quot on going down the rabbit hole quot practice session

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: Review the chapter in Habits, “On Going Down the Rabbit Hole” and do the Researching Practice Session on pages 77-78.

A successful practice session will…

  • Take the search words “Ellen Dissanayake” 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 an hour “drilling down.” It should be evident in your writing that you spent an hour researching (about 500 words).
  • End with an insight or question you yourself find extraordinary.


Type the words Ellen Dissanayake into the Googole search engine. Press return.

Everyone who does this at the same time will get the same results. We can call this “ordinary research.” If you click on the Wikipedia enrey for Dissanayke, you’ll find yourself on a page that provides a thumbnail sketch of the author and her work. Again, in gaining this foothold on Dissanayake’s work, you’ll be doing what an ordinary researcher starting out would do.

it’s what you do next that matters. Chooes one of Dissanayake’s works that you find online and read it.

Your next task is no make your research into this researcher of the extraor dinarry extraordinary.(We composed that last sentence with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in mind.) Set aside at least an hour for exploratory research. Begin by choosing a phrase, a quotation, a reference, or a footnote from the Dissanayake work you read and doing another Google search. Read two or more of the recommended links. Then choose a phrase, a quotation, a refenerence, or a footnote from the second set of works and do another Google search. Repeat. Repeat. And repeat again, until you’ve burrowed down to an insight or a question that you yourself find extraordinary.


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