance to work on this for homework the following week
  • There are no wrong answers in this class, you’ve got to start somewhere, and it will take a couple of weeks before you understand things
  • This advice is designed to support the handout, so before you start reading please find it and keep it in front of you
  • And finally, please remember that I really do mean it when I say that I am the frame, you are the picture, and it is my job to help you do beautiful things!


  • This class is designed to provide you with an opportunity to develop a sophisticated approach to academic and professional research
  • While I can and will direct invite you to study such authoritative texts as “The Craft of Research,” the point of the exercise is practical: to prepare you for the writing of term papers and the MA Thesis
  • To this end, I will offer homework including 3-5 exercises each week that I invite you to complete by Tuesday evening and submit on our Dropbox so we all might arrive in class on Thursday well prepared to discuss each other’s work as well as our own
  • This is a required exercise and I will give you a grade for the course
  • This grade will be based on a final portfolio, due on the Tuesday before the last class, and where you will combine the weekly exercises in chronological order.

How to read for fun and profit!

Many arrive in class associating writing and homework with pain, so what we need to do is find ways that are pleasurable so you will be happy to connect to your materials, make great progress, and be on your way!

  • Positive Feedback”. In class, I made a point of responding to each of you in the most positive way possible, including finding value in what you said and offering questions designed to stimulate your thinking
  • For example, when looking at the first paragraph in McAfee(, I responded to your responses by asking where, precisely, you got the idea, and instead of saying “wrong” and putting you on the defensive I offered advice and support: I said: “trust your nose, you are likely headed in the right direction,” and then I invited you to look for specific words or phrases in the text that supported your assertions — and you found them!
  • Advice, I explained, is “weaker than a command, but stronger than a suggestion,” and by doing this I aim to give you practice in challenging your assumptions and methods in a way that leads you to see things in more sophisticated ways
  • Disciplinary Standards, include the specific advice and normative assumptions we find in “The Craft of Research” and elsewhere and which guide my advice to you: these are the scripts I read before class, illustrate often with my own personal examples, refer to and cite, and so return to always: I offer not simply my opinion, but what experienced researchers have found: my authority is essentially borrowed from others and something I pass on to you
  • “Misery Loves Company.” The absolute best way to do your homework is to work with a partner and where you take turns looking at the text, observing what you see, AND where you note how you observed things differently — as for many complex things there is no one answer, take turns marveling at your differences, and walk into class knowing that at least one other person finds value in your work

How to read McAfee, “When information is not the answer”

We read in basically four different ways, for four different purposes, and more or less in order. Try this.

  • Skim. First, read through the short, two page essay in one breath, so to speak, so you develop an overall impression
  • Scan.” Then read again, but this time to identify the text’s major sections and draw a horizontal line and so break the problem down into smaller, bite-sized pieces; as you do so, circle key words and in the margins write phrases that answer the question: “what is he doing when he says …”
  • Read intensively.” For the sections that interest you, read them over, break them into smaller pieces of argument, for example, identify and summarize his claim and the evidence that supports his claim
  • Read extensively.” Finally, read and summarize briefly the entire article to explain what it means and why it is important: account for how different sections support his claim

Outlining in MS Word

  • Develop an overview. Take a moment to study my advice on Outlining and Portfolios( until you convince yourself that the method has a purpose — helping you read, write, and think better
  • Create a template. Open up the handout file I’ve put on our Dropbox and, as I showed you briefly, delete everything, save this now blank file to your hard drive as “my ceebs template”, then save again as “YourName, 4.10.18”
  • Learn how to use the Outline View. Using “YourName, 4.10.18,” Click view/outline a couple of times to see that these are two views of the same file; then, in the Outline View, type “1” in the first line, return and tab so that you have a indented “-” sign, and type “2”, and so on — as we did in class
  • Format your homework. Where Heading/Level 1 is the date, 4.10.18, Heading 2 type each of the four sections, beginning with “Outline McAfee”, reserve Heading 3 for sub-heads, and write your text in Heading 4.
  • Bring your PCs to class. Don’t worry about not figuring this out (best is to ask someone who has), because if you bring your PC’s to class I will be able to show you what to do
  • This will take weeks, but soon you’ll have a powerful method for taking notes, drafting, editing, and creating a portfolio and any papers you’ll be needing to write


Write a short paragraph about what you’ve learned, and by that I mean not simply listing the assignment, but reflecting on what was now, how your understanding has changed, and so elicit your observations and feelings about how this might help you


As you work, make some notes about what you might do next, and in particular, what you’d like to be able to do but don’t yet know