Purpose: to practice the kind of exploratory, counterevidence-seeking, inductive bias-combating, problem-posing research you will need to do to be able to write Essay 4.

Task: Choose a common assumption, belief, or practice in our culture that you have genuine doubts about. Spend 1-2 hours going down the rabbit hole and seeking out as much evidence and counterevidence as you can for the belief. Be open to new ideas or questions. Be open to ideas that may seem unrelated at first, but might help you look at your topic in a new way. It’s ok to get off track or get lost a bit for this assignment.

Write up your research journey in as much detail as possible (at least 500 words). The goal is keep drilling down until you find something extraordinary or new, something truly surprising or mind-changing.

A successful practice session will…

  • Identify a common belief, assumption, or practice in our culture that you have genuine doubts about as your starting point.
  • Describe your research journey, step by step, and highlighting the important moments in your journey (write about what you searched, what you found, the most intriguing parts of what you read, what you did next, etc.).
  • Use paragraphs to mark each new stage in your research journey.
  • Spend 1-2 hours “drilling down.” It should be evident in your writing that you spent at least an hour researching (about 500 words).
  • End with an insight or question you yourself find extraordinary.

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