Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Topic: The Research Paper

10-second review: Suggests that teaching the research paper effectively means slowing down and teaching the many skills needed for research and writing the paper carefully and fully.

Title: Review of Writing From Sources. Brenda Spratt. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983, 562 pages. Reviewed by RA Eden. College Composition and Communication (May 1986), 252-253. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: We need to recognize the many skills required to complete a satisfactory research paper—formulating a thesis, revising an outline, using ellipses and brackets, underlining and annotating passages, summarizing and synthesizing sources, etc.—and teach them thoroughly. The research assignment is usually a waste of time because it is taught too hastily as the last assignment in a semester.

Comment: Well, my immediate response is that the author is absolutely right. Teaching all of the other types of writing usually meant to me that the research paper was last in the sequence and I always ran out of time in a semester’s writing course. I now think that the research paper should be a full course in itself, or at least, that a complete semester be devoted to it. RayS.

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