TROT! Your Enriched Outline

Art once on display @commonroots
Art once on display @commonroots

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:

  1. Identifying your main point or angle on a topic and capturing it succinctly
  2. Writing down the main arguments you need to make to establish that point
  3. Gathering the key sources that will back up those individual arguments
  4. 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!