Down with Research Papers, Up with Essays

George Leef

That’s the argument Professor Thomas Bertonneau makes in this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call.

Research papers, he contends, merely encourage students to cobble together opinions by “research” that consists mostly of copying from several sources. Better to have students write essays, which call for their own thinking and don’t readily lend themselves to plagiarism — the topic of Bertonneau’s previous piece.

I think he is mostly correct, although in some upper-division courses with serious students, research papers are still appropriate. Whether the written assignments take the form of research papers, essays, or something else, it’s crucial that the faculty members pore over them line by line to help students learn to write well, a point made by Professor Murray Sperber in this Clarion Call.

  • Share

Most Commented

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

February 17, 2021

2.

How Many Confucius Institutes Are in the United States?

UPDATED 2/17/2021: We're keeping track of all Confucius Institutes in the United States, including those that remain open, those that closed, and those that have announced their clo...

December 22, 2020

3.

From John David to David Acevedo: Why I’m Leaving Behind My NAS Pseudonym for Good

In this piece, NAS Communications & Research Associate David Acevedo, formerly known as John David, recounts why he chose to write pseudonymously and why he has decided to go public...

Most Read

May 15, 2015

1.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

February 17, 2021

2.

How Many Confucius Institutes Are in the United States?

UPDATED 2/17/2021: We're keeping track of all Confucius Institutes in the United States, including those that remain open, those that closed, and those that have announced their clo...

March 2, 2021

3.

Tracking "Cancel Culture" in Higher Education

UPDATED 3/2/21: A repository of 128 administrators, professors, and students who have been "canceled" for expressing views deemed unacceptable by higher education ideologue...