Should the direction of my Op-Ed drive my research or should research drive the direction of my Op-Ed?
I have been struggling with this dichotomy the past few days as I begin repurposing my old argumentative essay into an Op-Ed for The New York Times. On one hand, I know what I want to say and I feel I can find research to back such ideas. This is an example of my Op-Ed driving my research, and this is the path I initially thought I would follow. However, as I read more and more about the current state of preventative healthcare, I feel myself being pulled down more and more avenues. I have found some of these articles so fascinating that I even considered changing the argument of my paper to further the argument of the research. This is a clear example of my research driving the direction of my Op-ed. Amongst all this uncertainty I know one thing to be true: the research process is forcing me to find my own voice within the current preventative healthcare conversation.
The majority of the research I have done so far has been “popular” in nature as opposed to “traditional.” I fear traditional academic research would make my piece overly scientific and therefore uninteresting to the audience I am targeting. I have been able to find a surprising number of preventative healthcare articles in The New York Times, which is ideal. I have gained perspective on both the topic of preventative healthcare and the conventions of publication in this particular medium. These articles, while all from the same source, have displayed great diversity (the cause of my aforementioned dichotomy). While it can lead to confusion, I feel diversity in research leads to a more holistic argument and piece of writing.
I look forward to continuing the research process in the coming weeks and eventually getting my first draft written. I predict a lot of “repurposing” will be necessary to transform my original source into the Op-Ed I am hoping to write.