Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Craft of Research: Chapter 2

...aka the Audience Chapter. Included in any plan for research (see previous post) should be a consideration of your intended audience(s). Are they teachers? Fellow researchers? Laymen? How much background do they need? How much credibility (ethos) do you need to establish?
  • What form you want your writing to take (e.g. a lab report) will influence your research and how you go about it. Include form in your plan before starting to research.
  • What roles do you see your audience taking? Do they want to be entertained? enriched pragmatically? enriched in comprehension of a topic?
  • Your goal in any research: to give a good road map for your readers while removing all conceivable stumbling blocks. Make the issue relevant to them if it is not already. Strength of argument counts very much. If your audience is the small subset of fully closed minds (who brush off any contrary argument as "bad" or "irrelevant"), give up.
  • Is your goal to change the beliefs of your readers? That's easier for experienced researchers. "If you are a beginning researcher, do not think that you have to meet an expectation that high."
  • Is your goal to inspire action? Make sure it changes beliefs first. (Analogy from theology: Works count for nothing without faith. Faith, and nothing else, produces works that count.)
  • Are you overwhelmed with the idea of beginning such an ambitious project? The authors offer three hints: (1) Know about the difficulties beforehand. (2) Write about your topic from the beginning of the process - the first draft and final report are most definitely not the only writing you'll be doing. (3) Get the first steps (incl. finding a topic) down pat; manage how complex you envision the total project to be.
Why not start a short project this summer, even if just for practice?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Independence Day!