College-level instructors of all disciplines often choose—and, in the case of many first-year seminars, might be required—to assign research papers. Students and instructors alike are tempted to regard the research paper as a species entirely different from other writing assignments. While the research paper introduces additional skills such as library navigation and source documentation, designing a research assignment still requires instructors to work backwards from goals and to establish a rhetorical context that addresses goals and connects the assignment to the class as a whole.
That being said, an awareness of the particular challenges students might encounter in conducting and communicating research will help us address those challenges and enhance studentsâ€™ research writing experience.
The following sections contain suggestions on guiding students through the research writing process.