Step 2. Research and Reading

Start with simple sources and check the bibliography. Get a hold of the books listed. Repeat process with new books. Continue until you lose any sense of ambition.

Alternatively, you could go to the library, but don't waste time looking for information. In fact, don't even look at anything related to the Dewey Decimal System. First, find the section of the building that doesn't have movies. Then simply walk up to the smartest looking person sitting behind a desk, hand them a piece of paper with your topic written on it, and say, "help me prove this. It is for a college project." Come back an hour later when they have all your books ready. Don't worry, they're librarians, they love this shit.

For your personal thesis, I suggest studying Clair. Learn something about her past. How many beer bongs does she usually partake in? Does she have friends to help her in case the effects of the beer bong are negative? Are those rumors regarding her trip to the hospital for a stomach pump true?

The use of primary sources for this step cannot be overstated. A diary or private conversations may give you the unique view of Clair not seen by other dudes at the party. If you cannot steal an adequate supply of primary sources from her apartment, then you may be forced to rely on secondary sources, such as the opinions of her within the fraternities and sororities, bathroom scribblings, or loose campus gossip.

Step 3. Applying Research

At this point you are able to discover your "objective." You must use the information you've gained about Clair and present the facts to achieve whatever goal you have in mind. Many opinions could be argued either way. Depending on the writer's objective, an essay on scientific advancements during the 20th century could either describe the first heart transplant or the Holocaust. So, what is your objective?

Step 4. Writing

This is where you mix all the work you've done into one long, boring word document. Not only is it important to clearly present your ideas, but you must also reference all the sources you used. Chicago Reference Style should work well for you since it takes up a lot of space at the bottom of each page as well as the end of the document. Using Chicago should shave off a few pages. Based on your sources, here are some example citations.

Now all you have to do is write the damn thing. Or pay an exchange student twenty bucks to do the whole thing for you. Either way really. Well, good luck, both in your thesis and your party.

– Ian "Salmon Season" Golding (@iggolding)

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