COMPOSING AND WRITING
YOUR FINAL PROJECT
For many students, writing a final project can be a bit daunting. Where to begin? What to say and in what order to present a topic? Here are some suggestions. Use these structures and tools as background for your paper, not for the visible, tangible structure of the paper! Once you’ve clearly and very specifically asked the question you hope to answer in your paper, find your sources and read them closely. Then begin to organize what you’re learning.
The “What? So What? Now What?” Reflection Model
One often used model of reflection (in nursing and other service professions, but applicable in all sorts of other settings) is this deceptively simple but powerful set of questions. What does your research say? So what does it mean? What difference and actionable “agenda items” are pointed to by your findings? For you? For others? What should a person who has learned what your research says do more of? less of? differently? Here is a helpful source from the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Institute for Service-Learning of Kalamazoo College that discusses this model further:
“What? So What? Now What?” (PDF)
AN ANCIENT APPROACH THAT STILL WORKS: TOPOI
Topoi is a Greek word that means ”places,” that is, “places to find something,” and from which we get the English word topics. Topoi have been used since ancient times to help speakers and writers develop the content of what they want to present. There are many ancient and modern lists of topoi. Here is one modern list by the teacher of writing Jacqueline Berke, which she calls “Twenty Questions for the Writer”:
1. Definition: What does X mean?
2. Description: How may X be described?
3. Simple Analysis: What are the component parts of X?
4. Process Analysis: How is X made or done?
5. Directional Analysis: How should X be made or done?
6. Functional Analysis: What is/are the essential...
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