This semester really opened my eyes to what academic writing and research really is. Back in the day, I would look at my assigned topic that I really didn’t care much about, look up some articles regarding the issue, then take pieces of each article and put them into a paper. . My idea of the process of research has evolved in the past 16 weeks in the fact that I now see that I don’t have to rely on the other research articles I find. This semester I went from basically summarizing old research to analyzing this research and using it as a resource to aid my own thoughts on the subject. I also learned that the “so what” of a paper is one of the most important parts when trying to get through to your audience.
One big idea that I took away from this semester is that it’s my job as a student to add to the ever-growing research world. Yes, it seems like a scary place, but once you’re there, it’s not so bad. As our class looked at what “counts” as research, I learned that although numbers are great, interviews work just as well in the academic world. For example, even though I’m not going to a field like chemistry in which it seems easier to conduct quantitative studies, the education field offers many opportunities for qualitative research if that’s what I choose to do. As I explore what I want to study for my Capstone project, I have realized that I don’t need to have conduct experiments in order to do research. Also, conducting research isn’t as hard as it sounds; I simple survey or interview can reveal so much about a topic. This took a big weight off my shoulders!
At SCREE, I got to talk with many students both in and out of my discipline and listen to them explain their research and what they found. From them, I learned that some research can be conceptual, almost like common sense, but connecting ideas across different articles is an important aspect of research. They provided insight on how to approach the project in the fact that they took a big topic, and narrowed it by finding an issue. Also, I talked with one student in which their research just created more questions, and that’s okay. The biggest lesson I learned is that usually there is no one answer, and the question I choose to ask will most likely create more questions.
As I continue my education and work towards my Capstone I have a few goals for myself: 1. Find something I’m passionate about (I think I’m on the right track because of this class) 2. Be creative 3. Don’t get stressed. Throughout this class, one of the key ideas that has been ingrained into my head is that academic writing is a conversation, and through my research, I am adding to it. As a writer, I need to keep in mind my audience and anticipate any questions they may have and address them. This class has been very beneficial to my idea of what is expected of me in regards to academic writing and was actually very enjoyable due to the fact that I got to write about issues that pertained directly to my passion.