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My Copy of The Curious Researcher Introduction
Transcript of My Copy of The Curious Researcher Introduction
Rethinking the Research Paper Pick one of the statements below that you think most students would think true about research papers and then “fastwrite” for three minutes about whether you think it is true or false. It's ok to say things the instructor might disagree with
You need to follow a formal structure
You have to know your thesis before you start
You have to be objective
You can't use the pronoun "I"
You can use your own observations and experiences as evidence
The information should come mostly from books
You have to say something original
You're always supposed to make an argument
You can use your own writing voice
Summarizing what is known about the topic is most important
You're writing mostly for the instructor
You're supposed to use your own opinions
The paper won't be revised substantially
Forms matters more than content Why do we hate research papers so much? Unlearning Rushing: If you try to rush through the research and the writing, you're absolutely guaranteed to hate the experience and add this assignment to the many research papers in the garbage dump of your memory. It's also much more likely that the paper won't be very good. Unlearning is required: Sometimes we have to go back and re-examine (or unlearn) the things we think we know because we let our prior knoweldge dictate out continued learning on a subject. Starting with Purpose Your paper has to be more purposeful than simply reporting everything you know about a topic. It needs to be about something you care about, have wondered, want others to know, etc. You need to argue a point, explore
a thesis, answer a question, etc. Your curiosity should be at the heart of your paper. Where do the facts fit in? Reports provide facts; papers provide facts in order to analyze and draw conclusions. “The purpose of research writing is not simply to show readers what you know. It’s an effort to extend a conversation about a topic that is ongoing, a conversation that includes voices of people who have already spoken, often in different contexts and perhaps never together. The research writer begins with his own questions, and then finds the voices that speak to them. He then writes about what others have helped him to understand.” Thinking like an academic writer Inquiry is driven by questions not answers. New knowledge or perspectives are made when the writer assumes two seemingly contradictory roles: believer and doubter. Writer’s take responsibility for their ideas, accepting both the credit and the consequences. Authority All research papers attempt to be authoritative. They rely on other credible sources to shape the writer’s point of view. By researching, you will become a sort of expert on your subject. The Big Picture The research essay is driven by questions, works towards a controlling idea or thesis, involves the willingness to suspend judgment, and attempts to build on the ideas of others to extend one's own thinking. Report VS. Paper While the essay can be personal - possibly growing from your experience - it attempts to say something larger; it is an effort to comment on "our" experience, and uses research to help enrich those understandings. Demonstrating knowledge is not nearly as impressive as using it toward some end. Researchers must suspend judgment and even tolerate some confusion. You do research because you want to discover what you think.