What is the point of Research Paper’s?
The purpose of a research paper is for the student to take time to research the ins and outs of a specific topic. Then, using the findings, put together a well-written paper explaining what they found to either explain or persuade their audience. On the outside, that does not seem too bad. The student is able to learn about something new, and it can show the teacher how much they have learned throughout the course of the class. However, that overlooks a large majority of truly what gets put into a research paper. Not only are countless hours put into a singular assignment, the amount of stress for the student and the teacher, and the negative impact it could have on a student’s future school work could ultimately contradict the entire purpose of the research paper.
One of the most important parts of the research paper is the number of hours that goes into the paper. Between planning, researching, organizing, and actually writing, the amount of hours spent on the paper is astronomical. The amount of hours spent on school work in general has a negative impact on all aspects of a student’s life. Nadya M. Kouzma and Gerald A. Kennedy of Victoria University worked on a study to see how the number of hours spent on homework impacted the students’ mental health, “Table 2 shows that the number of hours spent on homework was positively related to scores for stress, Depression-Dejection, Tension-Anxiety, Fatigue-Jnertia, Confusion-Bedderment, Anger-Hostility, Vigor-Activity, and Mood Disturbance. Also, stress was positively correlated with rated Depression-Dejection, Tension-Anxiety, Fatigue-Inertia, Confusion-Bewilderment, Anger-Hostility, Vigor-Activity, and Mood Disturbance.” The long hours of working on a research paper can be extremely detrimental to their mental health. As stated in the article, there is a correlation between working long hours on schoolwork and stress which would make sense in the paper done by Human Psychiatry Human Dev, “Toero et al.  argued that there is a strong link between the pressure to excel in school and suicidal behaviors among children and adolescents. In their study, Toero et al.  showed that the number of suicide cases in a year usually peaked during examination periods where children and adolescents experienced a high level of stress in school.” Using the fact that there was a correlation between school work and stress, it seems there is a correlation between school work and suicide rates. This is often overlooked while dealing with research papers. Since that is not the purpose of the paper, people do not think about the side effects. Although research papers are not meant to do that, it seems they can lead to an increase in suicide rates.
While the student is extremely important, the teacher’s mental health cannot be ignored. Similar to how an overload of work impacts a student’s mental health, it can detriment a teacher. According to an article going over teach burnout, written by Willy Lens and Saul Neves De Jesus, “Teachers have consistently cited work overload as a major stressor in their job; important factors include excessive paperwork, oversize classes comprising students of heterogeneous academic abilities, imposed time constraints, and the need to teach courses that are outside their particular skill area.” Often overlooked, the amount of schoolwork given can affect the teacher’s stress levels. Someone has to grade the assignments, give feedback, and help out the students in any way. Teachers arguably have a significantly larger workload than students. As previously said, there is a link between stress levels and suicide rates that cannot be ignored.
An issue currently going through many high schools and colleges is dealing with burnout. Burnout can happen for many reasons, but it ultimately prevents the student from having the ability to do any of their work. From an article by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “A chronic exposure to academic stress can result in school burnout, defined as an emotional state of exhaustion, cynicism, and depersonalization.” As seen before, stress can greatly negatively impact the student. This time, it is burning out the student from being able to complete their school work. The large workload provided by a research paper can lead to stress which will burn out the student.
While burnout does mean an increase in stress, it also can explain the dropping of grades in the student’s future. Written by Daniel J. Madigan and Thomas Curran, explain, “ Aligned with our hypotheses, burnout did indeed emerge as a significant negative predictor of achievement (exams, grades, GPA). In this regard, total burnout and all three burnout symptoms predicted worse academic achievement. There was also evidence that the instrument used to measure burnout (MBI, SBI) moderated the relationship between the reduced efficacy dimension of burnout and academic achievement.” Caused by burnout, in their study there was a drop in GPA, grades, and exams. This not only explains why burnout can be detrimental to a student, but it also explains the impact it may have on the student’s career. From the workload presented by a research paper, the future of the student can be impacted due to burnout as result of the paper.
While research papers are generally thought to help out a student, the majority of people truly do not know what is involved when writing a research paper. Since research papers have an extremely large workload, it often negatively impacts the students. Working on a research paper almost always ends up becoming an increase of stress, anxiety, depression, and many other negative emotions. These emotions lead to impacting the student in many easy such as burnout, a decrease in happiness, and possibly even suicide. Not only does this impact the student, but the same emotions can also be felt from the teacher’s perspective. With the increase in work for them, the same effects of a research paper can be seen. Maybe research papers should not be seen as helpful as they are. It seems the negatives extremely outweigh the pros that can come from one.
The whole purpose of a research paper is to explain the results found in different studies. In order to help people have easy access to finding different studies, google created a website called google scholar. On the surface, google scholar seems like it would be extremely helpful for students especially when dealing with a research paper. There are millions of studies that already have the work cited written out, results stated clearly, and links to hundreds of other related sources in order to help the student find whatever they are looking for. However, google scholar fails to truly succeed in achieving the overall goal of helping demonstrate research.
While trying to find the first couple of sources for this research paper, I came to your attention. I quickly had to change my topic fast. I was originally going to write about how the Phillies would weaken their defense prior to the 2022 MLB season which ultimately strengthened their overall team. This was due to the added players like Kyle Shwarber who is historically terrible on defense but was a key addition to the offensive production. When I typed “Phillies” into google scholar just to see what would pop up, I was shown an article talking about chemistry as the first search. This is because the article was written by Kiril Streletzky and George D. J. Phillies. If you go past that singular article, you are left with hundreds all written by George D. J. Phillies. There may be students ecstatic over finding his chemist work, but personally, I was limited in what I could research. If I was limited in what I could research, imagine how many other kids also had the same issues that I had. Unfortunately, I had a topic I would have been extremely passionate about, but I was forced to switch topics due to google scholar’s limiting coverage.
Regardless of the limited content, the language barrier on google scholar is often overlooked. While using Google, in order to switch between different languages one just has to change one setting. This then changes every word to whatever language one changed it to. Since Google Scholar is a specialized search engine from Google, it is thought to work relatively the same way. When changing the language in Google Scholar, the settings are changed to that language, but none of the articles are changed. If they are able to change the contents of Google’s articles, it is shocking that Google Scholar does not also just translate them. Of the few articles already on Google Scholar, the language barrier drastically lowers that number. A search engine made strictly for research is limiting how much research one may do strictly based on the language one speak.
In addition to the language barrier, the accessibility of each article can limit the amount one’s ability to research. The few times that there is an article that one can use, it is often shut down behind the paywall that blocks researchers from the work. Most schools like Rowan do allow their students to access these websites for no additional cost, but that does not include all of them. While testing out google scholar, the first article on “solar system” was written in 1966. It is blocked by a paywall of $35.95 for 48-hour access for thirteen pages. With an extremely large amount of information learned about the solar system in the past couple of decades, the information in that article most likely has no revelation or truth anymore. For this essay alone with upwards of ten sources, it could cost over $400. With most of the articles not even being used, a researcher without a university will have to break the bank just to support their claim.
One of the key features of Google Scholar is that it presents you with the citation for the article, and the articles show the researcher their works cited page. On paper, this sounds amazing, but there is a huge flaw. According to Penn State University, they made an article talking about the pros and cons of using Google Scholar, “No wonder that authors, journals and the numerical-chronological designations (publication year, volume, issue and starting page numbers) are misidentified for millions of documents. As a consequence, the citation-matching algorithm of GS is equally unreliable, often yielding excessive and obviously absurd numbers of false positives and false negatives.” Although one may cite a website, by citing it incorrectly, it is still considered plagiarism. Many researchers most likely used those citations listed by Google Scholar without even realizing they are plagiarizing. Also according to the Penn State article on the pros and cons of Google Scholar, they followed the number of citations written for one of their other articles. It was reported that the article was cited a total of 57 times. When entering the article, Google Scholar says that that number is actually 55 times cited, but they can only show 53 times. With every number being different, it shows how Google Scholar gives a rough estimate number. The Google Scholar algorithm used to find these numbers are obviously flawed. If the algorithm cannot correctly get the number of citations, the algorithm most likely messes up the other numbers used in the citations.
Although Google Scholar in theory is a great idea to help researchers, it is extremely counterintuitive to the extreme flaws it has. The limited number of articles affects the variety that one can research and how in-depth one want to get. That number can exponentially decrease when implementing the language barrier which Google does not have. If the language barrier does not affect a researcher, they may be limited by the paywall that blocks a majority of the websites on Google Scholar. Since most schools do pay for a generous amount of websites, the small chance that one can find a website they could use, the citation listed by Google Scholar could be wrong. By dealing with all the issues with Google Scholar, they can give someone a big thank you by causing a researcher to plagiarize their entire paper.
Intuition is the gut feeling one gets in a certain situation. Like when playing a horror video game, and one knows any second a character is going to pop out. Counterintuition is the opposite. In the video game, the developer knows a character should pop out and scare the gamer, but they choose not to do it. It is counterintuitive that the character did not pop out at that moment. Professor David Hodges, an English Composition, from Rowan University focuses on the idea of counterintuitive. With the focus on counterintuitively, some students may be held back from the opinion of the word, the trap of focusing on the white paper, and the unreliability that the reader is truly going to listen that all make research papers an insignificant way of judging whether or not a student has obtained knowledge presented in English Composition Two.
Counterintuitiveness can be seen as subjective. Something may make sense to one person that goes right over the head of someone else. For example, when talking about purposeful summaries, Professor Hodges was going over quick examples, “It seems counterintuitive that human life, which everyone knows gets DNA from two parents when male sperm fertilizes a female egg, could ever require, or even make use of, the DNA of three parents. But that’s exactly what is happening.” To some people like Professor Hodges, that may make complete sense. To others, it may not seem that way. At one point, that most certainly sounds counterintuitive, but with recent discoveries and new technology, it may not seem that way. Who is to say that reproducing with three, four, or five is not possible? To those scientists or patients that have seen this firsthand, the statement above may seem very intuitive.
Throughout the entire spring semester, the students are supposed to keep writing on the same article called the white paper. This is just a rough sketch of everything. The students are supposed to keep quotes, ideas, important summaries, articles, and much more in this document. The whole purpose is to stay organized throughout the year in order to help the student write their research paper. This may work for some students, but it may also cause failure in others. According to Anu Haapala, writer for Central and Eastern European Online Library, states, “According to many recent studies the effect of learning style on academic performance has been found to be significant and mismatch between teaching and learning styles causes learning failure and frustration.” It is known that students learn differently, but students also write differently. Some students may need to write everything out, have two to three attempts at writing an introduction paragraph, and plan everything including the paragraph structure, or some students can just naturally write. There is no right or wrong way to get to a destination as long as they get there.
The research paper that the students have been working on the entirety of the year according to Professor Hodges, “is to persuade readers of the rightness of your opinion based on the evidence you’ve compiled and synthesized.” This is supposed to be achieved with hours beyond hours of research, but it can all be for nothing. In an example presented by Professor Hodges, there is a bridge that is not wide enough for people to fish and walk by it. Dogs were accidentally getting caught on or eating fish hooks. So, they put up a sign explaining that no one is allowed to fish there anymore. According to Professor Hodges in the Invention by Naming article, “Now that the signs are up, dog walkers can demand the right of way, and the kids with their tackle might grumble, but they leave when they’re told to leave.” The kids do leave after they are told, but they wait until they are told. Before someone walks their dog there, the sign is completely ignored. The same goes for research papers. Hours are spent obtaining facts and evidence, and like the kids, they can just be completely ignored. How is the student supposed to persuade someone who does not want to be pursued?
Likewise, when going over the Stanford Prison experiment, many students explained how it was due to white men that they acted out as they did. Very few students explained how instead it was due to the fact that it was human nature to act out that way. When debating about the topic, very few students were outnumbered, and their opinions ultimately were ignored. According to Thibault Le Texier who quoted professor Philip Zombardo, “I had been conducting research for some years on deindividuation, vandalism, and dehumanization that illustrated the ease with which ordinary people could be led to engage in antisocial acts by putting them in situations where they felt anonymous, or they could perceive of others in ways that made them less than human, as enemies or objects [. . .] [I wondered] what would happen if we aggregated all of these processes, making some subjects feel deindividuated, others dehumanized within an anonymous environment in the same experimental setting, and where we could carefully document the process over time. (Stanford University News Service, 1997, p. 8)” The ultimate goal was to dehumanize the prisoners. Since everyone is human, regardless of race or gender, the same things would have happened. When explaining this to the other students in the class, a few students were completely ignored. This shows how easy it is to ignore a claim, just because one does not want to believe the opposing side.
Since the topic of the research paper, counterintuition, trapping one into planning and writing a certain way, and the possibility of certain claims being ignored, the research paper to show what knowledge a student has obtained becomes absurd. Counterintuition can be different things depending on the person. Words or phrases mean different things to everyone. Likewise, so do claims. After figuring out a claim, the ability to write the research paper in a certain format may not work depending on what kind of student the writer is. The possibility of their claims being ignored, like the sign on the bridge, may invalidate a writer’s paper strictly due to the reader and their previous viewpoints. While research papers may seem like a good way to see a student’s knowledge, they have many flaws. Providing different ways of allowing a student to show what they have learned, is a gateway to the best chance of success for every student.