Chapter 9: Towards the Well-Researched Paper
The opposite of a patchwork research paper—a paper in which the writer sews together other people’s ideas to create a single work—is what we might call a “nominal research paper”: a paper in which secondary sources are shoehorned in, that is, used superficially because research is a requirement, not because they have been incorporated into the writer’s argument. To avoid both the patchwork error and the shoehorn error, you must understand how you are using your research. It is therefore useful to think of research in terms of types.
Think back to our project on Occupy Wall St.’s Facebook page. We already have our primary source: the post and comments we are examining closely in the essay. We have noticed a lot of things by close reading this source, and we have come up with a potentially solid thesis and a detailed outline. Are there any kinds of external information that might help us make our thesis even better?