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Weaving the Major Research Question Ribbon Throughout a Research Writing Course Brenda J. Ellingboe, Ph.D. Senior Instructor, ELS Language Center, St.

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Presentation on theme: "Weaving the Major Research Question Ribbon Throughout a Research Writing Course Brenda J. Ellingboe, Ph.D. Senior Instructor, ELS Language Center, St."— Presentation transcript:

1 Weaving the Major Research Question Ribbon Throughout a Research Writing Course Brenda J. Ellingboe, Ph.D. Senior Instructor, ELS Language Center, St. Paul, Minnesota MELEd Conference – November 15, B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

2 Session Summary What is the common thread that holds a research paper together? The answer is the major research question. What is a helpful way to weave the research question throughout all aspects of a writing course, from start to finish? 2B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

3 Session summary: Using a ribbon metaphor, this session connects the major research question with 6 components: Brainstorming sub-questions that fall underneath the MRQ Reading, note-taking, and deciding what to cite from sources addressing the MRQ Converting the MRQ to a thesis statement Writing an outline with the MRQ in mind Constructing body paragraphs that address the MRQ and sub- questions Writing a conclusion to summarize the answers to the MRQ and sub-questions 3B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

4 Session objectives: 1) to inspire participants to design their own research writing course 2) to show people how to weave the major research question throughout the process 4B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

5 4 Weeks: Important Deliverables Week #1: Thinking Week Due: Topic Selection & MRQ sheet; find 7 sources Week #2: Reading and Note-taking Week Due: 24 citations, Outline, Thesis Statement Week #3: Writing Week Due: Introduction, body paragraphs, Summary and Conclusion, References Page in APA style Week #4: Paper Editing & Presentation Week Due: Final version of 7-10 page Research Paper and a 7-10 mn Oral Presentation (8-10 PowerPoint slides) 5B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

6 Teaching Guided Research Skills during a four-week session, meeting two hours per weekday: MONDAYTUESDAYWEDNESDAYTHURSDAYFRIDAY THINKING week1 st day of class Syllabus Objectives Assignments What is research? Sample Papers HW: Topic Topic selection A step: Announce your topic, start B step: Brainstorm questions in class HW: brainstorm sub-questions C step: Check-in, challenge, and Confirm MRQ; write sub-questions Repeat Wed. for new students D step: Declare MRQ as HW Library day Declare your MRQ to the librarian; find 7 sources (2 books, 2 journal articles, 2 acad. Websites, and 1 more) HW: start reading READING Week Plagiarism video Intro to APA What is direct quoting? Paraphrasing? Summarizing? Note-taking using APA with 2 books Re-visit step B: sub- questions as you do your reading HW: 8 citations due Note-taking using APA with 2 journal articles Re-visit step B: sub- q’s HW: 8 citations due Note-taking using APA with 2 acad. websites Re-visit step B: sub q’s HW: 8 citations due Write an outline w/ thesis statement based on your MRQ HW: 8 citations and revise your outline and thesis statement WRITING week Introduction para and 3 body para. Write 3 Body para.Write 3 more body para. References page, conclusion HW: finish paper EDITING day Conclusion para. Paper is due Prepare Power Point Slides: focus on most relevant findings Presentations day 1Presentations day 2Graduation Day 6B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

7 Week #1 The Thinking Week Introduction to research Opportunity to see sample topics, research Qs, and completed research papers Topic Formation and Selection Brainstorming Major Research Question and Sub-questions in small groups Declaration of the MRQ (due day 3) Library Day to find sources (day 4) 7B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

8 1 st Day Discussion Topics Student academic goals and majors Course requirements Week 1 at a glance: what is due this week? What is research? What are sources? How do we find them? What does a research paper look like? Sample papers, Sample topics 8B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

9 Homework on the 1 st day of class: Choose a topic. Sample Topics: Birth order Ocean pollution Depression in the elderly Heart failure Nutrition for athletes Childhood Obesity The Electoral College International students’ adjustment process at U.S. colleges and universities Sample Topics: Abraham Lincoln’s presidency Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Crime scene investigators Nike’s marketing strategy Coke’s marketing strategy Structural design of highway bridges U.S. recession of B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

10 The A,B,C,D’s of Question Formation (Ellingboe, 2013) “Writing the Major Research Question” A Announce D B Decide Brainstorm C Check-in (Challenge and Confirm) 10 B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

11 A = Announce your topic Arrive in class with materials (notecards, markers) Arrange room in clusters & form sm. groups of 3-4 people each Ask each student researcher to announce his/her topic in a small group setting (and students validate it by writing it on a note card) Acknowledge the student’s topic Ask the researcher a few questions to generate conversation Appreciate the group process 11 B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

12 Ask the student researcher some background questions: 1) What interests you about this topic? 2) What do you find really fascinating about it? 3) Have you read an article about it in the past? 4) Have you written an essay on it for another class? 5) Have you seen a video or listened to a lecture on it? 6) Do you have any personal connection with it? 7) What kind of value might your research paper add to our knowledge base? 12B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

13 How will your research paper add value to our academic knowledge base? 13B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

14 B = Brainstorm Questions (in small groups) Everyone participates Do not evaluate, edit, or spell-check Defer judgment; don’t dismiss any Q’s! Build on the ideas of others Be visual: use post-it notes, chart paper, markers Encourage bold, outside-the-box Q’s Go for quantity Stay focused on one topic at a time for 15mn or so suggesting question after question for only one student in your group Write down all Q’s your group suggests (Cooperrider, et al., 2008, p. 269). 14 B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

15 Brainstorming Questions for a Research Topic HOW WHY WHAT WHO WHERE HOW MUCH/ HOW MANY WHEN 15 TOPIC B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

16 Brainstorming Questions 16B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

17 C step = Check-in “How is your group doing?” “How was the brainstorming process for you today?” “Could you tell me one question that really interests you?” Choose a next step: continue brainstorming or Challenge and Confirm Consider your time constraints 17 B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

18 C step: challenge & confirm Challenge Critically think about your questions Could one of these become your major research question? Clarify your focus. Is it manageable? Is it too big? Is it too difficult? Is it too narrow? Is it interesting? Confirm Confirm your confidence in this topic and major research question. If so, celebrate! If not, craft a new topic by tomorrow! 18 B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

19 D = Decide Decide on your major research question OR Duplicate the process with a new topic Double-check the manageability of the major research question with the academic sources you have (during library day) Determine 3 to 5 sub- questions that fall neatly underneath it. Discuss the major research Q. with others Dialogue with the instructor Determine if there are sources available to answer it 19 B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

20 Sample A: Student Researcher Liberal Arts Major My major research question is: How does birth order affect personality? My 4 sub-questions are: a)What personality traits are associated with the first- born child? middle children? an only child? the youngest child? b)How does knowledge of birth order affect a person’s career choice? c)Why does birth order matter? d)How does gender and birth order affect personality? 20B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

21 Sample B: Student Researcher Business Major My Major Research Question is: How is Facebook marketing helping small businesses connect with new customers? My 4 Sub-questions are: a)How are small businesses successfully doing target marketing with FB? b)Why is e-marketing important for small business? c)What are some small business case studies that have successfully used FB marketing? d)Which FB marketing services are most popular for small business? 21B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

22 Sample C: Student Researcher BioScience Major My major research question is: How is stem cell research making advances in treating people with spinal cord injuries? My 5 sub-questions are: A)What is stem cell research? B)How does it work? C)How different are stem cells from other types of cells? D)What makes spinal cord injuries difficult to treat? E)What are the preliminary results of case studies using stem cell implantation? 22B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

23 Topic Selection & Research Question: Turn it in week #1 before going to the library Name_______________ Level _____ Date________________ 1.What is your topic? 2.What is your research question? 3.What are 3-4 sub-questions that fall neatly underneath it? a)Why b)Where c)What d)How e)How much, how many f)Who g)When 4.What are 2 to 4 keywords for searching purposes? 5.What is your tentative title? 23B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

24 Library Day: Find 2 books (paper or electronic) Find 2 peer-reviewed, full text journal articles Find 2 academic websites Find 1 more (book, journal, website, video) TOTAL: 7 sources 24B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

25 Week #2: Reading and Note-taking with the MRQ in mind 1) With the MRQ and the sub-questions in mind at all times, try to find the answers in each of the 7 sources such as: Definition of key terms Factual background of the problem 3 causes of the problem 3 solutions 2) Use critical thinking to FIND answers in the SOURCES 3) Evaluate a source using the checklist provided 25B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

26 Evaluating a Website (Belisle, 2006) AUTHORITY  Who authored the article (author, organization, editor).If there isn’t an author’s name, look for the organization name. CURRENCY  When was it written and last updated? COVERAGE  What is the focus of this website? What is included and what is not? ACCURACY  Are there references available? Are sources listed for factual data? OBJECTIVITY  Are biases clearly stated? Is it one-sided? Does it represent a point of view? RELEVANCY  Is it research or commentary? Is it primary or secondary research? Belisle, E. (2006). ELS Library Project (unpublished handout, University of St. Thomas Libraries, St. Paul, Minnesota, 26B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

27 Week #2 deliverables: 24 citations (some direct quotes, some paraphrases, some summaries, but not more than 3 long quotes) Draft outline (by Friday, week 2) Draft thesis statement (by Friday, week 2) 27B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

28 Citations: Turn in 24 during week #2 AUTHOR(s)________________________________ YEAR _______Page #________ Is this a website? ___ yes ___no Website Direct Quote___ Paraphrase____ Summary_____ 28B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

29 Key Learnings during week #2 What is plagiarism? Watch plagiarism video; discuss it in groups What is APA style? What is the correct way to cite a: – Direct quote – Paraphrase – Summary – Long quote – An older source quoted within one’s current source 29B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

30 Turning the MRQ into a well-crafted thesis statement: Write key nouns (key words, main ideas are underlined) Recall the focus of the paper (purpose)  what they do and how they must do it and why Use action verbs Research Question: What are the expectations of crime scene investigators? Thesis Statement: The methods of crime scene investigators reinforce the need to be professional, ethical, and responsible because they play an integral role in solving crimes alongside homicide detectives and other law enforcement professionals. 30B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

31 Using the MRQ to draft an outline: key details that will address the MRQ Definition of Key Terms (4) Principles of Evidence Collection, Preservation, and Documentation Preparation Evaluating Physical Evidence Depicting the Crime Scene Photographically Specific Methods of Crime Scene Investigation Work Photography – Examples – Photographer’s Background and Expertise Crime Scene Sketch – Examples – Artist’s Sketch of Crime Scene Crime Scene Search -- Methods of Searching a Crime Scene Without Disturbing Evidence – List of Items Collected Summary of the Answers to the 3 Sub-Questions 31B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

32 Week #3: The Writing Week Introduction paragraph with revised thesis statement Approximately body paragraphs for undergraduate students and for graduate students Summary of the sub-questions Conclusion paragraph focused on answering the MRQ References page Revised outline 32B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

33 Week #3 Deliverables In individual writing conferences with students every day during week #3: Revised Outline (from week #2) Revised Thesis Statement (from feedback during week #2) Introduction 3 Body Paragraphs per day Conclusion References page in APA format 33B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

34 Using the MRQ to Write Body Paragraphs: Follow the outline Start each paragraph with a topic sentence Use citations in the body paragraphs to answer the sub-questions and ultimately the MRQ Write connecting sentences in between citations and write transition sentences between sections of the paper 34B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

35 Summarizing and Concluding Restating the thesis statement Going through each sub-question and summarizing the major findings Synthesizing involves asking these questions: What are the most important points from your research? Are you effectively able to answer your major research question by weaving the ribbon throughout your paper? 35B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

36 Week #4: Paper Editing & Oral Presentation Key Deliverables: Final Research Paper (7-10 pages plus title page, outline, and references) PowerPoint Presentation of major findings (7-10 minutes, 8-12 slides) plus a Q&A session 36B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

37 Additional Items: Instructor’s Log for the Writing Week #3 Writer’s Checklist for the Student Evaluation of the Research Paper (Instructor uses to grade and gives a copy to student) Presentation Tips for the Student Evaluation of the Presentation (Instructor uses to grade and gives a copy to student) 37B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

38 References This presentation was inspired by reading parts of the following books: Booth, W.C., Colomb, G.C. & Williams, J.M. (2008). The craft of research. (3 rd ed.). Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. Cooperrider, D.L. and Whitney, D. (2005). Appreciative inquiry: A positive revolution in change. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler. Cooperrider, D.L., Whitney, D., Stavros, J.M., & Fry, R. (2008). Appreciative inquiry handbook: For leaders of change. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler. Hammond, S. A. (1998). The thin book of appreciative inquiry. (2 nd ed.). Bend, OR: Thin Book Publishing. Whitney, D., Trosten-Bloom, A. & Cooperrider, D. (2010). The power of appreciative inquiry: A practical guide to positive change. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler. 38B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

39 Cooperrider, D.L., Whitney, D., Stavros, J.M., & Fry, R. (2008). Appreciative inquiry handbook: For leaders of change. 39B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

40 Conceptual Framework #1: from Appreciative Inquiry David Cooperrider – lead researcher Field of Organization Development 1) Appreciating and valuing the present 2) Envisioning what the future might be 3) Engaging in dialogue 4) Innovating and planning 5) Focus on the positive, possibilities 40 B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

41 Booth, W.C., Colomb, G.G. & Williams, J.M. (2003). The craft of research. 2 nd ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. 41B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

42 Conceptual Framework #2: from Research Methodology The 3 authors of The Craft of Research believe every good research paper starts with a question that is worth asking. Booth, W.C., Colomb, G.G. & Williams, J.M. (2003). The craft of research. (2 nd ed.). Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. 42B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014

43 My contact information: Brenda J. Ellingboe, Ph.D., Senior Instructor, ELS Language Center SCB 118, 2115 Summit Avenue St. Paul, MN B. Ellingboe, Guided Research Skills 2014


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