Day 12: How can you distill your project into these three sentences?

This post is from the 30-day reflective writing series I made for Academic Writing Month (November 2018). For background on the series and links to all the videos, visit this page. To turn on subtitles: On a computer, hover at the bottom of the video window to make the row of icons appear; click on the “settings” icon (which looks like a cog), and select “Subtitles.” On a phone, the “subtitles” icon is in the bottom right corner of the screen.


  • The three fundamental conceptual components that we see in any research project, no matter the discipline or genre, are described by the CARS model: (1) a general description of the conversation the author is entering; (2) an identification of the gap or problem that the author sees in that conversation and plans to address in this project; and (3) the author’s assertion of how this project addresses that gap or problem. Although these three elements take different forms in different disciplines and genres, they are always present. If each of these elements can be expressed in one sentence, then the whole essence of the project can be boiled down into just three sentences.

  • If you already have a full draft of your project, use this reflection question as an opportunity to review how effectively you have communicated these three elements in the introduction and conclusion of your manuscript, and to assess whether the body of your draft is built around the contribution you have identified.

  • If you don’t yet have a draft, use the CARS model for a thought experiment today; try to come up with three sentences as an exercise in clarifying and distilling these essential components of your project.

Posted on November 11, 2018 and filed under #AcWriMo, reflection questions.