Re: grading ourselves to death

Darlene Sybert (engds@SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU)
Fri, 6 Sep 1996 10:39:01 -0500

On Thu, 5 Sep 1996, Jeffrey R Galin wrote:
> Actaully, by mass quantities of information, I am referring more
> to 50 to 60 e-mail message a day, foraging through a host of websites
> before finding a usable site, searching through mamouth databases for
> specific information, and making something coherent out of it all. I
> personally have a particular aversion to the institutional research paper
> because it is pretty much an institutional animal that does not exist in
> most places outside of the academy: investment banking, professional
> reviews of literature, and certain investigative reporting positions are
> notable exceptions.

Except for the 50-60 e-mail messages, I think my students do the kind of
research you describe here. Even though they are researching for a short
paper, they still have to be thorouly familiar with the subject to do
well. The time that takes is one reason I encourage them to write on a
subject that will require them to read professional/academic journals in
their major field and/or a controversial subject that will affect their
"Research paper" is a convenient tag but I suspect it covers a
multitude of different kinds of writing--I know it does in my classes. It
is a valid title only because they all do "research" of some
kind--handle those reams of material in the library, on the net, and out
in the world on those dreaded (but turns out to be the most fun part of
the assignment) interviews. In the beginning, they
are intimidated by the wealth of material available and how to find a way
through it. So just learning that gives them a sense of accomplishment
and more confidence in their ability to "get through" any assignment that
comes along...which isn't a bad thing to have when you are a freshmen.

Thanks for writing to
Ms. Darlene Sybert 882-3461 884-6902
English Dept - University of Missouri, Columbia
Office - Tate Hall 6/16 TuTh 12-1:00 or by appt.
Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than the arguments
of its opposers. -William Penn