To jumpstart any writing project, I can find no better prompt than the Teaching TSP exercise posted by Evan Stewart on TheSocietyPages.org today. In it, Stewart, the co-graduate-editor of TSP, explains the process behind writing a “There’s Research on That!” post for the site, framing it as a classroom exercise.
I wish all my academic clients would approach writing their journal articles this way.
As a sort of “enriched outline,” writing a TROT! post for TSP means:
- Identifying your main point or angle on a topic and capturing it succinctly
- Writing down the main arguments you need to make to establish that point
- Gathering the key sources that will back up those individual arguments
- Summing it all up
This is to say, writing a TROT! post gets you about 50% of the way toward a solid paper, forcing you to briefly and intriguingly state your case, support it with the best possible research, and sum up, all in a page or less. Build on that scaffolding, and you’re nearly assured success. Just don’t forget to clean up that bibliography!