Do you know what a paradigm is? It’s a little bit abstract, but it’s basically a set of thoughts and ideas that create a certain way to understand something. Sometimes in life, our paradigms shift. And often these shifts can be massive. Like when Copernicus helped people understand that the earth is not the center of the solar system but that the sun is. Or the realization that the earth is in fact, not flat: it’s a sphere (or if you want to be technical, it’s an oblate spheroid). Anyways. 

What does this have to do with research? What does this have to do with getting your homework done?

Here’s the deal: The way we view research and writing – and even information – drastically changes the way we work. And we believe that certain paradigms will help you approach your research in a better way. An easier way. And yes, even a way where you might actually learn something from your research (gasp). Other paradigms can make things harder on you. So we want you to approach researching with the right paradigms. It’ll make it more enjoyable, and it’ll help you develop the skills to navigate this absolutely crazy age of information. 

Let’s get it.

1. Have a paradigm shift regarding information and research.

2. Information is situated in conversations

3. Researching is a form of learning

Research is Learning/Learning is Research

The One Pro-tip

Now, there is one skill that, if implemented, will make your research more efficient and more rewarding. So pay attention. It’s the skill of good note taking. Here’s the logic of the process:

“To get a good paper written, you only have to rewrite a good draft;

to get a good draft written, you only have to turn a series of notes into a continuous text.

And as a series of notes is just the rearrangement of notes you already have…

all you really have to do is have a pen in your hand when you read” (74, Ahrens).

This isn’t a magic pill, but it comes close, so as you research and learn and go through sources, take notes. Take notes on what you are learning/finding interesting and take notes to help you track the sources you find. We’ll give you more tips on the best note-taking practices in future tutorials, so stay tuned, but know that taking good notes will help your researching and writing processes be much better.


Consider what you learned about research paradigms when you read the following scenario. After reading and reflecting. Write a description of what this person could do to view research with a better paradigm.

ScenarioMartin found out that he needs to write a research paper for his Writing 150 class. He worked a lot in high school and was never satisfied with the minimum wage. Now that he’s in college, it’s even harder to find a job that will provide enough money for his tuition and rent. He’s heard there are reasons why raising the minimum wage might be problematic, so he tries a few searches to learn more. Martin didn’t agree with them, so he spends most of his time searching for sources that explain how an increase in minimum wage will help individuals and the economy.