Abstraction

  • Name Topic. Take One Step of Abstraction – from looking at YOUR project, YOUR memory – YOUR Memoir — to looking at your type of project.  Your category of project, idea, etc?
  • Say it out loud: 20 Second Stories.
    • Say it – badly. What aspect of your topic/project would you work on if you had the money and the exclusive time to dig into it?
    • Hear it back from a fellow student. What of what you said stuck with them. Take that to heart.
    • Write It Down.
    • Say it again – better. Hear it back/write it down. (What changed?)
  • Research that abstract topic. Google. Wikipedia.
    • What did you find?
    • Note how it helped you refine your topic. You learned vocabulary, framing, names of experts, etc. This dialectic will continue: Articulate your topic. Explain it. Refine it. Research – use research to refine topic. Restart research. Repeat.
    • What is the story of your search – what search terms? How did you refine your search? How did it refine your topic?
  • Then – JSTOR. EbscoHost. Etc.
    • What specialized vocabulary do professionals in that field use to talk about it?
    • List 5 articles you have found: Author, Title, Journal or Book Title, Publisher, Date! Use Stable URL to link them. Must be post 1990!
    • Choose one challenging JSTOR article to gut – Note: To be able to gut a paper is the crucial skill in research. You’re not just reading it through from start to finish – you want the meat! Here’s how you gut an article:
      • Who is the author? What else have they written? Well-received? Google ‘em! Where are they now? Do others cite them? To agree? Disagree?
      • What are the main points of the paper to you? (relevant to your work!). (Note: If it helps you, download topic to Adobe Acrobat, translate it into text – google it if you don’t know how – and search for key terms.)
      • Strip Mine the Footnotes: Go find 5 of the articles listed in the footnotes most relevant to you. List them – with Stable URLs. Annotate in a few sentences: Annotate means — explain why you chose them.