As class, in groups or individually, students think upon topics and subject matter ripe for research. You compare notes with your colleagues and determine what avenue of study is right for you. Talk about your interests, and begin to strategize ways to complete your report. No evidence is necessary save active discussion and jotting your thoughts down in your journal.
As your ideas form, you will be ready to draft a gist statement. Shorter than an outline, a gist statement condenses the main point of a report into one sentence. A good gist statement will be dense, like a fruit cake, and descriptive enough so that the reader is left with an understanding of what the report will be all about. A good fifteen second commercial or newspaper headline does this.
For example, look at ERIC abstracts for inspiration. It’s not the same exact thing, but it comes close.
ABSTRACT: Discusses adolescent anxieties, rebelliousness, and media preferences in the 1990s, especially Hip Hop, and relates today's trends to past trends, from Sinatra to Break Dancing. Suggests classroom activities using music and music videos: analyzing fans; providing biographies, discographies, lyrics; writing reviews of albums and videos; studying the music business; writing and performing songs.
Next, your interest will fall on doing research. Find out where to go to find the information needed to finish your report. Regardless of the type of report you do, you should always, always conduct research. After all, an educated consumer is our best costumer. Make plans to go to libraries, museums, archives and the internet. Watch television programs and videos on your subject. Grill friends, amateurs and experts about your topic. Ask teachers and your parents to help you as well.
For more information on proper bibliography format, check this MLA supported site. Bedford/St Martin’s.
Many students make the mistake of completing a paper in one shot, without revising or even reading what they have written. Thus, we have the first draft. Honestly, no matter how brilliant you are, all first drafts can use a little work. Aim for completion, and submit quickly. After a few days of soul searching, you’ll be ready for the second draft.
Spend the most time on clarity of your gist statement. Most often, a student will go off topic, spending paragraph upon paragraph on a subject completely unrelated to their initial gist statement. So consider the following: One, you can rewirk your gist statement to include your new information, and then find ways of bringing the conflicting information together. Two, you can eleiminate the new, unrelated information, and reinforce your original gist statement by going into more detail. Depending on your writing style, one or the other (or many both) is possible.
After careful reworking of your report so that it makes the most sense, you are to look at your paper for spelling, grammar and continuity. It is recommended that someone other than yourself read your report, and help you in the editing process. Dyads work good for this, and groups can be especially helpful. Listen to any and all criticisms; it might make the difference between a good paper and a great paper.
Each step in the report writing process takes about one week. A good solid report will take about six weeks to complete.
Listed below are some sample report topics. Many of these topic suggestions were thought of by students. Feel free to choose one of the following models or come up with your own. Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Interview two famous artists and compare them.
- Tell a fairy tale starring celebrity personalities.
- How do I break in my career? So you wanna be an accountant/wrestler/breadmaker/movie star/cowgirl et al.
- Write a screenplay. From A Star is Born to Glitter, rags to riches has always been popular.
- Make a comic book about the music business.
- Write a biography, with a twist. Focus on an unexplored aspect of an idividual’s life or career. Consider Janet Jackson first two albums, or Tupac’s posthumous success. A interesting biography entitled Beethoven’s Hair, is a great example of “the twist.”
- Make a biographical picture book. Make sure to include at least 3 pages of text.