how to improve the research process and how to research for a literature review and how to research for a report and how to write a research process paper
Thinking in Print
the uses of research, public and private
In this chapter, we deﬁne research, then discuss how you will beneﬁt
from learning to do it well, why we value it, and why we hope you will
learn to value it too.
Whenever you read about a scientiﬁc breakthrough or a crisis in
it, who themselves beneﬁted from the research of countless oth-
ers. When you stand in the reading room of a library to pursue
your own work, you are surrounded by centuries of research.
When you log on to the Internet, you have access to millions of
research reports. All those reports are the product of researchers
amounts of information, worked out answers and solutions, and
then shared them with the rest of us.
Teachers at all levels devote their lives to research. Govern-
ments spend billions on it, and businesses even more. Research
in caves and in outer space. It stands behind every new technol-
ogy, product, or scientiﬁc discovery—and most of the old ones.
Research is in fact the world’s biggest industry. Those who can-
not reliably do research or evaluate the research of others will
ﬁnd themselves on the sidelines in a world that increasingly de-
pends on sound ideas based on good information produced by
In fact, research reported by others, in writing, is the source
of most of what we all believe. Of your three authors, only Wil-
liams has ever set foot in Australia, but Booth and Colomb are
910 research, researchers, and readers
certain that it exists, because for a lifetime they have read about
it in reports they trust and seen it on reliable maps (and heard
about it from Williams). None of us has been to Venus, but we
believethat itishot, dry,andmountainous.Why? Becausethat’s
what we’ve read in reports we trust. Whenever we “look some-
thing up,” our research depends on the research of others. But
we can trust their research only if we can trust that they did it
carefully and reported it accurately.
1.1 WHAT IS RESEARCH?
In the broadest terms, everyone does research: we all gather in-
formation to answer a question that solves a problem. You do it
PROBLEM: You need a new head gasket for a ’65 Mustang.
RESEARCH: You call auto parts stores or get on the Internet to
see who has one in stock.
PROBLEM: You want to know where Michael Jordan was born.
RESEARCH: You go to the library and look in a biographical dic-
tionary. Or you call up Google.com and then sort through the
410,000 references to him.
PROBLEM: You want to learn more about a discovery of a new
species of tropical ﬁsh.
RESEARCH: You search the Internet for articles in newspapers
Though we all do that kind of research, we don’t all write it
up. But we do rely on those who did: the auto parts suppliers,
Jordan’s biographers, and the ﬁsh discoverers—all wrote up the
results of their research because they anticipated that one day
someone would have a question that their data would answer.
able to all of us, we would be locked in the opinions of the mo-
ment, either prisoners of what we alone experience or dupes to
everything we hear. Of course, we all want to believe that our
opinions are sound; yet mistaken ideas, even dangerous ones,Thinking in Print 11
ﬂourish because too many people accept too many opinions on
notvery goodevidence. Andthosewho acton unsoundopinions
can lead themselves, and others, to disaster. Just ask the thou-
heard so many good opinions of it from analysts and the media.
Only after Enron’s deceptive bookkeeping was exposed and ana-
on bad, sometimes even faked research.
That’s why in this book we will urge you to be amiably skepti-
cal of most of the research you read, to question it, even as you
realize how thoroughly you depend on it. Are we three authors
100 percent drop-dead certain that reports of Venus being hot,
dry, and mountainous are true? No, but we trust the researchers
lished their own results. So we’ll go on thinking that Venus is
hot and dry until other researchers report better evidence, tested
by other researchers, that shows us otherwise.
If you are reading this book because a teacher has assigned
you a research project, you might be tempted to treat it as just a
choreor anempty exercise.We hopeyou won’t.Youhave practi-
cal reasons to take the work seriously: you will learn skills that
pay off in almost any career you choose. Beyond that, your proj-
ect invites you to join the oldest and most esteemed of human
philosophers, engineers, biologists, social scientists, historians,
literary critics, linguists, theologians—the list of researchers is
Right now, you may feel that the conversation seems one-
sided, that you have to listen more than you can speak, and that
in any event you have little to contribute. That may be true for
sation that, at its best, can help you and your community free
half-baked ideas that so many charlatans try to impose on us.
The world changes every day because of research, not always for12 research, researchers, and readers
the better. But done well, research is crucial to improving every
facet of our lives. It is no exaggeration to say that your research
and your reports of it can improve perhaps not the whole world,
but at least your corner of it.
1.2 WHY WRITE IT UP?
For some of you, though, the invitation to join the conversation
of research may still seem easy to decline. If you undertake it,
ing for sound data, ﬁnding and supporting a good answer, and
then writing it all up. Even if you turn out a ﬁrst-rate report, it
And, besides, you may think, my teacher knows all about my topic.
If she just told me the answers or pointed me to the right books, I
could concentrate on learning what’s in them. What do I gain from
writing up my research, other than proving I can do it?
Here are some answers.
1.2.1 Write to Remember
Researchers write up what they ﬁnd just to remember it. A few
lucky people can retain information without recording it, but
most of us get lost when we think about what Smith found in
light of Wong’s position, and compare both to the odd data in
sources, assembling research summaries, keeping lab notes,
making outlines, and so on. What you don’t write down you are
likely to forget or, worse, to misremember. That’s why careful
writing: they write from the beginning of their project so that
they can hold as much of it in their minds as clearly as they can.
1.2.2 Write to Understand
A second reason for writing is to understand. When you arrange
and rearrange the results of your research in new ways, you dis-Thinking in Print 13
cover new connections, contrasts, complications, and implica-
tions. Even if you could hold in mind everything you found, you
tions, plot out complicated relationships, sort out disagreements
among experts. I want to use these claims from Wong, but her argu-
ment is undercut by Smith’s data. When I compare them, I see that
Smith ignores this last part of Wong’s argument. Aha If I introduce
it with this part from Brunelli, I can focus on the part of Wong’s
argument that lets me question Smith. Writing supports thinking,
not just by helping you understand better what you have found,
but by helping you ﬁnd in it larger patterns of meaning.
1.2.3 Write to Gain Perspective
The basic reason for writing, though, is to get your thoughts out
of your head and onto paper, where you can see them in the
clearer light of print, a light that is always brighter and usually
less ﬂattering. Just about all of us, students and professionals
alike, think our ideas are more coherent in the dark warmth of
our minds than they turn out to be in the cold light of day. You
improve your thinking when you encourage it with notes, out-
lines, summaries, commentary, and other forms of thinking on
paper. But you can’t know what you really can think until you
and ﬁx them in an organized, coherent form.
In short, you should write so that you can remember more ac-
curately, understand better, and see what you think more clearly.
you will read.)
1.3 WHY A FORMAL REPORT?
Even if you agree that writing is an important part of learning,
thinking, and understanding, some of you may still wonder why
you can’t write it your own way, why you must satisfy the formal
constraints imposed by a research community, particularly one
that you may not yet belong to (or even want to). The constraints
imposedbywritingforothersoftenvexstudentswhobelievethey14 research, researchers, and readers
did nothing to create. I don’t see why I should adopt language and
you just trying to turn me into an academic like yourself? If I write
as my teachers expect me to, I risk losing my own identity.
Such concerns are legitimate (students should raise them
more often). But it would be a feeble education that did not
change the “you” that you think you are, or want to be. That’s
why it is so important to choose carefully what you study and
with whom. But it would be a mistake to think that learning to
write sound research reports must threaten your true identity.
Learning to do research will not turn you into a clone of your
more ways of thinking. You may be different, but you will also
be freer to choose who you want to be and what you want to do
Perhaps the most important reason for learning to report re-
search in ways readers expect is that you learn more about your
ideas and about yourself by testing them against the standards
than writing for yourself. By the time you ﬁx your ideas in writ-
ing, they are so familiar to you that you need help to see them
not for what you want them to be but for what they really are.
You reach that end only by imagining, and then meeting, the
between you and your readers—what we like to call a rhetorical
That’s why traditional forms and plans are more than empty
vessels into which you pour your ﬁndings. Those forms have
evolved to help writers see their ideas in the brighter light of
their readers’ expectations and understanding. You will under-
stand your own work better when you explicitly try to antici-
pate your readers’ questions: How have you evaluated your evi-
dence? Why do you think it is relevant? How do your claims add
up? What ideas have you considered but rejected? How can youThinking in Print 15
respond to your readers’ predictable questions, reservations, and ob-
jections? All researchers can recall a moment when writing to
meet their readers’ expectations revealed a ﬂaw or a blunder, or
even a great opportunity that escaped them in a ﬁrst draft writ-
ten for themselves.
Traditional forms embody the shared practices and values of
only of that community but of each of its members. Whatever
community you join, you’ll be expected to show that you under-
stand its practices by reporting your research in ways that have
evolved to communicate it. Once you know the standard forms,
you’ll have a better idea about your particular community’s pre-
dictable questions and understand better what its members care
about, and why. But what counts as good work is the same in all
of them, regardless of whether it is in the academic world or the
the kind of research you will do later.
Writing a research report is, ﬁnally, thinking in print, but think-
ing from the point of view of your readers. When you write with
others in mind, you give your ideas the critical attention they
need and deserve. You disentangle them from your memories
for others can be more careful, more sustained, more attuned to
those with different views—more thoughtful—than just about
any other kind of thinking.
You can, of course, choose the less demanding path: do just
enough to satisfy your teacher. This book can help you do that.
But you will shortchange yourself if you do. If instead you ﬁnd
rewards your efforts in ﬁnding it. Nothing contributes more to
a successful research project than your commitment to it.16 research, researchers, and readers
We wish we could tell you how to balance your belief in the
of teachers and colleagues, but we cannot. If you believe in what
all you can do is put your head down and press on. With our
Some of the world’s most important research has been done by
those who persevered in the face of indifference or even hostility,
because they never lost faith in their vision. The geneticist Barbara
McClintock struggled for years unappreciated because her re-
search community considered her work uninteresting. But she be-
lieved in it and pressed on. When her colleagues ﬁnally realized
that she had already answered questions that they were just start-
ing to ask, she won science’s highest honor, the Nobel Prize.chapter two
Connecting with Your Reader
(re)creating your self and your audience
Your research counts for little if no one reads it. Yet even experienced
researchers sometimes forget to keep their readers in mind as they plan
and draft. In this chapter we show you how to think about readers as
you begin your research. We also explain one of the best ways to antici-
pate how readers will respond—working in collaboration with others.
Most of the important things we do, we do with others. Some
students think that research is different: they imagine a solitary
is more ﬁlled with voices than a library or lab. Even when you
work alone, you silently converse with others when you read a
mation, you renew a relationship between writers and readers
that may be centuries old. And when you report your own re-
search, you can hope that other voices will respond to yours, so
that you can in turn respond to them. And so it goes.
But conversation is a social activity. Both sides have to under-
stand what each expects of the other, what “social role” each is
is in writing and among professional colleagues.
2.1 CREATING ROLES FOR WRITERS AND READERS
When we talk with others in person, we judge them by how well
they play the roles expected of them: do they listen carefully,
make claims thoughtfully, answer questions directly? It’s the
same when you read: Hmmm, Abrams is modest but not careful
1718 research, researchers, and readers
versation, these judgments go both ways: readers judge a writer,
but a thoughtful writer has in advance also judged her readers,
by imagining who they are, what they are like, what they know,
what they need and want. And then she uses that judgment to
shape what she writes.
she was addressing readers with different levels of knowledge
about the chemistry of heart muscles. So she imagined herself
in very different relationships with them:
1a. The control of cardiac irregularity by calcium blockers can
best be explained through an understanding of the calcium acti-
vation of muscle groups. The regulatory proteins actin, myosin,
tropomyosin, and troponin make up the sarcomere, the basic
unit of muscle contraction.
1b. Cardiac irregularity occurs when the heart muscle contracts
uncontrollably. When a muscle contracts, it uses calcium, so we
can control cardiac irregularity with drugs called calcium block-
ers. To understand how they work, it is ﬁrst necessary to under-
stand how calcium inﬂuences muscle contraction. The basic unit
of muscle contraction is the sarcomere. It consists of four pro-
teins that regulate contraction: they are actin, myosin, tropomyo-
sin, and troponin.
In (1a) the writer seems to cast herself and her readers in the
herself as the patient expert, slowly explaining a complicated is-
sue. If she judged correctly, her readers will judge her favorably.
But when a writer miscasts readers, she can lose their trust and
often their willingness to read. Had she switched audiences for
those passages, the nonexpert would likely think (1a) indifferent
to his needs and her expert colleagues would judge (1b) to be
condescendingly simpleminded.Connecting with Your Reader 19
In fact, writers cannot avoid creating a role for their readers.
That’s why, in writing this book, we tried to imagine you—what
about it. We cast you in a role, created a persona for you that we
in our own persona, talking to the “you” that we imagined you
would be willing to be. That was not easy, because there are so
many “you’s” out there, all different.We hoped to speak as com-
as to those well into your careers. Only you can judge how well
we’ve managed to talk to and with all of you.
readers are so important that they are worth thinking about well
take will leave in your early drafts so many traces that you won’t
easily ﬁx them in the ﬁnal one.
2.2 CREATING A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR READER: YOUR ROLE
Few people read research reports just for fun. So you have to
know what you can offer readers to create a relationship that
makesthem wanttoread yourreport.Beginning researcherstoo
often offer a relationship that caricatures a bad classroom ex-
change: Teacher, I know so much less than you, who will give me a
grade. So my role is to show you how much information I dug up,
and yours is to decide whether I’ve found enough. That’s a big mis-
take. Not only does it demean both you and your teacher, but it
makes your project just one long, pointless drill. Worst of all, it
casts you in a role exactly opposite to that of a true researcher.
In a research report, you have to reverse the roles of teacher
andstudent. Asaresearcher, youhaveto adopttheroleofsome-
as someone who doesn’t know but needs to. That will be easier
if you ﬁnd a research question that you want to answer and your
teacher can’t, without your help. (In fact, your teacher is likely
to know less than you about your speciﬁc question.) But even if20 research, researchers, and readers
not, you have to step into the kind of relationship researchers
have with their readers, one that goes beyond Here are the facts
I’ve dug up about medieval Tibetan weaving. Did I get them right?
So your ﬁrst step in establishing a sound research relationship
with readers is to offer them more than a collection of known
facts. There are three such offers that experienced researchers
typically make; the third is most common in academic research.
As you begin, imagine that you will offer and your readers will
accept one of the three following relationships, but most likely
2.2.1 I’ve Found Something Really Interesting
You take a step beyond mere data-grubbing when you can say to
weaving that I think is really interesting. If you have learned some-
thing that interests you and you can demonstrate that interest in
your report, that’s the best start you can make in learning to do
sound research. In an introductory writing course, the interest
you seem to take in your work will roughly predict the interest
your teacher will take in it.
Ideally, of course, you want her to be as interested in Tibetan
weaving as you are, and if you are in a class in Asian art, she
may be. But even if not, you still have to cast yourself in the role
of someone who has found something interesting, maybe even
new and important, at least to yourself, and to cast your reader
in the role of someone equally interested. As you become more
experienced,you’ll alsoberesponsiblefor actuallyﬁnding anau-
dience who shares those interests. But at the start, you must at
least ﬁnd a role for yourself that shows your own interest, even
enthusiasm for what you’ve found.
2.2.2 I’ve Found a Solution to a Practical Problem Important to You
You take a bigger step toward focused research when you can
imagine saying to readers not just I have information that might
interest you, but My information will help you solve a problem you
care about. That is the kind of research that people in business,Connecting with Your Reader 21
commerce, and government do every day. They confront prob-
lems whose solutions require research, ﬁrst just to understand
them, and then to ﬁgure out how to solve them, problems rang-
ing from homelessness to falling proﬁts to terrorism.
To help you learn that role, teachers sometimes invent “real
world” scenarios: an environmental science professor might as-
tal Protection Agency on what to do about cleaning up toxins in
a local lake. In this scenario you are not a student dumping data
on a teacher, but someone who must play the role of a scientist
giving practical, pragmatic advice to someone who needs it. To
make your report credible, you have to play the role of a dispas-
sionate expert, able to use the right terminology, cite the right
sources, ﬁnd and present hard evidence, and so on. But most of
shapes your role: to advise a reader about what he must do to
solve his problem. That kind of research report is common in
the world at large, but is much less common in the academic
world than the following one.
2.2.3 I’ve Found an Answer to a Question Important to You
someone who answers questions so that a research community
can simply understand its area of special interest better. Others
might later use those answers to solve a practical problem—an
arcane discovery about the distribution of prime numbers, for
example, helped cryptologists design an unbreakable code. But
lem, but a conceptual one, one deﬁned by incomplete knowledge
or ﬂawed understanding. Some researchers call this “pure” as
opposed to “applied” research.
Teachers occasionally invent “real world” scenarios based on
dren’s intellectual growth. But more typically they expect you to22 research, researchers, and readers
imagine yourself as what you are learning to be—a researcher
who can address an academic research community interested in
a question that its members want to understand better. Your re-
port on medieval Tibetan weaving, for example, might help ex-
medieval Tibetan art inﬂuenced modern Chinese art.
2.3 CREATING THE OTHER HALF OF THE RELATIONSHIP:
THE READER’S ROLE
When you adopt one of those three roles, you create one half of
the relationship between you and your readers. You create the
other half when you write in a way that casts your readers in a
complementary role, one giving them a speciﬁc reason to read
your report. To do that, you have to imagine them as the kind of
readers who expect you to do what you in fact intend to do. In
creating those roles, you offer your readers a social contract: I’ll
do my part if you do yours. If you cast them in a role that they
accept, but then you create one for yourself that doesn’t match,
offer them a role they are unwilling to adopt, you are likely to
lose them entirely.
For example, suppose you are a researcher who is an expert
on blimps and zeppelins. You have been invited to share your
sons for wanting to know what you know.
2.3.1 Entertain Me with Something Interesting I Didn’t Know
Imagine that the ﬁrst group that has invited you to speak is the
local Zeppelin Club. Its members are fascinated with zeppelins,
ordinary folk who have made zeppelins their hobby. You decide
describing a trip on a zeppelin in 1936, and you pass around
some photographs and menus he saved.
In planning that report, you judge that not much is at stakeConnecting with Your Reader 23
in it other than a diverting hour of zeppelin lore. If so, you fulﬁll
your side of the bargain when you tell them something about
zeppelins that is new and interesting to them, even unsubstanti-
ated folklore—and you don’t bring along overheads, data tables,
or footnotes to substantiate your sources. Your audience fulﬁlls
its role by listening with interest, maybe by sharing their own
anecdotes. You don’t expect them to challenge the authenticity
of the letter or the menu or ask skeptical questions about how
the photos andmenus should change their widerunderstanding
of the social history of zeppelins.
Zeppelin Club—eager to hear any information new to them.
While that sometimes works for experts who ﬁnd the right audi-
ence (see the box below), it rarely works for students learning to
do and report research. Your teachers assign you research proj-
ects to see not just what you can ﬁnd, but what you can make
2.3.2 Help Me Solve a Practical Problem
Now imagine that you have been invited to meet with the public
relations department of Hotair.com. They suffer from low name
recognition and want to use a blimp to get their logo before the
public, ﬂying it at sporting events, outdoor concerts, and other
large gatherings. But they don’t know whether that’s a practical
solution. So they have hired you asa consultant to tellthem how
much it will cost, how many days the weather is good enough to
ﬂy, and so on. For this group, you won’t mention what Great-
UncleOtto hadfordinner onhiszeppelin ﬂightin1936. Tosuc-
ceed in this relationship, you mustoffer them a solution to their
problem and only those facts that back it up.
That is the kind of situation you are likely to face if you have
ios for a “real world” writing assignment—you are an environ-
mental scientist advising the state EPA about the polluted lake.
butconceptualonesarefarmorecommon,eveninapplieddisci-24 research, researchers, and readers
plines like engineering. So pose a practical problem only if your
teacher has created a speciﬁc scenario for one or you have
checked with her ﬁrst. (We’ll discuss practical problems in more
detail in the next chapter.)
2.3.3 Help Me Understand Something Better
ing as, say, your departments of English or physics). They study
ics and aerodynamics, and participate in a worldwide conversa-
tion about their cultural history and social signiﬁcance. They
nals and books read by everyone in their ﬁeld.
These scholars have invited you to talk about your specialty:
transatlantic zeppelin ﬂights in the late 1930s. They don’t want
you just to amuse them (though they will be happy if you do) or
to help them do something (though they would be pleased to
learn how to get consulting work with Hotair.com). What they
most want is for you to tell them something they don’t know
about zeppelins, not just for its own sake, but so that they can
better understand something new about them.
Because these lighter-than-air scholars are interested in the
tive, rigorously logical, faithful to the evidence, able to see every
ward and during cocktails after that, not just to be contentious
or even nasty (though some will be), but to get as close as they
can to the Truth about zeppelins. If you offer something new,
standing of the topic. And to be sure they’re the real thing, they
Moreimportant,theywilltakeaninterestinthosemenusonlyConnecting with Your Reader 25
to their understanding of zeppelins, especially if you can con-
vince them that they do not understand something about zeppe-
lins as well as they thought. If you don’t, they will ask you the
So you begin your talk:
As we all have been led to believe by a number of studies on the
food service on transatlantic zeppelin ﬂights in the 1930s (espe-
cially Schmidt 1986 and Kloepfer 1998), shellﬁsh and other
highly perishable items were never served because of fears re-
garding health. However, I have recently discovered a menu
from the July 12, 1936, crossing of the Hindenburg indicating that
oysters were served at dinner. . . .
That is the kind of conversation you join when you report re-
search to a community of scholars, whether lighter-than-air or
not. When you enter into this relationship with them, you must
imagine them having this conversation with you in their minds:
Never mind whether your style is graceful (though I will admire your
work more if it is); don’t bother me with amusing anecdotes about
your great-uncle Otto (though I like hearing them if they help me
understand your ideas better); ignore whether what you know will
make me rich (though I would be happy if it did). Just tell me some-
thing that I don’t know so that I can better understand the topic of
our common interest.
this third role, they will think you have fulﬁlled your side of the
bargain only when you meet their expectations and answer their
questions, only when you treat them as who they think they are.
To be sure, the faculty over in chemistry or philosophy probably
won’t care much about your views on zeppelins, much less their
meal service. Who cares about the trivia they study over in the
est in theirissues, either. You are concernedwith your particular
communityofreaders,withtheirparticularinterestsandexpecta-26 research, researchers, and readers
tions. The trick is to get your research community to recognize
and accept not only the role you’ve adopted for yourself, but the
what kinds of roles they are willing to play. Several of the follow-
ing chapters show you how to do that.
Who Cares about That?
Academic researchers are regularly chided for their esoteric inter-
ests. That charge is usually unfair, but some researchers do seem
to have a blinkered fascination with narrow objects of study. Wil-
liams once attended the dissertation defense of a Ph.D. candidate
who had discovered reels and reels of silent ﬁlm shot by European
anthropologistsin AfricaandAsiain theearlypart ofthetwentieth
century. No one had known that those ﬁlms existed. These new
data fascinated most of the examiners, ﬁlm scholars who never
questioned their worth. But when Williams asked, “But how does
this discovery improve or even correct our understanding of mov-
ies then or now?” the candidate had no answer. She merely de-
scribed again the speciﬁc content of the ﬁlms, concluding, “And
ars, on the other hand, were untroubled, because they, no doubt,
were already thinking about how the footage might change their
thinking about early ﬁlm. Besides, they all love the movies. So
But if that candidate hopes to write a research report that gets
anyone but a small group of specialists to care about her work,
she will have to make an offer better than Here’s some new stuff.
2.4 WRITING IN GROUPS
One of the best ways to see how the reader-writer relationship
works in person is to share your writing in an organized group.
critical of its collective work than any individual can. Moreover, a
working alone. So if your teacher does not set up writing groups,
ask her to consider doing so. Or form a group on your own. AtConnecting with Your Reader 27
the least, recruit some friends to respond to your drafts as surro-
gate readers. (If you are trapped into working entirely alone, skip
to 2.5, p. 30.)
2.4.1 Three Keys for Working Together Successfully
TALK A LOT. Create conditions that get you talking a lot. Set
regular meeting times, share e-mail addresses and fax numbers:
do what you can to ensure that you talk regularly. At your ﬁrst
meeting, work on telling your “elevator story”—how you would
describe your project to a stranger in an elevator as it goes from
the ﬁrst to the twentieth ﬂoor. It should describe your question
or problem, the kind of claim you expect to offer, and the kind
of evidence that supports it. Practice your elevator story at every
meeting (even with outside friends), until you can explain your
will ﬁnd the next two chapters particularly useful for this.)
You should also talk about your intended readers. What do
they know already, what is important to them, what do you want
them to do with your report? Use our checklists to share ideas
your group talks together, the better you will write together. You
will need to talk less if (like the three of us) you have already
worked together and can anticipate how the others think. Yet in
writing this book, we three still made scores of phone calls, ex-
changed hundreds of e-mail messages, and sat together a dozen
times (sometimes traveling hundreds of miles to do so).
AGREE TO DISAGREE. Don’t expect to agree 100 percent on
every issue. You will differ over particulars, sometimes heatedly.
if everyone is explicit about what each believes and why. On the
other hand, nothing impedes progress more than someone’s in-
sisting on his wording or on including only her data. If the ﬁrst
rule of writing in a group is to talk a lot, the second is to keep
disagreements in perspective. When you disagree over minor is-
sues with little impact on the whole, forget it.