Craft of Research Series

Each spring, I hold a series of weekly talks about the research process. (Scroll down to see the 2022 program.) The talks are intended for students who are working on their year-end projects, including their master’s dissertations.

There is no required reading or preparation for these talks, but participants are encouraged to consult Wayne Booth et al.’s The Craft of Research as a kind of “textbook” for the series. If you click on the title of a talk, you will be led to a stand-alone page with some notes and resources for that session, as well as video.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Thomas Basbøll, by email.

How to Write a Research Project (Feb 3). Scholarship is a conversation among knowledgeable people. Writing a research project teaches you how to participate in that conversation, and in this talk you will learn how to identify your reader and develop an effective rhetorical posture in your prose.

How to Review the Literature (Feb 10).The scholarly literature frames your research questions and informs your thinking. When you do a literature review you are developing your understanding of the conversation that is going on among experts on your topic. This talk will help you organize your search and the results it discovers.

How to Write the Theory Section (Feb 17). Your theory section lets you shape the reader’s expectations of your object. This talk will explore some ways to build a conceptual framework or model to that end.

How to Write the Methods Section (Feb 24). In your methods section you are giving your readers insight into what you have done to collect your data so that they will trust your results. In this talk we’ll discuss how best to do that.

How to Write the Analysis (Mar 3). The analysis tells your reader what your data shows. It’s important here to distinguish between your observations and the conclusions you draw from them. This talk will help you do so.

How to Structure a Research Paper (Mar 10). A research paper should present a logical line of argument in a series of coherent paragraphs, organized into sections. For each section, you want to have a good sense of what you are trying to say and what you are basing it on. This talk will go through a standard outline that you can adapt to your own ends.

How to Write the Background Section (Mar 17). While you will generally assume that your reader is a knowledgeable peer working in your own discipline, there are often things the reader will not know about the organization, country, industry, product or practice you are studying. The background section provides this information in a helpful and documented fashion.

How to Write the Discussion (Mar 24). Your empirical conclusions will often have either theoretical or normative implications. In your discussion section, you make these consequences for theory or practice explicit.

How to Write the Introduction and Conclusion (Mar 31). A good research paper needs to have a strong introduction and conclusion to open and close your presentation.

How to Finish a Research Project or Thesis (Apr 7). As your project nears completion you want to make sure that the written product present your best arguments in the clearest light. Note: this talk is intended to help you through the last few weeks of the process, but it should not be the first time you think seriously about planning and execution.

Formatting and Referencing (Apr 21). Before submitting you’ll want to make sure that your written work meets the formal requirements of good academic writing. Note: this talk is intended to help you at the very end of the process, but it should not be the first time you think seriously about such things.