-- Research Paper Process Example
FROM A PREVIOUS ASSIGNMENT--FOR THOSE FOLKS WHO ARE HAVING
TROUBLE GETTING STARTED:
One example of Research Process:
This morning I was reading a detailed chronology of
the early years of
American involvement in a book published in 1965. There I read that on 15
November, 1963, "a US military spokesman in Saigon reports that 1000
servicemen will be withdrawn from Viet-Nam, beginning December 3" (Raskin
and Fall 393). I had always thought that this decision was Top Secret and
contained within National Security Memorandum 263, and would have been
declassified after the off year election. Recall that Diem was assassinated on 1
November, Kennedy on 22 November. Kennedy, who was a Democrat, was in
Texas campaigning and his decision to withdraw troops was classified so that
he would not be accused of being soft on Communism.
An examination of this critical period and decision
would make an interesting
research paper. Oliver Stone made a movie with his hypothesis (JFK). What
yours? Well, you would have to do some initial research. I would start
books on JFK's involvement in Viet Nam. I would also go to the WEB.
Note how small my area of focus is. There is great JOY in doing
narrow research. It is how we generate new knowledge.
Last quarter I had a student who did a research paper on what contributed to
the American massacre at My Lai. She did original research, much of it by
email, with historians, writers, Viet Nam Veterans, and others. Much of the
research was open to the class, on the listserv. In her final paper she disagreed
with a major author who had sent her his thoughts on why My Lai. It was a
Your will be too-if you find a small topic that creates passion. I
take papers on the antiwar movement in the US, or Japan; I
will even take
papers on Hanoi Jane Fonda.
Raskin, Marcus G. and Bernard B. Fall. THE VIET-NAM[sic] READER: ARTICLES
AND DOCUMENTS ON AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY AND THE VIET-NAM
CRISIS. New York: Random House, 1965.