How not to research essays

I’ve spent the last two days writing an essay on the ‘rhetoric of photography’. It is not my finest work. I did quite well on the last essay, but it was standard English Lit.-style compare-and-contrast stuff that doesn’t require much thought prior to writing. This one’s different, as it requires actual research. Never really had to research an essay before. It turns out reading the ‘required texts’ and appropriate chapters from a couple of other ‘recommended texts’ I quickly grabbed from the library before leaving for Christmas is not even vaguely enough work.

Yesterday’s draft didn’t go well. I had a bit of a panic this morning, but thankfully managed to salvage something workable this afternoon, and now have something that could at least be handed in. I’ve used three primary sources and have brief appearances from a couple of others. I might be able to shoe-horn in something else, but the bibliography is going to look pitiful in comparison to the recommended reading list. Oh well, at least I know now.

Obviously this is a standard line, but I am so going to be better organised this term. Most of the class were working flat-out in the week before our last project was due, and it’s just not fun. It’s been the same with two essays now. I’m determined to be on top of things over the next few months, as otherwise I might go nuts.