I started writing my research paper with a basic structure and small number of sources in mind, but ended it with a completely different structure and over twice as many sources as my first draft. This is the most interesting and fulfilling part of my research process: I was able to revise it in a way that felt meaningful and like I was adding relevant content as I found it, not just revising because it was required. The idea itself in fact came from Reading Rhetorically, and it stuck with me because I had previously never continued to search for additional sources after completing a first draft. Doing this has taught me that the information-gathering part of writing a research paper isn’t confined to just before drafting, especially when my topic is something I read about in the news or see in other media on a near-daily basis. Overall, this essay helped me find a method to make my writing process feel more “natural” and enjoyable.
The hardest part of my writing process was actually articulating all the ideas I had in an effective manner, mostly in balancing evidence and warrants. I have an issue where I over-warrant evidence in my writing in general, making it too imprecise and difficult to read. Each of my drafts showed some variability in the total warrant-to-evidence word ratio, I was able to ask my writing group for feedback about conciseness of warrants and took out a decent amount of “fluff” based on their comments. I created a different writing style, where I have very minimal warranting for small points of evidence and more extensive warranting only on the key pieces of evidence that I really want the reader to remember. I tried to make it so that each claim had one, maybe two of these “big pieces of evidence” and that they weren’t close together in my essay. I wouldn’t say that the finished project feels “perfect” to me, but it is at least a new type of writing that I had to work in very detail-oriented manner to create. At the very least, it shows that I can make some improvements to my writing if I identify what I’m doing wrong and really go after eliminating that weakness.Tags: Okemos High School research