Guiding Research Papers in the Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities
Although research is conducted in many different ways, and the written reporting of research comes in many different forms, there are some key similarities in the needs of students who are in the process of learning to conduct and report on research. Similarities include the following:
- Breaking a project into manageable steps — helping students concentrate on one significant part at a time as they construct a much larger whole.
- Support for learning the processes involved in the research and reporting
- Accountability to complete the processes — that is, an instructor and a research community
- Refining a question of appropriate scope for a particular assignment
- Scoping relevant literature to find out what research has been done on their question — depending on the course level, this may be their first foray into scholarly databases and literature
- Getting feedback on their work so they can develop it further
In the following pages you will find instructional materials from experienced GSIs in different fields. They reflect important differences among their fields of scholarship, as well as differences in the level of coursework. You may or may not want to segment a research assignment into the particular steps explained here, but the approaches in these assignments are meant to help both GSIs and their students appreciate all the component steps and skills that their research project will entail. Think about ways you could organize students’ work on a research assignment so they come up with the best written product they can.