Death to the Research Paper: Alternatives to Traditional College Term Paper Assignments

The research paper – it’s the assignment that almost every student dreads and that almost every teacher assigns. While the exercise of researching, organizing, and writing a research paper teaches students valuable skills, few students will encounter the affordable research papers to buy online format in their professional lives.

Teachers need to consider alternatives to the research paper that teach students the same research, analytical, and organizational skills in a way that is more relevant to their future careers (and, therefore, will pique the students’ interests). Some alternatives to the traditional semester term paper include: the power point, the multimedia project, and the interview.


The Power Point

Power point presentations are prevalent in the business world, yet not everyone knows how to do them effectively. Putting together a power point still requires students to research, analyze, and synthesize information, but the power point format asks students to present that information in a unique way. Show students some sample business power points, taking care to show them how to appropriately use visuals, write fragmented sentences, and cite sources.

The Multimedia Project

Closely related to the power point is the multimedia project (the two projects could be combined as power points frequently feature multimedia). Again, students will still have to research, analyze, and synthesize information, but they will need to present that information creatively in a short film or podcast while also learning to master technology that may be relevant to their future careers. Teachers can ask their information technology departments or library multimedia centers for assistance with these projects, and student assistance is frequently available through these venues as well.

The Interview

All job seekers and employees need to know how to communicate effectively. Doing an interview with someone in a field relevant to their future careers can be a great way for students to not only learn research skills, but also to hone their listening abilities while gaining intimate knowledge of their chosen fields. Again, students will need guidance as far as brainstorming interview questions, asking follow-up questions, and arranging the interview information into a coherent, readable paper.

Teachers often hate reading the traditional research paper every bit as much as students hate writing them. And student disgust and anxiety over writing a semester term paper can often lead to plagiarism. Teachers need to explore alternatives to traditional research paper assignments in order to engage students and to teach them the research, analytical, and organizational skills that they need in a way that is relevant to their present lives and future careers.

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