Invested in Writing for College
Writing research essays has never been my favorite kind of writing to do. I don’t always like writing and sometimes I become easily lost in my research looking for ways to procrastinate that seem productive. Writing in college was always a challenge for me. Some teachers were terribly restrictive in their assignments while others were open to creativity and ingenuity. Research essays were always a challenge, but I did prefer writing assignments over exams (Anthony 15). Writing professor, Muriel Harris, describes the first step in the research process is to define the purpose of the writing (Harris 325). Writing a research paper that is worthwhile and valuable must have a purpose in my life, not merely a purpose for a college writing assignment.
Finding a topic that interests me, that I could learn from no matter the field of study, was important to me motivating to write. This was also important to me as a learner. Early this past semester I wrote that “college was hard and expensive and every moment, every effort had to be an investment” (Anthony 15). I have written about family members who lived history for history classes and my love of domestic arts in humanities a politic science classes. Writing to learn requires that I am invested. I start with what is important to me and research to find a connection to the assignment and the instructor’s purpose. During my first Humanities course, at Lindenwood University, I was assigned a research paper in which I had to incorporate both historical and artistic research. I chose to write a research essay showing how American women express their political views, and desires for social change, through quilting. My mother is a quilter and quilt historian and this topic is dear to my heart and an investment in my self and in my family.
My process for writing a research paper varies little across disciplines. My first step is choosing a starting off point by choosing a working thesis statement. According to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill writing center, a thesis statement “is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper” (“Thesis”). I consider my first draft of a thesis statement a working statement. In other words, it is a guide, but I keep in mind that I if I find a better direction in my research, I should take it and revise my thesis statement during my revision process. I pull from what is important to me: family, domestic arts, writing, reading, and the value of life.
Anthony-Gratton, Kelly. “What is College Level Writing.” Personal Journal. Springfield, MO. 9 Sept. 2008.
“Thesis Statements.” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 2007. 4 December 2008. http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/thesis.html.
Harris, Muriel. The Prentice Hall Reference Guide. 7th. Ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson, 2008.