Freewriting on my research question

Throughout the course of Research Literacies Unit, Jack asked us to do free writing on a number of occasions. At first, I was sceptical about its merit due to my apprehension of unplanned, unresearched and unrefined gobblygook that will result from it. Murray (2011) lists uses of freewriting  in p.108 of her book, How to Write a Thesis and some of them include ” To write in short bursts, to get into the ‘writing habit’, to clarify your thoughts, …To increase confidence in your writing” and just two of the free writing activities I did in class demonstrate how my thoughts on my own research seemed to be flowing somewhat aimlessly at first but not without insights that I didn’t know I had. That is exactly what she says:

“These questions might be a useful set of prompts for short bursts of freewriting. This could help you to work out what you think, where you are at and what you think your supervisor is doing before you go into the discussion. You could also free write about the different interpretations you can make of the feedback and the different revisions they might lead to. This would also be an interesting talking or emailing, point for dialogue with supervisors. Use freewriting to start any new piece of writing arising from their comments ” (Murray 2011:98).

The first one was a response to the question about my research question. My research question is how a pedagogically more effective teaching program can improve student interpreters’ sight translation skills for optimal training as community interpreter. More specifically,

  • Researchers who have looked at this subject are not many due to long neglect of the topic either because its importance as a stand alone skill is undervalued 9assumed knowledge or skill) or because it is simply never explored.
  • They argue that no real research has been done on this and people are not aware how critical it is to interpreter training and I agree based on my initial literature review.
  • Debate centres in the issue of lack of training/resources which are not shared by institutions – not many books around on it , so I must make at least a passing  reference to this!
  • There is still work to be done on what really constitutes as an effective sight translation skill and how it can be taught.
  • My research is closest to that of  “well, I don’t know really yet” in that  I haven’t found anything really substantial that seems close to mine. So this question worries me.
  • My contribution will be to come up with a teaching program or a group of teaching methodologies with clearly defined skill sets that can be taught immediately. I hope to be able to write some sort of workbooks for classroom use.

The nex question I free wrote about was “How has your project changed since you started the M.Res?

  • Well, it hasn’t changed much since I haven’t had a chance to sit down and go through my question methodically and thoroughly despite ongoing and increasingly powerful stimulation to do so. My question really needs changing because a significant part of my research hinges on a possible opportunity to carry out my experiments at a certain institution, i.e. TAFE  and the course (Adv Dip) which are now defunct! Without independent variables, I am not sure how I can carry out experiments and collect reliable data.  Qualitative methods may be then viable alternatives. Admitting my project is bound to change, I am not sure yet how it should change and what then can fill any gaps.

Doing freewriting without “the internal editor “(Murray 2011:105) that I had to deliberately silence was quite  liberating . I am quite sure that freewriting will become a regular feature of my research work, having witnessed its merits first-hand.




Murray, R. (2011). How to write a thesis (3rd ed. ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.