Writing the I-Search, Part One

You will get a PILE of I-Search materials once the new semester begins, but here are the instructions for writing Part One, which will be due the SECOND CLASS MEETING of the new semester, so that, when we start researching, you’ve already thought about what you want to research.

Writing the I-Search: Part One

You should start writing Part One of the I-Search. (Before you do, it might be a good idea to speak with me or email me, so that I could help you think about whether your topic will work as an I-Search paper). Here’s what it should cover, in no particular order:

1. As complete a description of your topic as you can make at this point, including

  • a list of questions you hope to be able to answer by the end of your research
  • an explanation of the opposing views you expect to find  in your topic
  • a plan for how you will go about identifying someone to interview

2. An account of your present state of knowledge and thinking on your topic, including

  • what you know already, in some detail
  • what theories and opinions you already have about the subject including your sense of what you expect you’ll find out

3. An account of your personal and intellectual connection to the topic, including

  • why you are interested in this topic and the “history” of your interest
  • what you hope to gain personally by studying this subject
  • why knowledge of this topic will be valuable and important to you
  • people that you know who connect you to this topic
  • experiences you have had which connect you to this topic
  • things that you’ve read or seen which connect you to this topic

4. A note with the signature of a parent or guardian, indicating that they have read your draft & approve of your topic.

Naturally some of you will have more to write in part one, depending on how much you already know and have experienced with this topic. But no one should have a problem meeting the minimum word length. If you do, you just haven’t given enough reflection yet to what you expect to learn from your research and why you find it interesting and important.

One purpose of part one is to insure that you’ve done some real thinking about your topic before you get very deep into your research. Another is to give you something to measure your success against when you’re all through: did you accomplish what you set out to do? But research often takes us in strange directions, so don’t be alarmed if you find you’ve moved away from your original intentions as you’ve gotten further into your subject.

Must be typed and proofread; minimum 200 words.


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