English 122:
How is the Writer Writing?
Patricia Bender
and Roberta Tipton
Introduction
Skills
Myths
Three Ways
Interviews

Three Ways to Organize Research

1. The Peter Elbow Sandwich Approach

Freewrite -- What is my purpose? Who is my audience? What do I know already? What do I want to know ? How do I feel about the material or subject? How do I feel about this assignment (enthusiasm, boredom, blind panic, you name it)?

What are some words I can use to describe my subject? What are some essential concepts for my audience?

2. The Outline Approach

(A writer's outline doesn't have to look as formal as this:
    1. )
Jot down an outline or just notes, as detailed as you can make them, about what should be covered in your paper or project. (What do I know? What would I like to know? What does the reader need to know? How shall I organize the information I have?) This is a strategic way to use your time and minimize the "I'm three-quarters done and have lost my way" syndrome.

Proceed with research process, pausing every so often to flesh out parts of the outline with freewriting or to reevaluate my direction.

3. The Mind Mapping Approach

The mind map is a freewheeling, visual approach that combines elements of outlining and freewriting. The advantage of a mind map is that it can start you working when an outline feels too restrictive or words for sentences or paragraphs simply will not come out. You can use expensive mind mapping software or a pencil and paper.

When you have gathered enough ideas, begin writing by translating your mind map into an outline, into freewriting, or into structured sentences and paragraphs.

Make My Mind Map (Show me an example.)

Collect or Formulate Questions (Preliminary research needed? Would an encyclopedia, handbook, textbook, review article, or classic work in the field help? How about talking with other people?)*

Collect Keywords, Subject Headings, and Terms from My Questions

Figure Out a General Search Strategy*

Choose Places to Search*

Construct Searches in Each Database*

Evaluate What I Find in the Search*

Select the Possibly Good Stuff; Throw out the Bad or Irrelevant Stuff

Save the Good Stuff Electronically for Future Reference

Find the Documents or Sources Themselves*

Read/Evaluate What I Read

Take Notes (Document My Sources*)/Grab My Own Ideas As They Occur

Freewrite

Generate New Questions (Possibly Changing Direction)

Collect New Keywords, Subject Headings, and Terms

Repeat the Cycle Until I Am Finished

*Librarians can help with these steps.

Collect or Formulate Questions (Preliminary research needed? Would an encyclopedia, handbook, textbook, review article, or classic work in the field help? How about talking with other people?)*

Collect Keywords, Subject Headings, and Terms from My Questions

Figure Out a General Search Strategy*

Choose Places to Search*

Construct Searches in Each Database*

Evaluate What I Find in the Search*

Select the Possibly Good Stuff; Throw out the Bad or Irrelevant Stuff

Save the Good Stuff Electronically for Future Reference

Find the Documents or Sources Themselves*

Read/Evaluate What I Read

Take Notes (Document My Sources*)/Grab My Own Ideas As They Occur

Freewrite

Generate New Questions (Possibly Changing Direction)

Collect New Keywords, Subject Headings, and Terms

Keep Going until My Outline Has Grown into a Finished Piece of Writing.

*Librarians can help with these steps.

Collect or Formulate Questions (Preliminary research needed? Would an encyclopedia, handbook, textbook, review article, or classic work in the field help? How about talking with other people?)*

Collect Keywords, Subject Headings, and Terms from My Questions

Figure Out a General Search Strategy*

Choose Places to Search*

Construct Searches in Each Database*

Evaluate What I Find in the Search*

Select the Possibly Good Stuff; Throw out the Bad or Irrelevant Stuff

Save the Good Stuff Electronically for Future Reference

Find the Documents or Sources Themselves*

Read/Evaluate What I Read

Take Notes (Document My Sources*)/Grab My Own Ideas As They Occur

Freewrite

Generate New Questions (Possibly Changing Direction)

Collect New Keywords, Subject Headings, and Terms

Continue with the Research Process Until I Have a Finished Piece of Writing

*Librarians can help with these steps.

    Just like life and writing, researching is a process that requires planning, drafting, revising and being resourceful. I realized that it is important to narrow my focus...I also found it necessary to follow a search strategy for sources that provide both general and more sophisticated information on the subject...Once I became more knowledgeable about the topic, it became easier for me to direct my research.
Luke C.
http://newarkwww.rutgers.edu/guides/threeways.htm
This page was last updated 4 September 2007.
Questions? Comments?