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Project Planning Exercise

Project Planning Exercise
Learning how to research well comes with experience – the more you research the better you get at refining search terms, knowing which sources are best and using your time efficiently. Each time we conduct research it is beneficial to stop at some point and see what information we have gathered, question how helpful that information is, and determine what else we might need. Now is that time.
Start by considering the knowledge you have about your topic. If you have basic knowledge, you can probably engage in a few minutes of conversation about that topic. If your knowledge is deep enough to begin a research essay, you should be able to imagine presenting on the topic for 15 or 20 minutes. Do you think you have enough information gathered or knowledge to rely on yet?
It’s only a start when collecting information about your topic, but you’ll have to write about the information’s significance to your topic. Can you do that yet? We can test where we are with our research by asking ourselves the following questions to reflect on what we have and what else we might need:
• Does the researched information provide background on the topic to situate the knowledge about it – specifically, what has been said about it already, what is known or unknown, who has written about it and when?
• Does the information support or further develop an idea or claim I think I want to make? Is it able to provide evidence that what I’m saying might be true? Does it qualify an idea about my topic that I want to present? Does it provide additional information I can use to add to the significance of the idea(s) I have about this topic?
• Does the information challenge what I’ve been thinking, or make it more complicated in some way? Does it raise additional questions I may not have considered, or provide a point of view I don’t share? Does it change my thinking in some way?
To receive full credit, answer all questions in detail. This assignment requires a 400-500-word response in total:
1. First, reflect on where you think your research has led you – what are the key ideas emerging from your sources, and do you have main ideas or a thesis in mind? Explore what you have – take stock – using the prompts in the section above to guide your reflection.
2. At the end of your Reflection, come up with three key points (which might become possible thesis statements eventually) around which you might organize your essay. You don’t have to stick with any of them – but trying to formulate a thesis or articulate a key point will help you understand if you have the research to support one.
3. Create a rough outline that provides structure to your research essay. Bullet points of your key ideas are fine. Reflect on your sources, the information you have found thus far, and arrange your main ideas in an order to potentially discuss that makes sense to you.
4. Looking at your key points so far, what is the significance of each? Does each contribute to the existing conversation around your topic? Do you have evidence to support them? Which ones are stronger ideas and connect to your research more effectively? Do the points connect in some way? Is there a through-line?
5. What other information might help you convey the significance of these points? What do you think might be missing from your research, or make your research stronger? Can you identify holes in the research you want to fill? What other points can you imagine making that you might need more evidence about in order to support effectively?

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