Making Research Relevant Quote Tracking A research project for English 103 Concerns • Student research papers tended to focus on reporting information. • These report/research.

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Transcript Making Research Relevant Quote Tracking A research project for English 103 Concerns • Student research papers tended to focus on reporting information. • These report/research.

Making Research Relevant
Quote Tracking
A research project for English 103
• 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.
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
Students often had fixed, unhappy ideas about what
the research paper had to be.
What might help “re-create”
students’ understanding of how to
use research?
And, it
would be
great to
how to
connect to
a topic
they had
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?)
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?”
Just a few more sample quotes
• “They used to tell me I was building a
• “…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.”
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
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
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.
Some Harper’s Statistics Sept. 2003
•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
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
Prewriting assignment
• Write down everything you already know about your
• 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.)
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
8. Find a magazine article on your
9. Find some misinformation on the
10. Find a Shakespearean reference on
the topic.
11. Find a discussion of the topic by the
U.S. Government, but not actual
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
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.
• 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
Peer Involvement: early stages
• Prewriting is shared in groups of up to four
• 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
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.
other related writings
• reflect on the peer
discussions of their
• compare their
writing/research tasks
with that of one of the
authors of the model
• During every phase of
the process, some
students read from
whatever writing they
• 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
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
• Can you find a structure
for the essay?
• What kind of logic did
the author use putting
his essay together?
a detailed written critique of the
draft, by a concerned classmate
who has already heard about
the work in various stages
•specific guidelines for revising
drafts into polished, researched
•advice on how to use (or
ignore) the peer critiques.
•Some Outcomes
• Students have explored a previously
unfamiliar topic, and/or connected it to
something familiar.
• By examining how other writers
have used research, students
begin to question and let go of
arbitrary “rules” that impede
academic inquiry
• By finding parallels, relationships
and implications connected to their
topics, students become more
confident in their research and
reflective abilities.
• By looking at their subject matter
and research process as part of a
linked narrative, students often
write deeper, more developed
• Extensive peer involvement during
each stage of the paper reinforces that
research and writing do not have to be
a lonely, isolated processes.