Writing a Paper On Your Project
Drafting the Findings
"Meanings don't just happen: we make them; we find and form them." Ann Berthoff (1981). "The Making of Meaning." Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook Publishers.
Why Do Teacher-Researchers Keep a Journal?
Suggestions for Writing the Draft
Although this is research, you are a teacher. Write about what has happened to your teaching as you have been doing the research. What methods have you developed? Discarded? What have you learned that might help other teachers? What does your research imply about teaching methods?
Write as quickly as you can, but stop to sketch or doodle when you need to show something that you can't readily explain. Write past errors. Don't allow your notice of a sentence error interrupt your thinking. The order of the writing will be the order of your thoughts as you observe or reflect.
Write about what you don't know as well as what you do know. Write as if you were having a dialog with yourself, or someone else, on paper. Ask yourself questions in the writing. Compare what you are thinking about to other experiences or ideas even if the comparison seems far fetched.
Think as you write, on the paper. If you find yourself staring off into space and not writing, try to capture the daydream and slowly return with it to the paper.
In order to tell the story of your research, ask yourself these questions:
- Why not just write what you think it all means? You can add the data as you revise.
- What if you divided the paper into sections, or chapters, under different topics?
- How can you show students' behavior with data rather than value judgments? Isn't this the way you feel, rather than actual data interpretation?
- How much of your research process does your reader need to know?
- What authorial voice will you use in this report?
- Who is the intended reader?
- How about showing your draft to your students and getting their comments?
- Does the question and your findings fit together? If not, should you restate the question?
- If you really don't have a finding in part of your research, why not add it as a question for further study?
From notes given to teachers during the Teacher-Research Project, Oct. 1994 Fairfax County Public Schools led by Marian Mohr.
Hubbard, Ruth Shagoury & Power, Brenda Miller (1993). The art of classroom inquiry. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman Publishers, p.109-123.
MacLean, Marion S. & Mohr, Marian M. (1999). Teacher-Researchers at Work. Berkely, CA: National Writing Project, p. 83-90.