The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Try A Little

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Whenever I assign a research paper, I have my students submit an annotated bibliography about a month into the project. I do this for two reasons. One, I want to see if they can properly document sources using MLA or APA. Second, I want to see what sources they are reviewing. I limit the number of Internet sources (www stuff). I want them to look at databases and other sources instead of just googling.

Two of my students in my law class asked me if they could change their topic. In a whiny voice, the claimed that they couldn't find anything. I asked them if they looked in the usual places, like the school's library and other database sources. They said they did but all they found was a bunch of stuff about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Um, that is the whole crux of the case they are researching.

I told them that I would look at their bibliographies and get back to them. I went back to my office and did a quick 10 minute search on the school library's database. Sure enough, I found 13 journal articles on Lexis Academic, five of which had detailed information about their case. None were redundant. And of course, none of those articles were cited in their bibliographies.

I also noticed that one of the students did not even cite the case itself. Seems to me that the actual case would be one of the first things I would look to in starting a project like this.

So, I sent them an email telling them that I am not going to allow them to change their topic. I suggested a few places to look without telling them what they may find.

The truth is, I think they are just afraid to try. Why is it that so many students just want to give up so easily? It seems like so many of my students, past and present, seem to back down from anything that is remotely difficult. They want everything to be easy or take the least amount of work to do. I could see if they really put some effort into the research, but in this case, it seems like they just looked at a couple of books on the library shelf and stuff they could find in a Google search.

I have a saying. If you are going to do something, don't do it half-assed. Use your whole ass.


righteous babe said...

Ladies and gents, I present to you the quote of the day "Use your whole ass."

Thank you

RageyOne said...

ha! love your saying.

I believe students today are use to acquiring everything they need with a simple click of the mouse. Actually going to the library and retrieving a source is foreign to them. The notion of using a database is just too much like, um, right!

Good that you stuck to your guns and didn't let them change the topic. I have a feeling you'll have more to report to us about those students in the future.