Marc Bousquet, associate professor of English at Emory University, recently wrote a comment worth considering in The Chronicle of Higher Education: Keep the ‘Research,’ Ditch the ‘Paper’
The Slate columnist Rebecca Schuman stirred up some strong emotions in December with her essay The End of the College Essay where she claimed that everybody—students and teachers alike—hate papers and ” we need to admit that the required-course college essay is a failure”. Although her text could be considered semi-satirical many scholars became provoced of what they saw as a caustic attack on a cornerstone of higher education.
Marc Bousquet offers a reply which is a pleasure to read in its soft-spokenness.
My own take is that Schuman provoked a necessary conversation. [—] we do have to stop issuing the thoughtless writing assignments she describes.
Instead we need to construct meaningful opportunities for students to actually engage in research—to become modest but real contributors to the research on an actual question. When students write up the work they’ve actually performed, they create data and potential contributions to knowledge, contributions that can be digitally published or shared with a target community.
Bousquet ends by saying that we should ”react to Schuman’s provocation by accepting her challenge to stop wasting our students’ time, and our own. Let’s ask them to address real research questions, and to compose in the same wide range of media actually used by scholars and professional writers.” And, at the very end, comes a sentence that every scientist and scholar should put on their notice board:
After all, real researchers don’t write a word unless they have something to contribute.
- Create an infographic in the Lifeology SciArt Infographic Challenge - June 16, 2020
- Adam Ruben – The scientist that teaches undergraduate students comedy - March 27, 2020
- Sam Gregson, Bad Boy of Science: “Comedy helps to bridge the gap” - March 10, 2020
- The Coolest Science Merchandise of 2019 - December 16, 2019
- Science Media Centre (UK) offers guide on dealing with online harassment in academia - November 26, 2019
- Agile project management taught to students and researchers at Karolinska Institutet - September 20, 2019
- Stefan Jansson: Improve your credibility! (Crastina Column, September 2019) - September 6, 2019
- The People’s Poet: Silke Kramprich, tech communicator - August 31, 2019
- Coworking Mornings help London SciCommers being more productive - August 17, 2019
- The Jury’s Grand Prize: Joanna Tilsley, biologist and poet - July 30, 2019