When you move onto the next level of college writing it can be difficult to “learn something new.” Like an old dog who refuses to learn a new trick I sometimes hear: “I do not learn that way.” Unfortunately, I have no idea of how you individually learn until I see you try.
There is nothing wrong with starting a research project the same way you did when you were 8. You are curious about something. You gather some “Artifacts” to examine. You organize them in some way that is pleasing to you or makes sense to you. You make choices about which you think explain your curiosity and you set aside some you do not think fit in. But then what?
In social science we are always looking for patterns: forms of similarity and forms of difference. So there is a process we all must try to follow and yet there are also choices we must make as individual researchers.
Probably the most important thing to a “good” research paper which probably means getting a B or A as a grade is following directions. Many students get marked down because they do not follow the instructions word for word. This is frustrating for your educators because this is the framework we are trying to teach you. When you do not evidence your understanding we are not left with much choice – we have to give you a C, D or F depending on how close you were.
If you do not understand the directions you need to ask – email, set up a conference, ask a tutor, search on the internet but above all do not start down the wrong road. More importantly, you need to try. The struggle, making errors, receiving correction and feedback, is how we ALL learn.
Let’s go through each step together:
You should always start with some kind of outline. Here is the way you should START the outline for this paper.
Section Headings for your Paper:
Thesis and Theory of Social Change:
Field Research: Methods, Data, Analysis and Findings:
Significance of Cases:
Federal Rules of Evidence: Bringing a Legal Claim (Venue, Complaint, Evidence, Remedy):