Barbara Fister, Why The Research Paper isn’t Working
- Students cannot adequately annotate sources in their first semester? I think students might not care to summarize the readings they are presented, but I think that they do have the ability. After all, what are status updates and tweets, but a short synopses of the past few minutes, hours, days, or weeks events. I refuse to accept that students who are capable of summarizing an entire event in 160 characters or less are not able to summarize academic materials
- I agree with authors statement that it is important that students are only asked to write “research papers” after they know enough about the discipline to have something to say about it. In my testing and research class for the TILL program I spent the entire semester conducting my literature review instead of developing my research question and completing my proposal which was the actual goal of the class. I obviously could not identify an area of study in the field of SLA that either needed more study, or that I felt compelled to study. Two semesters later, I am much more comfortable with current trends in SLA research as well as the early work I spent months trying to sift through in the research class.
- It’s a lot easier to become motivated to perform research when you have a vested interest in establishing a research question. My problem with traditional research papers is that by the time I spend so much time researching unsuccessfully in a certain direction, I am hesitant to reinvest more time on something better, or something I find more interesting because often I have spent so much time researching around the topic that I finally settle on that I have to simply turn something in in order to meet the deadline for the required assignment.
- I absolutely agree with the authors claim that students should be evaluated more on the content of their papers rather than how many sources they have utilized and how well they have cited those sources. Is it really necessary for each discipline to have a different set of criteria for citing sources? What’s wrong with creating a multidiscipline universal style guide? I understand that language is dynamic and changing, but honestly, it feels like we get a new edition to a new style guide every two years just to keep everyone on their toes.
Wiley, Formulaic Writing
- What is the evaluative criterion for knowing whether a student has mastered the formula and is advancing, or if they are unable to produce the formula at all?
- How do we help students develop a repertoire of writing strategies instead of a formula?
- Individualized instruction
- Co-constructed writing strategies between student and teacher/ student and their peers
One problem that I have with Wiley’s criticism of the Schaffer method is that it offers very few suggestions on how to improve upon the current model. If teachers were offered more alternative methods to the Schaffer method then maybe it would not be so universally accepted and overwhelmingly adopted. Two alternatives that the author did mention were individualized instruction and co-construction of writing strategies between students and their teachers. As a future instructor, I am more interested in research that I will directly influence my choices in the classroom. Although it is important to identify and examine what methods are not effective especially when they are so pervasive it is also necessary to provide tools for new and innovative teachers that reinforce effective teaching strategies. My guess is many instructors argue that there is not sufficient time for more individualized instruction, and as a result adopt the Schaffer method as a generic teaching and grading strategy. I would like to examine more research which offers teachers workable alternatives to the Schaffer method.