Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Term Paper / Formal Reports ... 'Tis the Season

In my lab courses the formal reports typically include a review of the literature in the introduction and an expectation that the results and discussion will include a contextual analysis based on either the selected literature in the "Suggested reading" or the results of their own literature searches. In the humanities courses that I teach I have given up trying to teach senior students how to write without plagiarizing internet sources so I have them do "naked essays" where I frogmarch them into a room with computers that have been disconnected from the internet, give them annotated bibliographies that they have prepared beforehand and tell them to write their terms papers in the next three hours. High stress, but I get essays that I know are the students own work.

That said, this link popped up on my reader today and I quite like it. I would quote from it but for some ironic reason I cannot lift the text out of the webpage ...

That brings up the annual problem of scientific quotes and referencing. For the most part, in my sub-discipline actual quotes are kinda rare. The expectation is that the writer will paraphrase the source and reference it to a general source citation listed as an endnote. It is assumed that the reader, if motivated, will read the source and find the relevant section themselves without specific guidance. The humanities students, however are forced the specifically cite each quote as page footnotes that really clutter up the page.

In any event, I liked the cut of this articles jib, I found it timely in this semester pause before the onslaught of papers.

4 comments:

Mike said...

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Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its properties, structure, composition, behavior, reactions, interactions and the changes it undergoes.

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For a while it was all about research and then it was all about teaching and now it's all about trying to find a balance while teaching at a small liberal arts and science university.