When I set out to research for this paper a week ago, I had planned what I thought was a relatively simple, arguable topic: proving that an English composer during the Reformation (such as William Byrd or Thomas Morley) was a secret Catholic through their music. While there is plenty of research on this subject, I just wasn’t finding much of a personal connection or desire to write about it, even though I certainly found it interesting. However, my historically interested brain wanted to make life harder by changing my topic at the last minute. I ended up shifting my focus to the evolution of sung psalmody in England during the Reformation. That was problem number one.
After switching to this topic, I honestly wasn’t sure where I would take it or if I would even be able to find enough information on it. I just knew that it was interesting and important and I wanted to learn about it. However, I ended up finding quite a bit of material that was useful, and here ran into my second problem: I am too interested in my topic. I ended up not being able to do broad research incorporating several different perspectives because I couldn’t bring myself to skim and skip over parts of the reading, especially in one of the most authoritative books on the topic. This was frustrating, because I have pages of notes (half of which I can’t use when it actually comes to writing the paper) and no time to continue researching, but there are four awesome looking books sitting in front of me that I have barely been able to crack open. Therefore, I feel that my first draft lacks perspective. Additionally, I don’t really think it is successfully arguing my thesis, because I still haven’t figured out how to argue it. This research has potentially bogged me down with (really cool and awesome and interesting) history that has much less of a place in my final paper than it currently does in my rough draft. I am hoping that continuing the research process will allow me to strengthen my thesis and my argument so I can filter through what is relevant and necessary contextual information and what is just unnecessary, unarguable history.