Not really. As a matter of fact, I completely despise research papers. This should go without saying – if ever there was a time I didn’t need a sarcasm disclaimer, now would be that time. Once in awhile, though, nothing short of “I despise X” is strong enough to describe your feelings for something, you know?
Thank God for outlines. The particular assignment I’m revising right now came with an outline from the professor. I can hardly imagine how much worse it would suck if we’d been told to pick a topic and write about it for twenty pages. Ok, I can imagine: it’d suck a lot. With the outline, writing the rough draft was unpleasant, time consuming, annoying, the usual. Tonight, after a few hours working on revisions, I’m about to settle for a low B on the final copy.
I’m sure I’ve learned some stuff from working on this paper. Most of it I could have picked up on my own thanks to the hugeness that is the Internet, but I would definitely have skipped the painful details were it not for the fact that I’ve got to write about them. My problem with the research paper concept is that we’re expected to write something original and insightful. As if after doing four hours of research I’m ready to contribute to a topic which daily employs hundreds of professional analysts and writers.
And, honestly, citations? Run my paper through your scary cheater-checker. Do your worst. If I used a direct or paraphrased quote, I cited it. If I made a conclusion – using my brain, of all things – about something, and I wrote it down, I’m not going to cite it. Why should I cite something I didn’t get from somewhere else? I can understand the mistrust, but I’m not going to spend another half hour trying to find someone who said something similar just so I can pretend that’s where I got the idea.
That’s not to mention the friggin’ References page. Find me a normal human who knows the correct format for citing a journal versus an online journal article reprint versus a Federal government press release, and I’ll find you a flying pig made out of cookie dough. If I never have to move around periods and source information (no, no, the periodical issue number goes before the publication date for this type of paper) ever again, it will be negative three days too late.