05 December 2011

Guiding independent research

This is really a question. I've had a couple of independent studies/capstone projects to supervise this fall, and will have a couple more in the spring. It has occurred to me that I would like to assign a book that would help guide students through the research process. The books I'm most familiar with focus more on writing literary essays; I'd like something geared to the humanities a little more generally, and to the "research paper" of 15-20 pages, that might include elements of literature, history, and art history. How to read around a topic and then focus the reading, how to develop research questions, these are more important than details like citation style. Any suggestions?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Craft of Research by Booth, Colomb, and Williams. Very accessible to students at different levels and aimed at the humanities in general with a lot of focus on the process of research. I have used it in a graduate research methods class (English) for 5 years now, and I get very good feedback from the students on the usefulness of this book.

Travellia

Sapience said...

Perhaps the chapter on the seminar paper from Greg Semenza's book Graduate Study for the 21st Century? It's aimed at graduate students, of course, but depending on the level you're talking about, might be useful for undergrads as well.

meg said...

I second Travellia's suggest -- I assign it regularly. Also helpful to students is Howard Becker's *Tricks of the Trade: How To Think About Your Research While You're Doing it* (although Becker is a social scientist).

Renaissance Girl said...

I'd just like to say thanks to Dame E for asking the question. I'm grateful for these suggestions.

Janice said...

This question is relevant to miy interests so I will give The Craft of Research a look-see!

sophylou said...

The most recent edition (2007) of Turabian' Manual for Writers has a great long section called "Research and Writing: From Planning to Production" by, guess who! Booth, Colomb, and Williams. I have several faculty who've found it really useful. I like it because it also includes discussion of *how* to read, which I personally think is a skill that can't be stressed enough...

undine said...

I'd like to second the thanks for the post and the comments; these look like good books to use.

Narya said...

I always recommend Howard Becker's book ("How to Finish your Term Paper, Dissertation, or something something"). It's just a great overall guide to writing an academic-type document.