Phase A—Overall Vision


“I can convey who I want to influence or affect concerning what (Subject, Audience, Purpose).”

Tools and Processes (introduced in this phase)

Governing Question and Paragraph Overview of project
Dialogue around Written Work
One-on-One Session
Models from the Past
Sharing of Written Work

Remember: For terms in Bold Face or Capitalised, you can find more detail in the separate entries of Part 2, Tools and Processes, unless the term refers to another Phase, in which case consult this series of entries.


Remember: The tools and processes introduced under each phase are organized in relation to fourteen sessions. These could be weeks in a semester-long course or fractions of the total time available for the project.

In session 1
Think-Pair-Share on:
  • your area of interest
  • the specific case(s) you plan to consider
  • the more general statement of the problem or issue beyond the specific case
  • how you became concerned about this case or area
  • what you want to know about this case or area by the end of the semester
  • what action you think someone should be taking on this issue (specify who)
  • what obstacles you foresee and what help you might need in doing the research
  • who the audience for your research report might be

  • Initial formulation of Governing Question and Paragraph Overview for the proposed project. Do not expect to digest everything in the descriptions of Governing Question and Paragraph Overview right away. Over time you will develop a better idea of these tools by revising in response to comments, that is, through Dialogue around Written Work. Indeed, the point is not to have your project defined at the very start and then to stick with that, but to begin an ongoing, iterative process of defining and refining the project. Eventually you can home in on a well-considered question and statement that guides your work and priorities as you move ahead and guides the feedback others give you on your work. A key part of homing in is making clear to yourself and readers the subject, audience and purpose of your project: Who you want to reach? What you want to convey to them? Why do you want to address them about that?

    Sharing of Written Work: Read your question and paragraph to the group to hear how it sounds shared out loud with others.

    After session 1
    Freewriting: Try this out for ten minutes at least a few times a week. Perhaps it may become a valued Creative Habit that you continue throughout any project.

    One-on-One Session: Discuss your ideas with an advisor (or instructor) in a scheduled face-to-face or phone meeting early on in the project—by session 5 at the latest.

    Models from the Past: Review reports from related projects in the past to get a sense of their scope and the look of the final products.

    Sharing of Written Work: Keep sharing your written work with peers. Indeed, sharing runs through the entire process of research and writing.

    Begin Phase B. Finding out what others have done that connects with your proposed project usually leads you to refine your own sense of subject, audience, and purpose.

    By session 3
    In Dialogue around Written Work you get comments from your advisor and respond to them. Through this, you will generate revised versions of your Governing Question and Paragraph Overview of the project.

    Follow up

    Iterative Development: Your topic will change or be more focused as time goes on, so, with each new Phase, take stock of that and start subsequent submissions and any work you share with the latest revision of your Governing Question and Paragraph Overview. Trying to write a tighter overview will also help to expose shifts, gaps, and ambiguities in your project. The Paragraph Overview may, after several revisions, find its way into the introduction of your report and the Governing Question may, somewhat shortened, be reflected in your report's title. Shifts, gaps, and ambiguities also get exposed and explored through Dialogue around Written Work, Sharing of Written Work, and One-on-One Sessions with advisors. These processes should continue throughout the Phases of Research and Engagement.

    Begin Phase J, Taking Stock of your process, which includes progress towards the goals of the Phases as well as the goals of developing as a Reflective Practitioner. Continue taking stock throughout the project so as to feed back into your learning, into your learning about learning, and into your advisor's (instructor's) learning about how their advisees (students) learn.