BEGINNING THE PROCESS
A M A N D A P H I L L I P S
E N G L I S H 6 0 2
1 5 N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 0
The “I” in I-Search represents you . You are the researcher, and the resulting paper will be the story of your discoveries .
• What did you already know?
• What did you want to learn?
• What did you do?
Story of the search
What you learned
• Your results.
• Questions you answered.
• Questions you didn’t answer.
• What did you gain from this search?
• Did this change your thoughts about research?
Choose a topic that’s relevant to your life.
What genuinely interests me?
What would I like to know more about?
What factors have the
life? on your
Family? Politics? Sex? Medicine? Economy? Food?
Media? Travel? Religion? School? Art? Technology?
List possibilities in your journal!
If it helps, use “trigger phrases”
“I’ve always wanted to know more about _____”
“I wonder how _____ relates to _____”
“In order to _____, I should understand _____”
Are any of these topics going lend themselves to research?
Am I really interested?
(If the answer is “no,” stop right there!)
Will I be able to find outside sources on this topic?
(If not, there won’t be much of a “search”)
This is a question that can’t be answered by a simple
“yes” or “no”
It should be specific and tightly focused
In fact, this question will more than likely lead to more complex questions
What is my topic?
“Autobiography. Specifically, women’s autobiography.”
Why am I interested in this topic?
“Because I like to read them. And because I am interested in the intersections between life stories, the idea of ‘Self,’ and the act of writing.”
What do I hope to learn from my research?
“I want to explore the ways in which women create identity through autobiographical depictions of self and life experience. I want to look at the ways in which women’s autobiography differs (if it DOES differ…) from men’s.”
Possible Research Question:
How does women’s autobiographical writing differ from, subvert, or uphold the standards of traditional (men’s) autobiography?
Finding a good question is only the beginning, but it’s an important step.
As you embark on your search, you may find that your question shifts and evolves. This is okay.
Track your progress.
Write everything down!
Go home and continue to generate ideas.
For next class:
1.) Come to class with a possible question that meets the criteria covered today.
2.) We will split into small groups to discuss/share ideas.
3.) Then we will talk logistics.
Adapted from “Writing an I-Search Paper” http://faculty.nwacc.edu
. Accessed 11 November