Sophomore research paper provokes anxiety


An average sophomores google drive while enduring the research pape


There are few things more daunting than sitting in front of an online Google document, knowing a minimum of eight pages needs to be filled with original writing in a persuasive and coherent way for one’s English teacher to grade in order to graduate. As you begin to crack your knuckles, thinking about how you are possibly going to be able to meet the page requirement and get your rough draft in by the end of this week, you begin to question the research, the thesis, even the math and chemistry homework you have yet to take a look at.

Each facet of the research paper was a new sharp twist in the never-ending road, and each task was more troubling than the last. The overall process seemed to ware students down and what should have been valuable life skills, including synthesizing, conferencing with teachers and crafting an argument, turned into perpetual, anxiety-provoking tasks.

The research paper contains many different stages: finding a topic, conducting research, creating notecards and a formal outline, drafting the paper and, finally, editing and revising. While each stage flowed into the next, the cumulative time dragged on for what a student would feel like was never-ending.

Finding a topic that suited you was the single-handedly most important step. Teachers stressed we would be working with this material for a couple weeks. Not taking the comment lightly, my classmates and I chose topics that genuinely interested us and that we wanted to learn more about.
As we dove into the research, where teachers taught us about proper, advanced google searches and sifting through a variety of viewpoints and sources, we did, in fact, learn more about our respective topics. But, the tedious work then began.

Students were asked to create between 50 and 60 notecards: a google slide containing a title, a couple of tags, the article link and citation, a quote or quotes and, lastly, a paraphrased section of the quotes that were pulled. This step took about three days of in-class time and carried over into students’ homework. Aside from being time consuming, the note cards were useless when it came to actually writing the paper. My classmates and friends can attest to the fact that I did not refer to them once when writing my draft, because the most prevalent information I remembered. In order to fill in the holes of my paper, I had to do more research anyway, skipping the intermediate stage of putting the information on the card by straying away from them and using evidence directly from the source.

Because of the size of this assignment, the research for my class took an entire quarter to complete, which was draining. Since the class focused on the same topic the whole time, it became impossible to open your computer to the folder titled research paper and not roll your eyes and internally moan. I found myself getting continuously frustrated with the same material, and no change in what we were doing. What once was an exciting topic to me became boring, repetitive and seemingly old.

It would be better if the timeline on the project as a whole was cut down so students could learn the necessary skills such as pertinent research, crafting a thesis and synthesizing the information into an argument, without the process of the sophomore research paper being so tiresome, draining and, frankly, turning students away from their area of research.



Link to the opposing viewpoint…

Sophomore research paper combines enjoyable aspects, development of important skills