For 6.6.18

Your Research Question

Reformulate your research question like this

  • What topic interests you: “I am studying … (a topic)”
  • What interests others: “Because I want to find out … ”
  • What concept significance: “In order to help readers understand …
  • What practical example: “So that readers might …”


Identify one or more key concepts of your study and, following the steps below, explore how this concept appears in your mind, in dictionaries, encyclopedias, and in your relevant literatures; work slowly and carefully so you will be able to set up a method to research the 3-7 other major terms of your student as they will appear in your thesis introduction and guide your research more generally

  • Study my Definitions page, set up your browser with the four links you will find there so you can look up other terms efficiently
  • Your Definition. Write what you think it is about in your everyday language, the more basic the better, so you can identify your starting point and contrast your first step with the many that follow
  • Dictionary Definition. Choose a definition that fits, present it as a definition from a specific source (Oxford, Reverso, Biz Dictionary, etc.), and examine carefully how their definition differs from yours so you may compare and contrast them in your thought and research
  • Concept. When you compare your original and subsequent definitions, look for the larger concepts, such as the larger sense of “endure” that lies deep in the concept of “sustainability”
  • Example. Develop an operating explanation, something that you will also use in your term paper and discussions with others, and do so as a story that translates the ideas and concepts into examples
  • What you learn. Identify what you already knew (you are ok!) and how your research has revealed additional meanings and remember both as what you have learned: where many thought sustainability referred to the betterment of society, we learned that the English refer to a steady state of development, as development “sustained” over time — both are right, but your French ears hear the former while the English ears often hear more of the latter: remember both as a problem of learning for you and for your writing: “while for English speakers “sustainability” refers to the ability of a business to continue over time, our use of the term in the French context here includes reference to sustaining a certain good quality of life …”
  • Turn it upside-down. Tell a second story that explores the larger meanings (plural), the more fantastic and memorable the better: this you will discover as you read further, but first you will want to explore the term’s inner logic and history of use.

Write up your notes for you, not for the teacher: prepare a worksheet, in our outline format, that organizes your findings, discussion, drafts of sentences, etc., as you will incorporate these definitions in your term paper immediately, with editing later to be sure, but as your begin here, with basic definitions

Literature Review: Reporting

  1. Wrap your head around the following examples
  1. Then review 1-3 articles in any of the terms you might find interesting above (you gotta start somewhere)
  2. Talk/Write: discuss your findings with a partner and both of you note and write up the conversation
  3. In your homework using our template (on Dropbox), share your notes, drafts, and thoughts on your work

Your Portfolios

If you submit a few pages every week from now on, you will be able to pass this course: more importantly, you will by the end of the term be able to work through your paper’s question and materials enough to enjoy the summer!