Research analysis 2: general feedback

OK, here are some general points about your RA 2 assignment. You’re doing OK, so keep at it.

  • Semi-colons. Don’t use the semi-colon unless you know how it works. Just don’t, OK?
  • Develop your points. Don’t just ‘hit and run’, i.e., don’t just make a statement or claim and leave it at that. If you make a general assertion you then need to provide the reader with enough information about it to evaluate it.
  • Direct quotation. It’s good that you’re attempting to engage more with the literature and the research, and many of you are demonstrating that through your use of direct quotes. However, some of you are using too many direct quotes. I want to learn more about your own understanding of the topic; I don’t just want a series of quotes with joining phrases. (And I’m a bit over Krause et al., truth be told.) So, use direct quotes and references to the literature to support your argument or to develop your point. This is the next step in your learning about how to demonstrate critical engagement.
  • Definitions. Define terms only if they are likely to be controversial or unfamiliar. If you must define a term or concept, then leave it for a background section: don’t stuff definitions arbitrarily into the intro. See the tip on writing an intro for more info.
  • Headings are your friends. I don’t know why some people tell you not to use headings. That’s just crazy, especially when you consider that most scholarly papers use headings to provide structure to the proceedings. Headings, when used judiciously, can be good structuring devices for your writing (although they should not take the place of good paragraph transition).
  • Ending your paragraph. Don’t finish your paragraphs with a summary or overview of what you’ve just said, e.g., “Therefore digital literacy is an important issue.” No. Just no. You need to be thinking about how to transition into your next paragraph and how to use this transition to develop your point.
  • Meta-commentary. Some of you were at pains to tell me all about your thinking and writing and reading processes. And I was in pain reading about all it. We don’t want to read things such as ‘this article was very interesting and shows that cyberbullying is an issue.’ Instead, we want critical engagement with the topic and prose that develops your main points, e.g., ‘As Smith (2010) demonstrates, cyberbullying is a problem that schools have a duty of care to address.’ … And then you go on to develop the point by providing evidence and by reasoning out your claim.

Vice-Principal by Natalie Dee.


About michaelsisley

Teacher, shambolic ruin, cricketer, singer, writer
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