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ENGLISH 202: Research Writing. January 26 th. Agenda. Finding a “researchable topic” Talking about the CR Talking about the articles Visitors/Observers of ENGL 202 Assignment # 1 handout. What makes a question researchable?. It should be clear and narrow (not too big, not too small)

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ENGLISH 202: Research Writing

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  • Finding a “researchable topic”
  • Talking about the CR
  • Talking about the articles
  • Visitors/Observers of ENGL 202
  • Assignment # 1 handout
what makes a question researchable
What makes a question researchable?
  • It should be clear and narrow (not too big, not too small)
  • It interests the researcher
  • It raises questions, and the answer might not be simple.
  • It focuses on a topic about which something has been said before.
  • It should be intellectually challenging
  • It should have some contribution.
  • It should relate to the class theme.
  • You should find resources for your topic easily.
narrowing your subject
Narrowing your subject
  • TIME

Pg. 52

the main purpose of any kinds of research is to
The main purpose of any kinds of research is to…

Your research should have a thesis and a research question. Your question will be answered through your research.


You need to be convincing. Your purpose is to explain a central claim and explain it through evidence


Collect data and examine it closely

developing a working knowledge
Developing a working knowledge
  • Online sources
  • Internet
  • Library
  • Encyclopedias
  • Hawaiian word for “fast”
academic search engines
Academic Search engines
  • Page 46 in CR

Google scholar

Fields of knowledge

Academic index

Librarian’s index

  • Any volunteers who would like to share your results?
circling the lighthouse
Circling the lighthouse
  • The challenge is not to find a unique topic but to find an angle on a familiar topic that helps readers to see what they haven't noticed before.
class activity
Defining Racism. Can we talk? By Beverly Daniel Tatum--‘dismantling racism is the best interest to everyone’
  • What is this article about?
  • What contributes to our development of prejudice?
  • What is cultural racism?
  • Do you have any experiences where you were judged based on your race, gender or nationality?
  • What is internalized oppression?
  • What does Tatum mean buy saying “if we live in a smoggy place, how can we avoid breathing the air”?
  • How do WE challenge stereotypes, unexamined prejudices?
  • Read curious researcher
  • Narrative Writing due on Wed. (Jan 28th)
engl 202 research writing

ENGL 202: Research Writing

February, 2nd 2009

  • Congratulations to Steelers fans!
  • Undergraduate conference (extra credit will be awarded) See the handout.
  • Academic Freedom after 9/11: A Symposium Cary Nelson, AAUP President; Ward Churchill, Internationally known Native American scholar and former Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. 6 pm, Eberly Auditorium
  • Enjoy the movie events that IUP offers:

International film festivals. The upcoming movie is After the Wedding, Feb. 8th, 6:30-8:30 @ Indiana Theatre.

Curse of the Golden Flower (Hong Kong/China) Film showings at 6:00pm & 8:30pm Feb. 22nd.

  • Presentations on group research inventories (Zack’s, Julie’s and Tiara’s group)
  • Sharing your narrative work in groups.
  • Choosing/narrowing down your research topics
  • Looking at various research samples
  • Library Session: Guest Librarian, Blaine E. Knupp
peer review narrative sharing
Peer-Review/narrative sharing
  • Take a few minutes to share your work!
  • Feel free to provide some constructive feedback on the possible research topics of your classmate.
group research inventories
Group Research Inventories
  • Explain your group’s the research topic.
  • Tell your classmates about the research questions that you are exploring
  • What is the reason you are writing about it? Why is this an important research topic?
  • Share the “Research Process”
take the ownership of your research and writing
Take the ownership of your research and writing

Choose a topic that..

  • You can write/speak about passionately
  • You can tell the audience the importance of it (why does it matter to YOU and to your larger COMMUNITY)
  • You can conduct fieldwork, get involved with organizations, interview people etc.
  • You can take the authority and incorporate your own voice in it.
  • You can share your original ideas.
  • You can examine and understand the disciplinary conversation
finding the focusing question
Finding the focusing question
  • Ex. 1.5 (p. 50)

Step 1: Write the one question that you think would be the most interesting focus for your paper?—This will be your “Research question”

Step 2: Generate new set of questions under the first question. What are additional questions that most interest you and might help you discover the answers to your research? (See the example on page 50) You can use the Time, Place, Person and Story

finding the relationship
Finding the relationship
  • What is the relationship between your topic and something else?

(e. g., What is the relationship between gender and media, what is the relationship between education and diversity? What is the relationship between anorexia and advertising)

reading strategically
Reading Strategically
  • Differences between literary text and academic text.

--academic writing is usually explicit.

--academic writing uses specialized language and conventions.

--the rhetorical conventions are accessible.

--Non-linear reading-- It’s often not necessary to read an academic article from the beginning to the end

breaking the code analyzing research writing samples
Breaking the Code: Analyzing Research Writing Samples

Skim through the research article with your group-mates. Do come active reading. (Read with a pen/highlighter in your hand). In your groups, address to the following questions;

  • What are the main sections of this research paper?
  • What is the research question? What is this article about? (Introduction, abstract
  • What do you think the goal is in each section?
  • Who are the participants of this study?
  • What steps are followed to answer the research question(s) and study the participants? What is the methodology used in this research paper? (Methodology)
  • What are the findings? (Discussion /Findings/Results)
free writing on writing
Free-writing on writing
  • Take a few minutes to write about your previous research writing experiences
  • Find two scholarly articles for your research topics (bring them with you for next class)
  • See your class blog for the article titled “Is Google making us stupid?”--http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google
  • Read—CR, Developing a Research Strategy: Pg.55-75
engl 202 research writing1

ENGL 202: Research Writing

February,4th 2009

  • Undergraduate conference (extra credit will be awarded) See the handout.
  • Tragedies of Failed African States: The Case of Zimbabwe? A presentation by Dr. Calvin Masilela.

IUP Professor of Geography and Regional Planning

Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 7:00 p.m. in Stouffer Auditorium. 

  • Change in due dates: Introductions due Feb. 11th
  • Typical Research Process
  • Class Activity: Working on your research questions
  • Looking at two scholarly articles you brought with you.
  • Group sample articles
  • Is google making us stupid article?
developing your research questions
Developing your research questions
  • One of the most effective ways to get started on your research is to think of your topic in terms of a question.
  • Try to avoid yes/no questions.
  • Try to come up with a series of questions that start with: who, what, where, how, when.

e.g., How do young kinds learn reading and writing?

What is the controversy around the idea of thin-slicing?

Why are organic products more expensive than non-organic products?

See Good Reasons 248 about strategies for research.


1.Find a subject that interests you.

2. Make sure that you can do a thorough job of research.

3. Develop a strategy for your research early on.

4. Attack your questions from multiple levels google, wikipedia, and library)—You are likely to succeed to explore your topic if you search it with various tools

free writing
  • Write as quickly as you can about a research topic that you would like to explore in this class. It can be about your major, politics, community service. You can also create an idea map/research inventory, just like we did last week.
  • What are you interested in researching in this class?
  • Why are you interested in this? What is the importance of this topic (e.g. to you, to your community etc.)
  • How you are going to explore the topic (e.g., interview some people, observations)? Specify what data you will gather.
critical and strategic reading
Critical and Strategic Reading
  • Critical reading is NOT a skill. It is a learnt practice.
  • Mastering the critical reading skills require some time. Be patient with yourself and take writing/reading intensive courses like this one!
  • Remember that different texts require different reading. Each text has different audience and social purpose.
  • Annotating text while reading helps.


discussion questions
reading academic texts active reading with annotated texts
Reading Academic Texts:Active reading with annotated texts

The following is a list of some techniques that you can use to annotate text:

  • Underline important terms.
  • Circle definitions and meanings.
  • Write key words and definitions in the margin.
  • Signal where important information can be found with key words or symbols in the margin.
  • Write short summaries in the margin at the end of sub-units.
  • Write the questions in the margin next to the section where the answer is found.
  • Indicate steps in a process by using numbers in the margin.
  • Post your free writing on the class blog
  • Read CR 122-133—Plagiarism, citing, summarizing. Talking abot Literature Reviews
  • Introductions are due next Wed.