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The research paper, the three words almost every college student absolutely hates hearing. When those words are in that exact order it scares people and drives chills down their spines. The reason why the research paper has earned the ‘cringe worthy’ award is probably because it is a daunting task to perform. When people hear research paper they picture what that looks like in their heads. Typically, people imagine that they must pick a thesis that could be backed up by five or six different credible sources. Which is a correct way to write a paper, but it is not the only way to write a paper. In my own experience and in Ballenger’s Theories of Intelligence essay and Fister’s article “Why the Research Paper isn’t Working”, we are taught a certain way to write a research paper citing sources to every single comma otherwise it is considered plagiarism. While citing sources is important to both the reader and writer, it should not inhibit the writer’s ability to write. The MLA and APA format is complicated and continues to evolve making it difficult to keep up with all the requirements. And for some reason, many professors only focus on the grammar, citing and word count instead of what the paper portrays or argues. They take the less important steps like finalization more seriously than the first steps like thesis and structure. Obviously, these aspects must be included in the paper so there is consistency and it is recognized as a research paper. But the paper should not be limited only to what it is today. As long as the student puts in effort and work into a paper and does actually research whether it is through first hand or second hand information, that should be enough to qualify as a research paper. View More »

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