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Making Research Relevant Quote Tracking A research project for English 103.

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1 Making Research Relevant Quote Tracking A research project for English 103

2 Concerns Student research papers tended to focus on reporting information. These report/research projects often indicated little understanding of the topic and the issues surrounding it.

3 Initial Concerns II Encouraging students to choose topics “within their areas of interest” still left many grasping for appropriate subjects and ways they might connect to it. Many students seemed uninterested in connecting to the “larger world”—events, theories, cultural phenomena outside their own spheres

4 Students often had fixed, unhappy ideas about what the research paper had to be.

5 What might help “re-create” students’ understanding of how to use research?

6 And, it would be great to help students discover how to connect to a topic they had never considered before.

7 The assignment: a quote of unknown provenance Find the source of the quote and determine the context for it. What were historical, cultural, political, economic and/or scientific circumstances that inspired the quote? What are some of the results or consequences or parallels of this situation today? What implications does the situation have today? How can you relate to this subject? (That is, do you have any opinions or insights as a result of your research?)

8 Some sample quotes “…you shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold.” “Perdicarus alive or Raisuli dead.” “Resolved, that the anthem ‘Ethiopia, Thou Land of Our Fathers,etc.’ shall be the anthem of the Negro race.” “War is mainly a continuation of politics by other means.” “Ma, ma, where’s my pa?”

9 Just a few more sample quotes “They used to tell me I was building a dream.” “…that magnificent African cake…” “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” “I propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?’ ” “They denied him even in death the normal six feet of earth.”

10 A variation Your first assignment will be to work with a listing from Harper's Index. You will need to check the source of the statistic, whether you think it is being manipulated and why, and determine a context to understand the current relevance of the topic. What are the historical, cultural, economic and/or scientific circumstances that inspired the listing in Harper's Index, and how do you think the listing should be understood? What implications or bearings does the situation have for our times? What are some of the results or consequences of this situation in the world today? How do you relate to this subject? (That is, do you have any opinions as a result of your research?) You will need to write a paper that explains the topic, analyzes information about it and develops an understanding of the issue.

11 Change since last year in federal spending to implement the No Child Left Behind Act : –$1,200,000,000 Percentage refund that Laura Bush's office sought in June for a $15.95 children's book that it bought for a TV reading : 100 Average age at which an American believes that adulthood begins : 26 Ratio of Strom Thurmond's age at his death in June to the average U.S. life expectancy in the year he was born : 2:1 Percentage of Indian college students who cite Gandhi and Hitler, respectively, as models for leaders of India : 23, 17 Some Harper’s Statistics Sept. 2003

12 Overarching Philosophy HOW TO GET SMARTER (and write a better paper) 1. Notice everything. 2. Look for questions 3. Suspect your first responses 4. Expect to become interested 5. Write all the time about what you are studying

13 Prewriting assignment Write down everything you already know about your quote. Write down what connections you see to other topics, no matter how far-fetched. Write down which of these topic threads seems like one you would most like to think about and write about. Write down 5-10 questions, from big ones (why did Britain rule India?) to small ones (what does "propinquity" mean?). Do some preliminary research around your quote and to answer a few of your questions (and be sure to write down every source you look at and a brief description of what you found there.)

14 Research Ideas to Get you Going 1. Find a poem related to the topic; 2. Find something musically-related on the topic. 3. Find something historically-oriented on your topic. 4. Find something mathematics-related on your topic. 5. Find something scientifically-related on the topic 6. Find something that is literary on your topic. 7. Find a newspaper article on your topic. 8. Find a magazine article on your topic. 9. Find some misinformation on the topic. 10. Find a Shakespearean reference on the topic. 11. Find a discussion of the topic by the U.S. Government, but not actual legislation. 12. Find some government legislation on the topic. 13. Find a graphic related to your topic. 14. Find a movie related to your topic. 15. Find a positive view of your topic. 16. Find a negative view of your topic. 17. Find a book title related to your topic. 18. Find some artwork that is related to the topic. 19. Find a whole Web site or Web page related to your topic. 20. Find a second piece of misinformation on your topic.

15 Readings A variety of essays and articles that exemplify how writers use research to create dominant impressions Early discussions range around the nature of “facts”. Readings are analyzed to expose various authorial strategies.

16 Peer Involvement: early stages Prewriting is shared in groups of up to four classmates. Students respond to other students’ topics, noting which avenues the writer is pursuing. Students may argue or point out issues they see in the embryonic paper. Students may volunteer areas the writer might explore.

17 The Draft Write your essay, doing research as necessary, and if you can, find a focus. Bring in a draft that moves from beginning to end. It may be extremely rough, but it must be an entire draft.

18 other related writings reflect on the peer discussions of their topic compare their writing/research tasks with that of one of the authors of the model readings.

19 READING ALOUD During every phase of the process, some students read from whatever writing they have. Classmates respond to what they hear. Writers may share their concerns and plans. Teacher may guide writers to see how one student’s issues may apply to their own writing

20 At this time, we look at how some of the writers we read organize their writings In small groups, each working with a different reading, we ponder the following: Can you find a structure for the essay? What kind of logic did the author use putting his essay together?

21 a detailed written critique of the draft, by a concerned classmate who has already heard about the work in various stages LATER PEER INVOLVEMENT

22 specific guidelines for revising drafts into polished, researched essays advice on how to use (or ignore) the peer critiques. Revision

23 Some Outcomes

24 Students have explored a previously unfamiliar topic, and/or connected it to something familiar.

25 By examining how other writers have used research, students begin to question and let go of arbitrary “rules” that impede academic inquiry

26 By finding parallels, relationships and implications connected to their topics, students become more confident in their research and reflective abilities.

27 By looking at their subject matter and research process as part of a linked narrative, students often write deeper, more developed essays.

28 Extensive peer involvement during each stage of the paper reinforces that research and writing do not have to be a lonely, isolated processes.


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