Posted by: codecalla | March 6, 2013

Research about Writing

One of my passions is continuing research about writing and improving writing.  Naturally, for some, writing can be the best method of instruction itself.  Just write and see what happens.  Feedback is crucial to developing a sense of what works and what doesn’t.  I would like to think that my long history of avid reading has also created a sense of balance for my writing.  Often the images in my head, the story and characters that develop are far richer than I create on the page.  I am always dissatisfied because I think “What if?”  How can I further develop the story, what if I take it down this road?  I believe that reviews will definitely help improve my art.  But I will continue to seek out more information and research areas that I feel would be beneficial to recreating the images from my mind.

Today, I just received some books of research I ordered…always a happy occasion!  One is about developing dialogue, and others are focused more on background information for my next book.  I can’t wait to get started.  Spring Break is coming up this week, and I will have time to focus on my writing, rather than my students and their concerns.  I love teaching, but it does take a great deal of energy and time.  There are also days when students are less than enthusiastic and it’s difficult to ascertain if they understand the concepts explained, or are disinterested.  Creative energy is also expended and devoted to helping them with the research topics they choose.  (When I am not asking them to put away their cell phones.)

I had a student suggest that I was “morally relativistic” when I explained that moral relativism about religious beliefs would not be an appropriate topic (especially when the student wanted me to help him focus his topic) because of the potential lack of academic sources and support.  Why, I asked, would someone who does not share those beliefs choose to believe support from that particular religion or sacred text?  To which I was accused of moral relativism.  Oy vey.  That’s when I suggested that the student find a new topic.  Religious topics are worthy of study, absolutely, but not always appropriate for academic research papers.  You have to be able to quantify and qualify your evidence and support for research, and beliefs are held based on faith, not evidence.  For someone wishing to only use beliefs to support their argument, they will only be effective with others who share their belief structure.  If sacred texts are used to support beliefs, only those who believe in those texts would feel they were effective.

I attended a private Christian college, so I know that high level academic papers can be written about religious topics, but the quality is different than the generalized topics that most of my freshman students wish to write about.   I, too, have written academic papers using the Bible and other texts, but those weren’t my only sources.  I was writing about tracing the origins of beliefs, which was quantifiable and recorded.  This is the challenge of March madness.  Keeping the attentions of students who are anxious for spring, and guiding them toward success.


  1. Good post.

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