Geog. 4800

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					Geog. 4800: Geography Capstone

Which of the following is a Researcher?
                   Becoming a Researcher

All of the above: A researcher is someone who has learned not only how to
find information, but how to evaluate it, and report it clearly and accurately
          What’s the advantage for you?

• Help you interpret what you
       • Facts versus interpretation of
• Accurately judge the
  research of others
       • Experience the messy
         and difficult reality of
         doing research
            – Before you can judge
              the quality of other
                » Assumptions
                » Limitations
  What’s the advantage for you?
• New knowledge depends
  on what questions you
  – Your assumptions may
    influence the type of
    questions you might ask
     • e.g., nature of poverty
         – People’s own fault or a
           structural reality of
• Knowledge is dependent             Opinion Polls: Getting the results you want
  – the quality of research
  – Accuracy of reporting            Qjo
                     Reality of Research

• Not like learning to ride
  a bike!
   – ...its hard work!
      • Basic principles remain
        the same
          – Careful, accurate and
      • Constantly rethinking
        how you do it
          – Follows a crooked
              » Unexpected turns,
              » Blind alleys
                Starting your project

• How do I begin
  – How do I find a topic?
  – Where do I find
    information on it?
  – What do I do with the
    information I find?      Exercise 1. What do you find
                             academically interesting?

                             What would you like to know more
                             about, or,

                             what would you like to contribute
                             knowledge too?
       So, what is Research?

and just what is a geographic question?
                THEME 1: Location

– Absolute and relative
– Site
– Situation
– Cognitive location
– Relative location
                    Theme 2: Place

– Places
– characteristics
   • that give meaning and
     character and which
     distinguishes them from
     other places on earth
– interdependence

– Sites of innovation

– Sites of resistance
   Theme 3: Human/environment interaction

• Means different things
  to different people,
   – Dependent upon
      • cultural backgrounds
      • technological resources

   – Examine the effects
      • positive and negative from
                  THEME 4: Movement

• People interact with
  other people, places,
  and things
   –   Complementarity
   –   Transferability
   –   Intervening Opportunity
   –   Spatial diffusion
                     THEME 5: Regions

• Formal and functional
   – defined by certain unifying

   – How do regions change
     over time?

   – Landscapes
      • Cultural, symbolic
          – Sense of place

   – Globalization and
             Theme 6: Scale
• Scale
  – Not so much a “zooming
    device” i.e., local,
    regional, national, global

  – Materialization of real
    world processes
     • The tangible
       partitioning of space
       within which life occurs
Examples of basic geographic questions (Slater,
  – Where is it?                  – Why does it take a particular
  – Where does it occur?            form or structure that it has?
  – What is there?                – Is there regularity in its
  – Why is it there?                distribution?
  – Why is it not elsewhere?      – What is the nature of that
  – What could be there?          – Why should the spatial
  – Could it be elsewhere?          distributional pattern exhibit
  – How much is there at that       regularity?
    location?                     – Where is it in relation to
  – Why is it there rather than     others of the same kind?
    anywhere else?                – What kind of distribution does
  – How far does it extend          it make?
    already?                      – Is it found throughout the
                                  – Is it universal?
  Examples of basic geographic questions

– Where are its limits?           – Has it always been there?
– What are the nature of          – When did it first emerge or
  those limits?                     become obvious?
– Why do those limits             – How has it changed
  constrain its distribution?       spatially (through time)?
– What else is there spatially    – What factors have
  associated with that              influenced its spread?
  phenomenon?                     – Why has it spread or
– Do these things usually           diffused in this particular
  occur together in the same        way?
  places?                         – What geographic factors
– Why should they be                have constrained its
  spatially associated?             spread?
– Is it linked to other things?
                   What is research?

• Broadly:
  – Gathering information to
    answer a question that
    solves a problem
  – Helps us break free
    from ignorance,
    prejudice and the many
    half-baked ideas that are
    floating around our civil
             But we have to do it correctly!

• Write it up
   – Write to remember information or you will forget it or get it confused
           – Take notes (and references, including page numbers) when you are
             gathering information

   – Write to understand
       • to see the larger picture
           – When you arrange and rearrange your arguments, results, literature etc.,
             you are constructing a logical argument that makes sense in your mind

   – Write to test your thinking
       • Most of us believe our ideas are more compelling in the dark of our
         minds than they turn out to be in the cold light of print

                        Writing formally

• Need to learn the formal rules are writing research reports
       • The formal rules of writing research reports exist for a reason:
           – They help us to think more clearly about our own work, the work
             of others and they embody the shared values of a research
   – Hard to learn at first, but ultimately frees your mind to think in a
     greater number of ways
       • Makes your writing clearer
           – Have I evaluated my evidence?
           – Why do I think this data/argument/statistical technique is
           – What ideas have I considered but rejected and why?
           – Why did I choose this framework?
    Lyons’s not so famous tips on his own writing

• Use small words
• Write in small sentences
• Write in small paragraphs
• Generally, a paragraph contains at most 1 idea or one
  piece of an idea
• If you don’t understand what you have written, nobody
  else will either
• Think about what you are saying
     – It can sound fancy and still be nonsense!
     – Read what you have actually written, not what you think you
       have written!
           Ok, I have an idea, what do I do next!
A plan!
     Actually two plans
         1. Help prepare and conduct the research
         2. Help to write up the report

         Often no more than a skeleton structure
             Sometimes in your head

             But to begin, write it down or draw it out
                  But don’t get boxed in by your plan
                                 The plan!

• Standard types of plans
   – Pyramid form
      • Salient info. first
          – Typical journalist
      • Audit reports
          – Investors know where to
            find the relevant data
      • Scientific report
          – Introduction, literature
            review, methods,
            results, discussion,
            Who are you writing for?

– You have to know this before you begin!
   • Only have one chance
       – What you write is fixed in space

– Different audiences (different contents)
   • Entertain me!
       – General lecture or writing to a non scientific audience that are
         interested in your general topic
                • e.g., giving a talk about Texas abroad (lots of slides)
   • Help me solve a problem
       – Your talk is based on those particular facts that are relevant to
         the problem at hand
           » And are reliable and verifiable
             Who are you writing for?

– Help me understand something better than my current
       – Like interesting facts but that’s not the point
       – Like to find out new things that are practical
– Really interested in: increasing their understanding of the
       – Objective, rigorous, logical
       – Interested in your evidence and how you collected it
   • Want to see how your research improves their understanding

– Otherwise, they will eat you alive! Or simply ignore you
               Who are you writing for?

• Not always easy to judge your audience!
   – But if you are wrong, you will know it!
      • See attached pdf. from Lyons review, 2005
                         Your role

• I just want to get
  through this!
• The Prof. knows way
  more than me so my job
  is to
     • show you how many facts
       I can dig up
     • or how many pages I can
     • Until I get the grade I
                            Your role

– I found some new and
  interesting information
    • Good start
    • Enthusiastic is always a
      good start
– I found a solution to an
  important practical
    • Here are some facts that
      can help you solve your
        – Need right terminology
        – Right sources
        – Correct evidence
                           Your role

• I’ve found an answer to
  an important question
   – Goal of my work was to
     increase our (collective)
     understanding of the
     issue at hand
   – May help solve concrete
      • Applied research
      • Pure research
  From topics to questions (i.e., the hard stuff!)

• Find a topic that is doable
• Question that topic until you find a question that
  catches your interest
   – and is doable!
• Figure out what evidence you will need to support
  your answer
   – If the evidence points in this direction: then it means
   – If the evidence points in another direction: then it means
• Determine where you can find those data
                     From interest to topic

• List topics of interest to you
   – Go to the library
       • Journals, books, abstract listings (i.e., geo-abstracts)
            – Progress in human geography
            – Progress in physical geography
   – Internet
       • Google Scholar
       • Wikipedia (maybe for ideas but not a credible source)
       • Blogs (maybe for ideas, but not a credible source)

• Read strategically!
   – Skim, skim, skim…until you find a good piece of work
       • Then read a little more slowly (and take notes)

            – Ask yourself “how can this article help me develop my research proposal”
                 From interest to topic

• A topic is too broad if you can say it in four or five
   – e.g., climate change, sustainable development,
      • Conflict between economic development and green space
        preservation in Dallas
      • An analysis of pollen in the sediment of Lake Lyons over that
        last 10,000 years
      • The role of variation in land prices and the extent of urban
        sprawl in cities in the American Southwest: A case study of
                From interest to topic

– Action words (nouns derived from verbs expressing actions
  or relationships)
   •   Conflict
   •   Description
   •   Contribution
   •   Developing
   •   Changed
   •   Role of in
   •   Impact of
   •   Causes of
   •   Influence of
                  From interest to topic

• Need to develop a specific question with at least one
  of these action words
   – No specific question = no specific answer

   – What, where and how
      • Particularly how
          – How did this particular geographic phenomenon come into
          – How has this place, phenomenon changed over time
              » Role of rail transportation in emergence and growth of the U.S.
                system of cities in the 19th century
              » Role of the internet in the diffusion of branch plant
                manufacturing or financial services
               From interest to topic

– Relationship between your specific question and the wider
   • Role of rail transportation in emergence and growth of the
     U.S. system of cities in the 19th century
       – Via a case study of the Lyons railroad company expansion
         between 1850 and 1880 in the American Southwest

   • How is your topic grouped into kinds (regions)
       – What is the extent of the Mormon cultural region
           » To what extent is the Mormon cultural region expanding in
             Northern Arizona
                    From interest to topic
–   Ask questions derived from the literature
          – Need to determine what issues are being debated
          – Many articles finish with a paragraph or two on “future questions”
          – Many literature reviews will highlight areas of contention

– Evaluate your questions
     • Avoid
          – Questions that can be answered by simply looking up information on
            settled facts
                     • (did railroads have an impact on settlement hierarchy in the
                        19th century
          – Questions where the answers would be purely speculative
                     • How did 19th farmers in the southwest perceive urbanization in
                        the northeast
          – Questions where the answers are dead ends
                     • How many cats slept in barns as opposed to in farm houses in
                        19th century U.S.
             From question to significance?

• Why is your study
            – Curiosity, well ok for a start

   – 3 step process
       • Step 1. Name your topic
            – I am trying to learn about
              (working on, studying)…..

       • Step 2. Add an indirect
            – Because I want to find out

       • Step 3. Answer So what?
            – In order to help my reader
                Pure and applied research

• Pure:
   – When the solution to a problem does not bear on any practical
     situation in the world
      • Only improves the understanding of a community of researchers

• Applied:
   – When the solution to a problem has practical consequences
      • 3rd step refers to doing

      • But the relationship between step 2 (i.e., want to find out) is
        plausibly connected to step 3 (i.e., what you find out can help you
        do step 3)
       Library Visit (Sept. 15th, Wednesday)

• Willis Library
   – Room 035 (lower level)

• Go down the central stairs, walk straight to the wall
  ahead (but not into the elevator lobby),
• Turn right.
   – Keep walking
      • Room 035 will be the second one on your left.
  Ah, Lyons hated my problem statement!

– Understand that it is
   • Read my critique!!
       – (and those of your
   • Ask me questions
       – Talk to other professors
   • Start writing again
       – Break down your
         project into doable parts
   • Think about your
     organizational structure
               From Problems to Sources

• Three types of sources
      • Primary sources:
          – Collect it yourself
          – Government Data
              » Federal, state, local, COG’s (human and environmental)
      • Secondary Sources
          – Research reports that use primary data to solve research problems
              » Can use this data only if you cannot find the data in raw form (must
                source also)
      • Tertiary Sources
          – Books and general articles that synthesize and report on secondary
              » Good for beginning a topic but not for detailed specific work
                        Locating sources

• Library sources:
   – Talk to professors about where to look
      • Not just under LOC “G”
               » geography is often scattered across sociology, economics, political
                 science, geology, earth systems science, climatology etc.
      • Talk to the reference librarian
               » Not just Erin O’Toole (good start)
               » Also, reference librarians on 1st and 3rd floor (gov. docs)

   – Know what you are going to ask before you ask
               » Hard part is to ask the right question

   – Specialized reference works
               » Progress in Human Geography
               » Progress in Physical Geography
                        Search words

– Balance between too
  broad and too narrow
   • Climate and environment
   • Recycling scrap steel

   • Tips: restrict to last 10
     years if you are getting
     too much
   • Takes time!
       – How much time?
       – Until you find what you
                      Locating sources

–   Online journals
–   Prowl the stacks
–   Government documents
–   Online:
     • Only from reputable and
       known sources
         – Is the source published
           by a reputable press
         – Is it peer-reviewed and
         – Bibliographic data
         – Who sponsors the site
                         Engaging sources

• What kinds of evidence do you need?
   – Not always that clear
      • not always just one type, most disciplines will accept a variety of data
        types if presented property
               » but most disciplines like some types more than others

          – Personal beliefs, anecdotes
               » qualitative
          – Direct quotations
               » qualitative
          – Verbal accounts
               » Narratives (qualitative)
          – Fine-grained records of objects and events
               » Historical, qualitative or quantitative
      • Quantitative data
          – “hard data” i.e., data values where the numbers have real mathematical

See PG Style Sheet
                    Engaging sources

– Read important sources twice or more until you actually
  understand what they are saying
   • If you can’t repeat it in your head you don’t understand it

   • Don’t accept a claim just because authority asserts it.
       – Just because it appears in print doesn’t mean it is correct
            » e.g., Himalayan ice all be gone by 2035!

   • Beware of dueling experts
       – Academics are human too! and prone to exaggeration (especially
         when famous and arguing against equally famous (or arrogant)
       – Don’t confuse opinion for informed and thoughtful debate over
         legitimately contested ideas/theories.
                 Engaging in Debate

– Using secondary sources to find a problem
   • Use secondary sources to guide your search for evidence, models
     and arguments to respond to;
       – Read to FIND A PROBLEM

           » Look for creative agreement (much research understanding is based on
             a limited number of studies)
                 • Offer additional support (i.e., new support)
                 • Offer stronger evidence
                 • Confirm informed speculation or unsupported claims
                 • Apply a claim more widely
                 • Apply answer to new situations
                 • Show it’s true in general
                   Engaging in Debate

– Creative disagreement
   • Contradict earlier results
       – Author A says its X, your work suggests otherwise
            » (no need to be impolite here, this is a professional process)

                 • Doesn’t hold in this situation and why
                 • Author A misinterprets a piece of the evidence (and I can show
                   how), so therefore the answer is Y
                 • New evidence suggests an alternative explanation in this case
                 • An alternative theoretical framework provides a different
                   interpretation of a process
    Secondary sources and your argument

– Read secondary sources for data to use as evidence
        – But always try and check the primary sources

– You can use secondary data to support your argument but not as
    • Otherwise you are just saying “hey, this researcher agrees with me”

– You don’t have to agree with a source to use the data
    • …but you must use a secondary data source fairly and not reinterpret
      their conclusions to suit your argument

    • Don’t need every single piece of data
        – But how much data you need depends on your question
             »   Sample of 150 for a new medicine? , p=.005
             »   Sample of 150 to test agglomeration economies among high tech firms in Telecom Corridor, p=.05
                    • Which study would you have more confidence in? Significance of a
                      type 2 error!
Secondary sources and the structure of your
– For most of us, the logic of our arguments are not original
   • Based on similar arguments in the literature
       – e.g., book talks about the Alamo legend and its relationship to the
         political interests of those who created it
            » Link that to other examples of similar processes, e.g., how creators of the
              King Arthur legend
       – So you use other sources to frame the context of your argument

   • Also, Read sources for arguments to respond to
       – What competing arguments are out there in the literature
            » You don’t gain any creditability until you have acknowledged alternative
              arguments in the literature and show that you understand them and say
              why you have rejected their explanations
             Keeping track of your work

  – Author, short title, journal, page #
  – Different notes in different places
     • Very important
  – Distinguish between
     • Quotes
     • Paraphrasing and summaries
     • Your own thoughts
  – Make sure you correctly understand what the author is
  – Note where authors agree and disagree and why
                 Setting up your argument

– Gathering your supporting evidence
   • Do NOT simply list your sources chronologically
       – Or even worse randomly!

   • Principle of organization
       – Solution to your problem
       – Logic of its support

   • This is your research argument
       –   Needs to be logically organized
       –   Internally consistent
       –   Up to date
       –   Rule of 3’s
                Research argument

• Not a regular argument based on
    – Emotion
    – Trying to win or loose

• Cooperative discussion to find the best answer to an important but
  challenging question
    – Make claim not just because you believe it to be true
         » Because we are presenting new and relevant information that may
           change what people think about the topic

• At the same time
    – Readers role is to test your claims
         » Your job is to try and anticipate those alternative claims, questions and
           show why/how you have taken those claims into account
           Constructing your argument

• Make a claim
    – What is your claim

• Back it up with reasons
    – What are your reasons for making this claim

• What evidence supports your reasons
    – i.e., hard data

• Have I acknowledged alternative/complications/objections
    – How have I responded these alternatives etc.,

• What principle makes my reasons relevant to my claim (warrant)
    – Why should the reader believe you?
                       Claims and reasons

– A claim is a sentence that asserts something that may or
  may not be true
   • What is your claim?

– Base claims on Reasons
   • Reasons=because
   • Usually need more than one reason to support a contestable claim
       – Rule of 3’s
   • What are your reasons?
                   Claims and evidence

– Base reasons on evidence
   • Data (either yours or in the literature)
       – Hard data, facts
       – But remember: the data have to be relevant to the reasons

   • Each reason has its own foundation of evidence

   • Claim because reason based on evidence

   • What is your evidence?
          Acknowledgement and response

– In reality, serious readers will question every part of your
   • Need to anticipate as many of their questions as possible

   • Acknowledge and respond to the most important ones
       – In other words, are there alternative explanations
            » Why did you choose not to accept those
     Warrants: the relevance of your reasons?

– Are your reasons relevant to your claims
   • We should leave, because 2+2=4

   • We face significantly higher health care costs in Europe and North
     America claim because global warming is moving the line of hard
     freezes steadily northward reason

   • Both maybe correct but what is the connection
       – Remember here, there is a connection, but the writer hasn’t drawn out the
   • Need to offer a general principle that links both the claim and the
       – When an area has fewer hard freezes, it must pay more to combat new
         diseases carried by subtropical insects no longer killed by those freezes
    Warrants: the relevance of your reasons?

– Warrants:
   • If a general circumstance exists (lack of physical infrastructure)
     then we can infer a general consequence (an area will have greater
     difficulty achieving economic development)

   • The logic behind all warrants is that if a generalization is true, then
     so must be specific instances of it.
     Warrants: the relevance of your reasons?

– When an area has fewer hard freezes, it can expect higher
  medical costs to cope with diseases carried by subtropical
  insects that do not survive freezes warrant
– Europe and North America must thus expect higher health
  care costs main claim
– Because global warming is moving the line of extended
  hard freezes steadily north reason
– In the last 100 years, the line of hard freezes lasting more
  than two weeks has moved north at the rate of
                    Planning your draft

• When to start writing?
   – Know who your readers are
      • and why they should care about your problem
   – You can sketch out your question clearly
      • in a few sentences
   – Sketch the reasons and evidence supporting your claim
   – You know the alternatives and objections your readers are
     likely to raise
   – You can state any warrant(s) that connect your claims and
            Outlining and storyboarding

• Topic based
  – A. Introduction
  – Topic
     • Subtopic a
     • Subtopic b
  – Point based
     • Specific points and sub-points
  – Storyboard
     • Outline
         – Each main point on a separate page
             » Left blank for adding data and ideas later
                       Don’t do this!!!!

• Narrative approach
  – First I did this, then I discovered that, then I thought
    something else
     • To avoid this, highlight sentences that refer not to the results of
       your research question but to how you formulated it.
  – Do not assemble your report as a patchwork of your
  – Do not map your report directly onto the language of the
     • in this case, using the specific language of the book
                                      Do this!

• Working introduction

   – Brief summary of only the key points from those sources MOST
     relevant to your argument

   – Rephrase your question as a statement about a flaw or gap in existing

   – Sketch an answer to So what if we don’t find out
       • i.e., our understanding of issue X will be enhanced

   – State your general question at the end of the introduction
       • i.e., The purpose of this study is to:
            – specifically this study examines 3 elements of
                Road maps and signposts

• Need to tell the reader where you are going
   – this is not a mystery novel
   – Road map
      • Part one addresses …part two explores…part three investigates
   – Headings and sub-headings in the body of the text
      • linked by segue sentences
          – And it is to this issue that I now turn
               » Followed by next heading or subheading

   – Remember:
      • You will need to return to the introduction at the end
                         Key concepts

• Remember you need to identify your key concepts
  – that run through your entire report
     • Use the same language to identify your concepts throughout the
       report (e.g., AB=agglomeration benefits, agglomeration
       advantages, agglomeration economies)

  – The introduction is the first opportunity your reader gets to
    form an opinion of your research
     • If they can’t follow the introduction s/he is unlikely to read or be
       interested in the rest of the report
     • Your instructor is already deciding on B, C, D, or F
         – “A” is no longer on his mind
             Plan the body of your report

• After the introduction
   – Sketch background and define key terms

• Create a page for each major section of your report
   – maybe a separate sub-file initially
      • Write the major point that the section supports, develops or
• Find a suitable order
   – Remember just because it is clear to you doesn’t
     necessarily mean it is clear to the reader
              Plan the body of your report

• Work on each part separately
      • If an idea “pops into your head” about a part you are not working
        on, simply sketch that idea quickly in the relevant part and return to
        what you are working on
          – Don’t jump around….need to stick at the problem at hand…
               » At least until your exhausted by it
                      Organizing your parts

• Chronological
  – Can be tricky –doesn’t mean in the order that your found
    your information
     •   Short to long…simple to complex
     •   More familiar to less familiar
     •   Less contestable to more contestable
     •   More important to less important
     •   Earlier understanding to prepare for later understanding
     •   General analysis followed by specific applications
                   Organizing your parts

• For each part
   – Highlight key terms in each section and sub-section
      • Circle the terms/phrases that uniquely distinguish this section from
        other sections
   – Indicate where to put evidence, acknowledgements,
     warrants and summaries
      • Don’t have to write everything…just the key points

   – Ask yourself what have you established in this section
      • if you can’t answer that clearly, your section is NOT FOCUSED
Revising your organization and argument
                        Revising your work

• is hard
   – because we all know our work too well to read it as others will
• So, we need to think like the reader
   – begin with a sense of the whole
       • its structure and why they should read it

• So, begin by looking at
       •   overall organization
       •   then each individual part
       •   then the clarity of each sentence
       •   spelling and punctuation
            Revising the overall structure

• Readers must recognize 3 elements clearly
   – Where your introduction ends
   – Where your conclusion begins
   – What sentence in your introduction states your main point
      • Toward the end of your introduction
      • That introduces the key concepts without revealing the full point
      • This happens in your conclusion…but it is stated differently!

• Easiest way is to use headings
                 Revising your argument

• Does the structure of your argument match the
  structure of your report
   – Is each reason the point of a section
   – In each section identify everything that counts as evidence
      • All the summaries, paraphrases, quotations, facts, figures, graphs
          – If what you identify as evidence and its explanations are less than a
            1/3 or so of a section
               » You may not have enough evidence to support your reason
               » If it is much more than 1/3…maybe you have a data dump!
                  Revising your argument

• Evaluate the quality of your argument
   – What might cause readers to reject your argument?
      • Is your evidence sufficient
      • Check your data, quotations against your notes

   – Make sure your haven’t skipped intermediate sub-reasons
      • i.e., no gaps in the argument

   – What warrants have you not made but should have?

   – Does your report read less like a contest and more like a
     conversation with colleagues who have minds of their own,
     asking hard but friendly questions
     Revising the organization of your report

• Do key terms run through your whole report
   – Circle key terms in the main point

   – Circle the same terms in the body of your report

   – Underline other words related to concepts names by those
     circled terms
                       Like this!

• “As these documents show, popes Urban II and
  Gregory VII did urge the Crusades to restore the Holy
  Land to Christian Rule. But their efforts were also
  shrewd political moves to unify the Roman and Greek
  churches and to prevent the breakup of the empire
  from internal forces threatening to tear it apart.

• If readers don’t see at least one of those key terms in
  most paragraphs, they may think your report wanders
      Revising the organization of your report

• Is the beginning of each section and subsection clearly

• Does each major section begin with words that signal how that
  section related to the one before it?
   – i.e., more important, on the other hand , in addition, first

• Is the point of each section stated in a brief introduction to that

• Do terms that unify each section run through it?
   – Each section needs its own key terms to unify and uniquely distinguish
     it from the others
                 Check your paragraphs

• Each paragraph needs to stand alone
   – Not too long, not too short

   – Each paragraph should have a sentence or more introducing
      • With the key concepts that the rest of the paragraph develops
                  Back to the beginning!

• Structure of the introduction
   – Contextualizing the background
      • i.e., common ground (unproblematic account of research already
      • which we then disrupt (with a problem)
          – Here’s what you know, here’s something you don’t know.

   – Alternatives
      • Start with a problem (if the problem itself is important enough)
      • Survey flawed research (Few studies…)

      • BALANCE: Remember, write only about those sources who’s
        findings you will directly modify or evaluate
                  Statement of the problem

• Two parts
  – A condition of incomplete knowledge or understanding
  – The consequences of that condition, a more significant gap
    in understanding

  – These can be stated
     • directly
         – Little data exists on the issue of ….
     • Indirectly
         – The real issue is why…
  – BE EXPLICIT (the reader wants to know what you are
    talking about)
                Statement of the problem

• Costs and benefits
   – What cost they will pay if your RQ is not addressed
      • Applied research
          – Maybe direct: poor or incorrect information to inform decision
      • Pure research
          – Continued misunderstanding
   – What benefits will they gain if you answer your RQ
      • Applied research
          – More direct and accurate information
      • Pure research
          – Better understanding
                Statement of the problem

• Testing conditions and consequences

   – i.e., the significance of your study
      • Need to sell the significance of your work
          – Why should I care?
                Response to the problem

• Two ways:
  – State the Gist of your problem explicitly
     • We argue….
     • This proposal argues…

  – Promise a solution
     • i.e., tell the reader where your paper is headed
     • this proposal will investigate whether a ….
                       Setting the pace

• If you open
   – quickly
      • Implies your audience are peers

   – Open slowly
      • You know more than your peers

• Balance (context, problem, response)
      • If the problem is well known, you can omit the common ground

      • If the consequences of the problem are well known, omit them

• 3 parts
   – What was your main point
   – Why is it significant
   – What are you likely to find

   – Remember: you cannot simply repeat your introduction!

   – Don’t “blow-off” your conclusion…saying, enough!

      • Remember, the last impression I have of your work is your

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