Essential Ingredients

You need to write a memo planning out what you want to do for each element, covering everything below. You can be prepared to be flexible and change your mind as you go along, but you should have some kind of plan going in. Here are five things to include:

The Hook: You must somehow convince us that this place is worth reading about. Why would your audience care about it? Is it worth researching? Do you have an exciting details to share with us? Any quotes from a person connected to the place? Figure out how to pull in your audience. Give us a hint of the brilliant over-arching idea to come, such the environmental issue the place is connected to.
The Place: Here’s where you describe the place to someone who has never been there. Choose details that are going to be relevant to your main, over-arching idea. You will want to share your experience visiting the place. What is important about the place that you especially want to capture? You will want to include specific details, but you probably need to choose those details carefully.
The Facts: Educate your audience, giving us some background information about the place and the issue, showing your own credibility by giving us some facts, and get us interested through specific details. (You will need to cite your sources.) This part especially needs to be fact-checked.
The Pattern: Here’s where you analyze something about the place, focusing on the particular issue you care about, getting us to see some kind of pattern or making us think about the place in a new way. Here’s where your analysis of the place gives us insight into some issue.
The Thesis: At some point, you will need a statement of your brilliant over-arching idea and remind us about how it fits into the grand scheme of things.

Some guidelines for your research project.
1) Include some substantive text in each element.
2) Make each element public.
3) Analyze your audience and figure out how to cater to that audience.
4) Observe, describe, and write in specific details.
5) Sift through research and figure out what’s important.
6) Analyze something complex and describe the patterns that you see.
7) Connect your topic to some larger, over-arching theme.