Record full citations for each source. It will be far more difficult to find the proper citation later than to write it down now. Your interpretation of the source: This is the most important part of note-taking.
Go ahead and take a stab at interpreting them. As historians Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Ask yourself questions about the context and significance of each source. What was the agenda behind the source? If using a secondary source: How does it speak to other scholarship in the field?
Interpreting the significance of a source: How does this source answer or complicate my guiding research questions? Does it pose new questions for my project? What are they? Does it challenge my fundamental argument? If so, how? The dread of drafting Why do we often dread drafting? We dread drafting because it requires synthesis, one of the more difficult forms of thinking and interpretation.
The technologically-oriented among us take notes using computer database programs that have built-in sorting mechanisms. Others cut and paste evidence into detailed outlines on their computer. Still others stack books, notes, and photocopies into topically-arranged piles. There is not a single right way, but this step—in some form or fashion—is essential!
Now, you need to refine those categories and sort your evidence. What are the sub-arguments of each chapter and how do they relate to my main argument?
But a senior thesis is big and potentially unwieldy. If you leave this business of argument to chance, you may end up with a tangle of ideas. See our handout on arguments and handout on thesis statements for some general advice on formulating arguments.
Divide your thesis into manageable chunks. The surest road to frustration at this stage is getting obsessed with the big picture. Yes, by all means, yes. You do need to focus on the big picture in order to get a conceptual handle on your project, but you also need to break your thesis down into manageable chunks of writing. For example, take a small stack of note cards and flesh them out on paper. Or write through one point on a chapter outline.
Those small bits of prose will add up quickly. Just start! Are you having trouble writing those first few pages of your chapter? Sometimes the introduction is the toughest place to start. You should have a rough idea of your overall argument before you begin writing one of the main chapters, but you might find it easier to start writing in the middle of a chapter of somewhere other than word one.
Grab hold where you evidence is strongest and your ideas are clearest. Keep up the momentum! Once that task is done, you can turn your attention to revising. Revising Peter Elbow, in Writing With Power, suggests that writing is difficult because it requires two conflicting tasks: creating and criticizing.
While these two tasks are intimately intertwined, the drafting stage focuses on creating, while revising requires criticizing. See our handout for some general tips on revising. There should be no bold type and no pagination on the title page, as shown on the following Gradaute School of Education title page sample. Note: Date on titlea page should reflect month and year of submission to the Office of the University Registrar.
Title Page: School of Law, J. Use upper-case letters, centered within the margins both vertically and horizontally. There should be no bold type and no pagination on the title page, as shown on the following J.
D dissertation title page sample. Title Page for D. Final Project Use upper-case letters, centered within the margins both vertically and horizontally.You should have a rough idea of your overall argument before you begin writing one of the main chapters, but you might find it easier to start writing in the middle of a chapter of somewhere other than word one. It is rare but perfectly acceptable for theses to include appendices, so make sure to discuss with your tutor whether an appendix makes sense for your project. The list should include a short title for each table but not the whole caption. Title Page: Graduate School of Education Use upper-case letters, centered within the margins both vertically and horizontally. If there are more than two authors: Nordberg et al. This is really the end of the conclusion section in a scientific paper.
You will get credit from later researchers for this. Skimming vs.
Refer to spatial and temporal variations. Could chart junk be eliminated? The following gives you one idea how to proceed.
Try keeping a small notebook handy where you jot down stray ideas that pop into your head. There should be no bold type and no pagination on the title page, as shown on the following J. Simpson and Hays cite more than double-author references by the surname of the first author followed by et al. The list should include a short title for each figure but not the whole caption.
After you have finished the recommendation section, look back at your original introduction. Both copies should be presented in a black spring-back binder.