Despite its importance, the research paper remains an intimidating and dreaded exercise for many of our students. Teachers, too, are often overwhelmed not only by teaching research paper writing, but also by the daunting task of reviewing and responding to towering stacks of student essays.
Rutgers Riot, a painless, interactive way to teach research paper writing
To help ease the strain of the research paper assignment, we’d like to share an interactive resource with you from Rutgers State University called Rutgers Riot. This research-paper tutorial is led by a speaking avatar named Kate who uses simple language, illustrations and interactive activities to help your students:
- Select a topic by narrowing research questions and applying limiters
- Learn about sources and how to find them using databases
- Use keywords to find sources
- Learn how to cite books and journals
- Evaluate the reliability of a source
Each section includes a set of activities to reinforce the concepts in the lesson.
Users may be asked, for example, to help a student named Zach narrow his research paper topic. He needs to give a 10-minute presentation on contemporary U.S. television and although he knows he wants to focus on a specific genre of TV, he has no idea where to start. Using the information they learned from Kate, students must help him hone in on his topic so that his paper will be engaging and narrowly focused—but not so focused that he won’t be able to find enough information on it.
While using this tutorial alone won’t be enough to teach your students the intricacies of writing an academic research paper, it’s a great place to start. To find more information on teaching the research paper, stop by our blog and check out Do your students have “the moves” to write a strong thesis statement?, Strategies for Writing a Thesis Statement: Part I, and PlagTracker: A free plagiarism detector.