Thursday, October 30, 2008

Topic: A Research Sequence

10-second review: The research sequence begins with a non-researched opinion piece and develops through a series of documented papers to the final research paper.

Title: “The Research Sequence: What To Do Before the Term Paper.” James Strickland. College Composition and Communication (May 1986), 233-236. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: The author’s “research sequence” consists of a non-researched opinion paper, a letter to the editor, proceeds through identifying dubious points, conducting research to resolve these points, formulating the thesis and writing a documented essay, conducting more research and concluding with the final researched paper.

Comment: Taking students through a sequence in research can give them a procedure, reducing the apparently complicated procedures to a series of steps. It is a sequence I would most certainly try myself first before trying it with my students.

Many of the techniques suggested in professional articles need to be tried by the teacher personally in order to learn the difficulties students might encounter unexpectedly. Another way of learning how successfully these techniques work is to set up action research in which the students become your collaborators.

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