Are Research Papers a Waste of Time?


Is the research paper still justifiable as a means of grading a college student's performance?

Critics of the form say it is outdated because the Internet has made sources so readily accessible. In addition, argues an article published recently by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education, research papers promote deference to conventional opinions. Thomas Bertonneau, the author of the article, "Down With Research Papers!" argued that students should instead be assigned essays, focusing on concise arguments staking out a point of view rather than long, informative surveys of a subject.

Room for Debate piece at


Have research papers ever been a means of grading a student's performance? I thought it was a chance to grapple with ideas and learn how to read and write in an organized, critical way. That article is shot through with codewords for "down with left-wing college professors, and their little dogs, too."

This goes along with the idea that you can find anything online. Education, once you get beyond say the age of 16 is not just basic facts, it's about assessment, understanding, and yes even new research and investigation. You have to put work into what you write which in fact is exactly the same as it used to be with books. There is no difference in the content, just the ability to find things more quickly.

If you are doing a course that just needs basic facts I think you are wasting your money

I agree. We should graduate students who can think, but who know no facts. That way we can have graduates who can think (about nothing).

research papers for general electives are a waste of time. Gee, would you rather have this pre-med surgeon acquiring more skills for surgery or rather him work on his 18th century ethical philosopher paper? Research papers in general electives are nothing more than a distraction.

well, ive been in school my entire life and i feel that even though all of you think we NEED to cite sources and everything else, we could just write about a topic we choose, that we actually know something about. Tink about that.

Don't forget the whole plagarism issue.
Don't cite things and you are open to many things.
This is true as a student or an Oprah feted author ;)

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