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  • Discipline(s): Various Disciplines
  • Available: Fall Semester 2024 Spring Semester 2024
  • Course Type: Faculty-Directed Research Courses Scholars Program
  • Taught in: English
  • Course Fee: none
  • Credits: 2
  • Course Travel: none


IR 400: Research Writing and Methodology

Course Description

This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic methods and techniques of research writing while also providing them with a workshop setting and faculty support to complete an on-going project. The course will focus on such issues as developing a thesis statement, writing a prospectus, finding source material (books, articles, internet resources, etc.), generating an argument, writing and revising a rough draft, and APA documentation of sources.

To accomplish this goal, each student will write a 12-15 page research paper during the term to be decided in cooperation with the professor of one other course taken by the student. From the development of a thesis statement to the editing of the final draft, the student will compose this research paper under the direction of the course instructor and in consultation with other students in the class. Depending on the chosen topic, the student may also work with a faculty advisor in the pertinent discipline—from Umbra or from the student’s home institution. Students pursuing honors theses or independent research projects may develop more extended papers to fulfill individual requirements. The course is also available to creative writing students working on projects requiring extended research.

Course Objectives

  • To become familiar with the process of organizing and drafting a report that poses a significant problem and offers a convincing solution
  • To learn how to identify, track down and use a wide variety of sources in the service of responsible research and scholarship
  • To produce a paper using MLA documentation and manuscript form—polished enough to be presented —and to become familiar with other formal (APA, Chicago style) documentation and manuscript styles
  • To examine some of the best past and current writing by scholars
  • To review the mechanics of writing and hone editorial and proof-reading skills
  • To develop evaluative strategies and vocabulary to best serve other writers in a workshop setting

Course Materials

  • Lester, James D., and James D. Lester Jr. Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide. NY, NY: Pearson, 2015.

Recommended Reading

  • Hacker, Diana and Barbara Fister, Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age, 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.
  • Hacker, Diana. A A Pocket Style Manual. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011 (or an equivalent text covering basic grammar, punctuation, spelling, composition, etc.).
  • Porter, B. A., and H. A. Schänzel, Femininities in the Filed: Tourism and Transdisciplinary Research. Bristol, UK: Channel View, 2018.