Breaking Research Into Manageable Parts: Linear And Non-Linear Approaches

  • Deborah Sanchez George Mason University
  • Aimee Weinstein George Mason University


Location: JC Room G

We will demonstrate how we guide students into breaking a research question down into more manageable, smaller questions. We use both a linear and non-linear approach. In the 1st approach, we ask students to write down their research question and pass it around to their classmates. Their classmates then write down questions that they have about the research question. The students then take these questions and consider them as smaller parts of the research that they need to address. We then ask students to write all of these group-generated questions on the white board, add to, delete and rearrange them in the order in which they might answer them in their research. In the 2nd approach, we ask students to create a concept map using the key concepts in their research project. We first model how to create a concept map, and then students use the white boards or chart paper to draw their concept maps. This visualization allows students to view the smaller parts of their research project and the connections between concepts. Both approaches guide students toward a more manageable version of their research project while apprenticing students into the genre of research writing in their fields.

Author Biographies

Deborah Sanchez, George Mason University

Deborah M. Sanchez is a Term Assistant Professor, English Language faculty at INTO Mason. 

Aimee Weinstein, George Mason University

INTO Mason

1:00pm-1:15pm Teaching Activity Showcase