Another Frustration

Speaking of student work, how can it be that college students do not know how to write a research paper?  I’m grading research projects from various courses that proceed for 1,500-2,000 words of factual assertions, quotations, and concepts and insights drawn from the reading without one footnote or endnote.  There is a bibliography but it is impossible to verify sources, check the context of facts, or understand the slant of particular arguments without reading every work in the bibliography.  How can one become a college sophomore, let alone a college senior, without at least passing familiarity with research paper requirements?  Do elementary, middle, and high schools not teach them anymore?  Where did the students who display these skills learn them?

5 thoughts on “Another Frustration”

  1. You forgot the possibility that people DO still learn them, but they fail to apply this knowledge when writing research papers. And in that case, they are either (a) also so forgetful, that they declined to remember the assignment was actually due, or (b) are just lazy and dont want to go to the trouble of citing everything. Because that would make YOUR life easier, not theirs.

  2. One of the student expectations of teachers is that we demand greatness from our teachers. If they are not willing to read every work in the bibliography, then how can we expect them to truly understand the purpose of our papers? My papers are written with such excellence that without your reading the entire trial transcript AND appeals transcripts, summarizing any aspect of the argument would ultimately hurt you more than mere words can say.

    Plus, on a paper that's worth 15% of my grade, I like to maintain a clear "30% unclear" boundary to make the professor believe that I'm even more of a master of the subject than he previously realized.

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