7-page paper offers endless topic options
As students gather various sources, such as books, newspapers, magazines and articles, they create a valid research paper. This adds another skill to their list of English aptitudes.
The time has come again for the sophomore English classes to write the much-anticipated research paper. The students have a total of five weeks to gather information on a topic of their choice and compose a paper illustrating everything they have learned.
Oftentimes, students dread research papers due to the extensive research required to complete the paper. Junior Michele Graham says the hassle of the assignment is a lingering memory.
"I really hate research papers," said Graham. "They are no fun and it takes a lot of time to search for everything you need. I did my paper on the Titanic, and it was easy because I was interested in the topic, but honestly I really don't remember a lot about the paper. I do feel the paper could have been shorter in length though. It did not prepare me at all, especially since right now we are doing a research paper on short stories."
While some student dislike research papers, others find it interesting to learn about a subject of their choice.
"I'm doing my paper on the Armenian Genocide," Rachel Dadian said. "I like the topic because I get to learn more about my culture and facts about what happened.
"I don't think the page limit is an issue because I have multiple book resources and my great grandparents ran away to Greece and then to America to escape the Genocide. I feel confident about this paper, because it is probably the first time in English where I actually have a great interest in the topic."
Sophomore English teacher Natalie Douty says the toils of the paper go beyond writing, and probe into students' ability to produce.
"I find that what makes a research paper hard is the organization," Douty said. "Students lose note cards and outlines and they don't find a variety of information for the paper. Students typically pick okay topics, but the procrastinating catches up with them. They wait until the last minute and don't necessarily find the best sources."
To help students become more interested in completing the paper, Douty lets students chose their own topic.
"If the students have some level of choice on the topic, they find it more interesting," Douty said. "Research papers are different from normal papers in which there is a wide range of personal choice, allowing the students to be more creative and chose something that is of interest to them. The element of choice helps them do better, and typically most students become excited to do the paper.
"This year there are a wide variety of topics: Brady [Lee] is doing his paper on body language and Mitch [Wiebert] is doing his on pirating. Some are also doing mental illness."
"Research papers are different from normal papers in which there is a wide range of personal choice, allowing the students to be more creative and chose something that is of interest to them. The element of choice helps them do better, and typically most students become excited to do the paper."--sophomore English teacher Natalie Douty
Even with words of encouragement from Douty, a few students are timid to complete the task at hand.
"I'm scared to write a seven-page paper," Victoria Hinds said. "Even though it is a required assignment, it will definitely prepare me for the future. My topic is on the history of skiing in Yosemite and I find this topic interesting because I love to ski at Badger Pass in Yosemite.
"It is difficult to find information about this subject because there are not a lot of books."
Despite the dread that can accompany the rite-of-passage assignment, freshman Garrett Childs says he feels ready.
"I think I will be prepared for the paper next year," Childs said. "Stobbe has taught us a lot and I also have help from my sister Morgan ['12]. Last year I did a research paper for Mrs. [Hallie] Rojeski [8th grade English teacher] and I didn't do that great, but I have become a better writer since then.
"I will definitely dread the paper next year, because I'm not the research paper type, but if I enjoy the topic than that will be good because I will know more about that topic."
The first draft of the research paper is due March 22.
For more information on writing a research paper, read the Feb. 13, 2009 article, How to: Write a research paper. For more research help, check out the the EBSCO Host data base.