On Writing a Research Paper

June 17th, 2008

Assignment: Using a creativity strategy, analyze a problem in education and create a plan of action that will make headway with the problem.

I started this assignment with a topic in mind- undergraduate research. But I couldn’t come up with a “problem”- perhaps because I didn’t really know enough about the topic. So I started preparing for a topic that I knew a lot about, motivation in gifted students. The next day in class, we had to present our topics to the class for discussion. About a third of the way through the presentations, my mind starting whirring. I started to brainstorm about what I saw as possible problems in undergraduate research- funding, faculty support, student support, a baseline of skills needed- I thought and thought (while still paying attention to the presentations, of course) and by the time it was my turn, I was begging forgiveness, preparing to present on a topic that I had created in the last fifteen minutes or so.

So now, here I am. Fascinating topic fresh in hand, but I still know nothing about it. So, my research begins.

But how do you research research? Using the databases on the Swem website I waded through hit after hit that had both “undergraduate” and “research” as key words. (There were, well, quite a few.) Until finally I came upon one great article. And the great article had a nice literature review at the beginning. One look at the References section and I was truly off and running! One article led to another; opinion pieces, empircal research, I have it all. My ink cartridge has been newly replaced, and I am ready to go.

Now, on to the reading…


3 Responses to “On Writing a Research Paper”

  1. Gene Roche on June 17, 2008 4:49 pm

    Hi Angela,

    I’m curious about what you’re using to keep track of all those references. Do you use a bibliography program like RefWorks?

  2. Gene Roche on June 18, 2008 7:19 am

    Another valuable resource for researchers is Zotero. If you haven’t seen it it’s well worth a look.

  3. amnova on June 18, 2008 12:44 pm

    I looked at Zotero today! It’s very interesting, there is a nice video on how to use it.

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