Writing About Writing (p. 22-33)
“What Is It We Do When We Write Articles Like This One- and How Can We
Get Students to Join Us?” by Michael Kleine
In the article “What Is It We Do When We Write Articles Like This One- and How Can We Get Students to Join Us?,” author Michael Kleine makes an effort to express to his audience of college student readers how exactly academic researchers do their study. Kleine argues that the traditional method of “hunting” for information only leads to copying and a final paper that has no purpose. However, he feels that “gathering” information leads to discovery and adjustment to new insight during the study process. Knowing that both methods are applied in academic research, Kleine brings forth a heuristic, or problem solving strategy, that he believes researches utilize in their work. After testing his theoretical strategy on eight academic professionals from the University of Arkansas, Kleine finds that his heuristic is too simplistic and the true answer lies in the researcher’s own personal interest rather than an outside influence. Kleine’s own research is his tool to reaching his audience.
I feel that Michael Kleine’s article has at least one connection with the article “Argument as Conversation,” by Stuart Greene. Both Greene and Kleine framed their work toward an audience of student readers, both articles are about research, and both writers agree that research should be about inquiry and discovery rather than just finding what you are looking for. These two articles differ, however, in the sense that Greene writes in the way he is trying to teach and Kleine tells more of a personal discovery story. Each article has purpose and has a way of getting the main point across, but each writer accomplishes that in a different way.
“Before you read” Exercise:
To my knowledge, every high school student in America is required to do a research paper. Every research paper is required, and is obviously going to have, sources. I know that at my high school, we found our sources at EbscoHost and certain online libraries deemed acceptable by my teacher. My sources consisted of a bunch of boring articles, a few books, and some old interviews. I would pick out certain statistics and quotes that went along with my assigned topic, and I would plug them in my paper so I could meet the assignment’s requirements. In all honesty, I have never typed a paper that I was interested in and I have never looked for or used sources in the way I would imagine that you are supposed to.
Questions for Discussion and Journaling:
1. Kleine’s entire beginning scenario/”nightmare” matches up perfectly with my own experiences. I have spent many a night in a library “hunting” for information that will look good in the paper with a terrible topic that I plan to hand to my teacher, my only audience. I wish my research experiences were as intriguing as his was with the professors at the University of Arkansas. He was learning new things every time he interacted with them, and he actually got to test out some of his own ideas (such as his theoretical heuristic). My research has never been like that.
3. The professionals that Kleine interviewed were doing very detailed academic research. A few of these professionals said that reading and writing are part of their research. Does this mean that reading and writing of sources? In my opinion, absolutely! If reading and writing are ways that the researcher can investigate and analyze their own thoughts, the reading and writing are sources. With that said, analyzing one’s own thoughts is how research gets started, and how the final writing gets finished. So I would have to say that these sources, along with any other text or experimental sources, are extremely important and they play a huge role in academic research.
Unfortunately, the sources I have reviewed in the past were not so interesting, important, or useful. Reading and writing were not sources to explore my mind, because at that time I didn’t even realize that was an option. I have never been interested enough in a research topic to even formulate any good ideas that I could sit and ponder about for more information. Hopefully, my next research will be like a true academic research experience.
4. I intend to change literally and virtually everything about the way I
approach research in the future. I’m going to try webs of ideas, brainstorming, writing things out, reading my own writing and the writings of others who have touched on the interesting topic I have personally selected for my study. I do not want to be that library night crawler anymore!
My Personal Thoughts:
I liked this article better than the last one because I could understand it a little better. Don’t get me wrong though, I did enjoy “Argument as Conversation” and it really did help my understanding of writing and research. This article though, was a little more personal to the writer, and I tend to relate to those types of writings better. I could tell that Kleine was very interested in the topic and in his research, and mostly in conveying his results to people like myself. I found his idea of “hunting” and “gathering” information very interesting, and even though Kleine’s heuristic was a little too simple, I could see what his thought process was at the time. Now I know why all my research papers in high school were so boring—because I was not interested in them and I had no previous desire to write about the topics I were given. Now I can’t wait until I get to explore a topic I will enjoy and write to an audience of caring people that are not my high school English teacher. Hopefully my experience with my next research will be comparable to the research Kleine did and explained in his article.