THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE RESEARCH OR WRITING

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Answer each of the following three questions in just one or two short sentences, using everyday language, such as you would use if you were chatting with your interested grandparents.

 

1.  What Do You Want to Do?

Don't waste your time trying to decide what "subject" you want to "research."  What is the question to which you want to find the answer, the puzzle you want to solve, or the proposition you want to defend or refute?  You may find yourself rethinking your question after you've tried for a while to answer it:  "I see now that what I really wanted to ask is different than I first thought."  But if your question is clear when you begin, you will be in a much better position to rethink it later on.

 

2.  Why Is It Worth Doing?

Supposing that you do answer the question, solve the puzzle, or defend or refute the proposition, so what?  Why will it matter?

 

3.  How Will You Do It?

How will you go about finding the answer to the question, the solution to the puzzle, or the defense or refutation, of the proposition?  To put it another way, how will you know when you’ve succeeded, and you can stop?