Research Writing

29 06 2012

I have to admit, research for writing is so much simpler in the era of Internet and portable electronic devices. I’m sure many of my middle-aged cohorts can remember the hours spent in the library surrounded by encyclopedias and stacks of nonfiction books trying to find the exact quotation needed to highlight the main arguments of a persuasive essay.

Now we go to the library “virtually.” This is actual quite convenient since I also have virtual classes. If only such a thing as virtual homework existed, it would be a perfect world.

The sad part about all of this is that many libraries are closing their doors. The younger generation has no clue how to access information at a brick library. It’s just another instance where technology is detracting from the process. Part of this process generated a love of learning and the joy of interacting with a book. Or maybe my connectedness with these tomes is freakish and unnatural.

While I’m happy to use the Internet to do my research, it’s not any easier to sift through the possibilities to find what you need. In fact, it might even be more daunting. I just typed in my search phrase “comedic archetypes” and received 152,000 results. Good grief! That would be like the librarian putting half the library on my table.

Another thing is that the Internet is open to anyone. We all know that Wikipedia might sound like an encyclopedia, but there’s not a teacher in the world that will accept Wiki as a source in your bibliography. The same can be said of blogs and many e-zines. It makes determining what might be a viable source of information a little harried at best.

Needless to say, there should be a class on using search engines on the Internet effectively. It probably needs to occur in 5th or 6th grade.  I’m sad to say, with budget constraints and increased class sizes, students graduating from high school will be lucky to have learned this skill successfully.

Since I’ve never taken this non-existent course, I need to go to work finding sources and information for my first research paper of this new term. Can’t you hear that I’m thrilled beyond imagination at the prospect?





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