Research Paper Reflection








1. Explain the early stages of your research process-finding a topic, crafting a question, and locating information.

Beginning the search over the summer was difficult because I had several topics that I wanted to explore and most of them dealing with things I have done in the past. In the process I asked several different people that are somewhat close to me what it is I am most passionate about in life. I had realized in that outcome of asking questions that I had already answered my question. I knew from the get go that I wanted to do something in relation to cars, but was not sure of how to approach a thorough essential question. Locating the information was a piece of cake because of my accumulation of knowledge over the years on the study of cars. My biggest concern was narrowing my topic into something feasible that covered the big picture of market share, but not every aspect. Finding specific information was difficult because I had altered my essential question several times to give it an interesting bias and a two sided controversial issue for the reader. Most of my research came from the Multnomah County Library but I did explore other libraries and universities along the way.

2. What resources, class activities, and people were most helpful in researching your topic? Why?

Word of mouth seemed to be the most helpful if I had a question I would just ask somebody where I could locate the information. Finding a bunch of varied sources is beneficial because then you see the broad spectrum of what needs to be covered in your paper. Encyclopedias, books, periodicals, newspapers, Internet, inside and outside experts all helped engage my exploration for research. All of these resources helped me because I was able to relate a whole bunch of different ideas into several different categories to cover the essential question. Most of the experts I had conversations were knowledgeable of the topic, but only gave me a general overview of how I could approach the topic. What is difficult about having experts is putting in several more hours of research in that they don't know you have done and then there is an overlapping of feedback.

3. What did you learn about doing research and the process of doing research? What were your frustrations? How did you overcome them?

Spending a whole a year on topic was a bit overwhelming and stressful at times because in the beginning you couldn't predict whether you were going to become bored or uninterested in the topic. Time management is really crucial in motivating yourself to accomplish a goal. Research takes diligence, persistence, long hours, repetition of material to understand new concepts and material. Research is definitely a balancing act that takes years of experience and practice. My motto is the early you get it the easier it will come. Knowing the expectations clearly and looking at the task at hand in a systematic order help me overcome some of the obstacles in writing the paper and finding appropriate research. The paper is definitely a tedious process that takes time, effort and patience.

4. What did you learn about yourself as a researcher? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

How to control my anxiety and stress levels in times where psychological issues took a beating on me as well as social problems. Learning how to put little ideas of research in the big picture is difficult because I am a big picture person. When I see the big picture I can go back and connect the dots. I am not always confident to ask clarifying questions when I should. If I have a confident foundation of knowledge then it becomes easier for me to get my ideas out on paper. My philosophy is when writing a paper (KISS) keeping it simple stupid. If you use words and phrases that aren't common knowledge to people then you have failed to write a balanced paper. Making transitions clear in a research paper is definitely a struggle in how to tie one idea in to the next idea and have it all makes sense to the reader. Maintaining how to write a balanced paper is hard to predict and you don't always have a viable solution.

5. When doing ongoing research, again, what would you do differently?

The frustrating thing about ongoing research is the editing and feedback process. Many professional writers or any writers for that matter have several flaws in which they don't like, but without mistakes and revisions we wouldn't grow stronger and more confident in our writing if we cared so much about every little detail. To be confident is to succeed and with that comes anger, frustration, and self-pity. When you edit a paper several different times you have several different interpretations of the grammar, words choices, sentence structure, voice etc. A paper can be edited several different times by different evaluators, but in the end it's your decision of how you want the research paper to look. I personally feel my paper is stronger than most of senior research papers written, but I feel if I were to make any minor changes it would to add clearer examples of what I am trying to express.

6. Explain how you went about getting an outside expert. What were the highlights and frustrations? How was your expert helpful?

My outside expert has been a really close friend with my parents for many years and we used to purchase cars from his dealership in Beaverton. He is the owner of Beaverton Honda, Infiniti, Chrysler, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Kia. Honda motor sales have made him a very successful businessman. I wanted to use him as my outside because of his years of experience dealing with the market. Contact hours were really a struggle because he was gone a majority of the time and thinking about retirement so he was vacationing a lot. I sent a copy of my paper over to him in Palm Springs so he could make any revisions necessary to make a clearer and stronger paper. He followed the grading rubric as required and gave additional feedback as to what he knew about the market. His revisions I felt were somewhat redundant and picky and I felt that what I wrote was better, but I went ahead and made the revisions anyway since he's the expert. Definitely a life skill accomplishment that will be useful in communicating with more knowledgeable people in the future.

7. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1=low, 10=high), how would you rate the quality of your effort on the research portion-not the writing-of your project? How would you rate the quality of your research?

On a scale of 1 to 10 I would probably give myself an 8 for the quality and effort on the research portion because even though my bibliography doesn't show a lot of varied sources I still read a lot of varied material that gave me a lot of different ideas of how the order of my paper was going to look. I spent a lot of time annotating, highlighting, revising, and reading material not only to understand it early on in the process, but to be confident enough to paraphrase and say it in my own words.

8. Explain the steps you went through in completing the paper, from earliest rough draft to final draft?

Keeping a record of the calendar, rough drafts, due dates is all a form of compartmentalization that helps keep you on track and motivated throughout the tedious and redundant procedure of righting a research paper.