How to Make a Big Research and Writing Project Totally Manageable

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October 11, 2011 

 With dozens of people filling Lee 412, Charles Shields began his presentation. Unlike many presentations, not one person left early; in fact, several students reported they had skipped class to hear Shields’ presentation.

      Shields began by giving a little background about himself and then endeared himself to the audience by recounting personal stories of his own writing woes. Shields almost immediately started delivering his pearls of wisdom with one of the first being the 1.5 rule. Shields stated his brother once told him of this rule, meaning whatever time you think it will take you to finish a project, be it writing or otherwise, it will actually take you one and a half times the amount you thought it would. With that, Shields encouraged audience members to immediately take that rule into consideration.

      Later building on this notion of the 1.5 rule, Shields stated what many writers often say: “I do some of my best work under pressure.” Shields stated these people will never move beyond the initial phases of Bloom’s Taxonomy when it comes to learning. They will remain in the areas where they regurgitate information much like a book report. Instead, by immersing ourselves in the material and allowing time for our unconscious to “cook” the material, we can move up the taxonomy by synthesizing the information and creating knowledge for ourselves. Shields stated, “Without really examining the information and creating ideas of your own, you are writing what is essentially a sixth grade book report. “

Series Schedule:

November 15: The Three C’s of Writing: Clarity, Cohesion, and Cogency

December 6: Writing Essay Responses for Finals: An Approach that Works!

January 31: Nobody Runs the Play Perfectly the First Time: Hut, Two—Revision!