- Booth’s Craft of Research
- Bill Readings’ University in Ruins
Booth’s Craft of Research
As students are drafting papers, I like to share the following exercise from Wayne Booth’s The Craft of Research. I often use this exercise myself as I am drafting in order to make sure I understand the focus, value, and/or purpose of my own work. Booth offers a 3 part heuristic for clarifying the aims and audience of one’s research:
- I am studying X
- Because I want to find out Y
- In order to convince A to Z
- (My addition: This is important given P)
While it might seem simple at first, it pushes you to be more specific in targeting an audience and a purpose. Here’s an example for a theoretical article I am working on:
- I am studying feminist notions of listening
- Because I want to find out how they articulate its importance
- In order to convince rhetorical scholars to develop more ontological (and ethical, in Levinas’s sense of the term) notions of listening.
- This is important given our increasing political polarization and inability to engage arguments that fall out of our ideological comfort zones.
Here’s an example for a qualitative article I am working on:
- I am studying job ads for professional writers from MediaBistro
- Because I want to identify what soft, social, and technical skills employers are targeting
- In order to help influence what skills and technologies professional writing teachers integrate into their syllabi
- This is important given the decreasing enrollments in English departments spurred by student perception that liberal arts such as English will hurt their chances to get a job after graduation.
Bill Readings’ University in Ruins
Some set up:
- From the Excellent Student (Subject) to Excellence
- The Nation-State (Culture, Bildung, Isocrates’ Legacy)
- Rationality (Reason, Kant’s Legacy)
For homework, I would like you to finish drafting the first 3-4 pages of your paper (double-spaced). We will meet in the computer lab (Ross 1240) on Thursday for some peer review (which we will do via Google Docs).