Friday, November 27, 2015

"Why the 'Research Paper' Isn't Working" by Barbara Fister

Barbara Fister’s “Why the ‘Research Paper’ Isn’t Working” touches on something that gave me a very hard time when I first returned to school—citations. Until I got used to HOW I was supposed to cite things—meaning after I bought the better citation handbook by Diana Hacker—I was terrified to quote lest I did something wrong when I got to the “Works Cited” section, looming over me with all those specific rules, at the end. Fister’s love of the idea presented by Nick Carbone: “…students first learn to write using sources the way people outside academia do—drawing them into the text as journalists and essayists do” is shared by my former freshman self.  
However, had I not had to plunge forward and learn the different rules of citing, as well as the correct form of entering quotes (which had not changed very much since I was in high school—only the movement towards MLA) I would have had a terrible time as I moved into the classes where I was required to include annotated bibliographies and other more complex citations! I admit, the freshman me often skimmed the surface a little or did not include a piece that looked too threatening to cite, but again, it is a necessary evil and avoiding it completely until later might be a huge mistake. Fister’s suggestions about calling it a presentation are useful in that it makes for a more interesting approach to the assignment, and a slightly more cautious stroll into the citation arena could prove helpful to many students—even including a quick reference guide for them to follow. I had one wonderful professor who did that, after I had the Hacker book, but I know it was a life saver for many students in that class, and they kept it handy for other papers.

Practice makes everything become easier and the process, unfortunately, has to be learned. From recent experience I can attest that waiting does not make it any better.

No comments:

Post a Comment