Why It Matters: Discourse Communities and Academic Conversations

Why Do I Have to Write Research Papers?

A lot of times, instructors and students tend to separate “thinking,” “researching,” and “writing” into different categories, believing that they aren’t necessarily very well connected.  First you think, then you research, and then you write.

The reality is, though, that the possibilities and process of research writing are more complicated and much richer than that.  We think about what it is we want to research and write about, but, at the same time, we learn what to think based on our research and our writing.  The goal of this textbook is to guide you through this process of research writing by emphasizing a series of exercises that touch on different—yet related—parts of the research process.

Academic research is a conversation; as you continue reading this textbook you’ll learn how researchers in different fields communicate and make new knowledge, and you’ll also practice working with real, academic journal articles.