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.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Reflecting on the Process of My Research Paper by Noah is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

1 Comment
  1. Katie 8 months ago

    Noah, it can often be hard to do the whole, writing and getting your ideas down, thing. But based on what I’ve heard about your process, I’d say you’ve probably done a good job.

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