Surviving a Research Project: A Thirteen-Step Program 1. Pick a topic and start reading about it. 2. Generate one or more level-three questions on your topic. 3. Keep reading. 4. When you find material that might partially answer your question(s), photocopy it. Label it with complete citation information. At the top of the first page of the selection, briefly summarize its main idea(s) and relevance to your topic and question(s). Repeat this step many, many times. 5. When you have learned enough about your topic that you are starting to feel confused by the weight of information you have collected, stop and reflect on what you have found. Write or type some pages of commentary on your ideas. 6. Narrow and/or modify your topic and question to better reflect the information you have gathered. 7. Repeat steps 3-6 until you have to start writing your paper. (Give yourself at least two weeks to write the paper.) 8. Write down the tentative answer to your research question. This is your working thesis. 9.
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