LESSON 5.13
Research Old Variable

In Variable 1, you lay a foundation for reader understanding. 

For example, the sample prompt told you to examine a person associated with a favorite activity of yours. You brainstormed for quantity not quality, graded the ideas, and prioritized the New ideas.

Let’s say that your winning subject idea was Billy Mills. We realize it wasn’t one of the possible subjects that “made the cut” when we graded and prioritized. We are working with it because it’s an excellent example for teaching.

Its variables are both New:

“New” idea: Racism against early Native American runners
“New” idea: Racism against Billy Mills

Billy Mills

Which Variable Do We Start With?

If Variable 1 is Old and the other is New, then start with the Old.

If both variables are New, then start with the earlier or more general one.

Racism against early Native American runners is earlier and more general than racism against Billy Mills. Therefore:

Variable 1: Racism against early Native American runners
Variable 2: Racism against Billy Mills

Starting Your Research

  1. Do not research only the one part of your paper you are working on. Let’s say you are working on Variable 1. Look for information for that section, but also look for information for Variable 2, Y1, and Y2.  That way, you won’t need to reread.
  2. Include Wikipedia. This often is a good place to start. (Though not for this particular sample essay.)
  3. You cannot use the Wikipedia material directly. Wikipedia is like a library. Instead, locate the little number at the end of the information you want. It corresponds with the sources at the bottom of the Wikipedia entry. Look them up.
  4. Use the Net. However, be careful what source(s) you look up. Check to see who wrote the article. What are their qualifications? People who are not experts often contribute articles. Avoid those.
  5. Use college libraries. College libraries focus on academic articles. Those are written by specialists for college students and other professionals. Academic articles can be difficult to understand, so read the abstract (summary) at the beginning to see if you can follow the ideas. In most cases, you must be a college student to use a college library. However, if your parents or teachers are taking classes, then you can use their access.
  6. Avoid using books unless they are specialized. Books tend to be general, and their information is often out of date.

Copy and Paste

You can take notes using the shopping list technique you learned about in earlier chapters. (Lesson 5.4 discusses it.)

A more efficient way to conduct research is to copy and paste. As you read an article, ask yourself, “Can I use this information in my paper? Which part of my paper does it fit? Variable 1? Variable 2? Y1? etc.”

Task 5.13.1 – Tandem or Small Group

  1. Set up a file with the following headings, one per page, plus that part’s topic:

Sources
Variable 1 – Early racism against Native American runners
Variable 2 – Billy Mills and racism
Y1 – Billy Mills and community rebuilding
Y2 – Billy Mills and Native American runners after him

  1. Copy relevant ideas and information, and paste it onto the appropriate page. Don’t worry if the text comes out chopped up.
  2. Keep a list of the sources you use. Number them. For example:

How Much Information Do You Need?

It is better to have too much information than too little.  If you have too little, you will leave out information – and earn a low grade – or you will need to reread and take notes over again.  Save time! Try to obtain a good amount of information the first time.

In general, take—

  • Ideas that summarize
  • Ideas that define, describe, or discusses the main ideas
  • Examples
  • Dates, names, places, and so on

Isn’t This Copying?

Isn’t copying plagiarizing? Yes.
Should you be copying? YES!

Many students try to take notes as they go.  That’s fine, if you use the shopping list method.  But too many students try to write as they read. But everyone gets tired. When you’re tired, you start copying, and later you do not realize what is put in your own words and what is copied. 

Instead, copy all the information. When you write the paper later, you will know that everything needs to be paraphrased.  (See Lesson 5.14.)

Getting Started

For this sample essay, we began by typing the following into our server—

Early Native American runners
Native American runners
Jim Thorpe racism

We selected the following:

  1. https://ultrarunning.com/features/destinations/in-the-beginning-native-americans/
  2. https://www.americanindianmagazine.org/story/great-iroquois-runners-lewis-deerfoot-bennett-and-tom-longboat
  3. https://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2022/0816/Jim-Thorpe-ran-track-and-played-football.-He-tried-to-outrun-racism

Notice that we do not start with a lot of sources. You’re not writing a book!  Add more sources only if you cannot find enough relevant information.

Create a Basic Organization

From our reading, we decided we would write about the following, in a chronological order:

Early Native American runners
Lewis “Deerfoot” Bennett
Tom Longboat
Jim Thorpe

Task 5.13.2 – Tandem or Small Group

Read the above articles in the folder marked “Early Native American Runners” in the folder in the “Unit II Research” folder. Note the following:

  1. The article is marked up for copying and pasting.
  2. Not all the information that could be marked is marked. You don’t need to mark everything.
  3. Examples are marked but not all the examples the article has.
  4. As we read, we mark V1 (variable 1), V2 (variable 2), Y1 (Why 1), and Y2 (Why 2).

Task 5.13.3 – Tandem or Small Group

  1. Copy the marked material.
  2. Paste it onto the page in the file you created in Task 5.13.1.
  3. Put a big #1 at the start and at the end of each source’s material.

Task 5.13.4 – Tandem or Small Group

  1. Read the other two articles. Skip X’d out parts.
  2. Copy information you need.
  3. Paste it into your file.
  4. Put a number at the start and at the end of each source’s information.
  5. Don’t worry if you do not have information for Y1 or Y2.

Alternative Task 5.13.4 – Tandem or Small Group

If you do not have access to several computers, then your teacher can photocopy the articles and give them to each group. Mark up the article with highlighters and use the shopping list method.