1. When you are assigned a research paper in a course, do you welcome it as an opportunity to learn, or do you see it as a burden or unwelcome task?
I haven't really changed in my view of an assigned research paper. I still like doing the research itself, but the stress of a grade is still there but maybe a little less. APA is still a bit intimidating but I have definitely improved in that area this semester.
2. How confident are you in your ability to use supporting material (quotations, examples, research) effectively to strengthen your ideas in a paper?
There is always room for improvement, and since I haven't really gotten feedback on my final literature reviews I am not really sure about my perspective versus my professors prospective on this point. I'm sure I would answer it differently in a couple of weeks once I have my big papers grades. Still overall I feel moderately confident. I have improved in the summarizing instead of quoting this semester.
3. How confident are you in your ability to paraphrase an idea for use in a research paper?
This area is one I can honestly say I have really improved this semester. The activity of doing the annotated bibliography with no quotations and getting positive feedback on the assignment has increased my confidence in this area. As stated above though, there is always room for improvement in my book.
4. How much formal training have you had regarding plagiarism and how to avoid it?
Before this class my training was all at school/work from our media services department. Through this class we have had numerous videos and reading about plagiarism and a little in some of my other classes. I do feel more confident in this area but the self-plagiarism still is a bit cloudy to me. I understand that a single paper can't be used in another class, but do I quote myself if I use part of one of my previous class papers? Some have told me yes and others have told me no.
5. In writing a research paper, how easy have you found it to incorporate sources that conflict with your central argument or idea?
This is still a challenge for me, mainly because of finding the actual articles. I just haven't found them very frequently and therefore it looks like I don't want to tell both sides of the story, which is not the case. I need to work on the research side of this more than just stating it in the papers.
6. How confident are you that you know the rules for using sources well enough to avoid unintentional plagiarism?
Neutral to moderately confident
I have improved in this area as well. If I think I read the thought in an article, I go back and look for it and then cite it, even if I was putting it in my words and thought it was my own conclusion. Some of the information in my research seems a bit common sense about motivation and gamification so this has been a challenge at times to make sure I cite conclusions that were found in other studies even if they seem common sense.
I have gone back to the readings in Harris (2014) as I have been writing my literature reviews. There are some great points about using a variety of sources, something I definitely need to work on. When I was reviewing a friends paper for another class, she had all sorts of citations from symposiums etc, but I was very overwhelmed with the APA format of some of it, as was she. I feel pretty confident in correct format for journal articles and chapters in edited books but am a little scared to venture to areas where I can't find the format in the manual. I know symposiums are there, but there were lots she had I couldn't even tell what kind of source it was to know how to look it up. I'm sure over the summer as I really dive deeper into my actual literature review for my dissertation I will expand my scope of sources and hopefully can systematically approach the APA style for each.
Harris, R. A. (2014). Using sources effectively: Strengthening your writing and avoiding plagiarism (4th ed.). Glendale, CA: Pyrczak.
Author: Keri Duncan
This is a blog created as a requirement for my dissertation. In different classes, there have been different requirements but hopefully it will provide good thought and discussion as I progress through the dissertation process.