Some Questions

What is going on in the world that warrants your study?

What is the current consensus or controversy about it in your discipline?

What does your paper tell us about it?

What can be known about it without collecting new data?

What would we have expected of it if we didn’t have your data?

How did you collect your data?

What did you learn from your data?

What are the consequences for theory or practice?

The answers to these simple questions can guide your writing of a paper. In fact, if you give one paragraph to each of the first three, that’s your introduction. The rest of the questions are answered by your background, theory, methods, analysis, and discussion sections, respectively. I’ll write a bit more about this after Easter. But I didn’t want to keep the idea to myself over the long weekend. Comments and questions are welcome.

One thought on “Some Questions

  1. Love the succinct summary. This reminds me strongly of Alan Klima’s 2016 slide deck on “Inquiry-Based Outlines,” and Dr Pacheco-Vega’s blog post on two methods for making outlines [1]; Wendy Belcher has a beautiful chapter involving outlines in [2], see page 272 for Klima’s approach.
    What I like about your approach is that it generalizes beyond the topic and addresses fundamental inquiry that the science should answer.

    [2] Belcher, Writing your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks (2019)

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