Curiosity and interest are the main factors in writing a good research paper or a magnificent essay. The first chapter is devoted to this very aspect of conducting a research. The main idea of the first chapter is to show students that every researcher should be interested in what he or she is doing. The author suggests that if a researcher is bored, the research papers will be bored, as well. On the contrary, if the topic is interesting for the researcher, he or she will present a high quality research paper. The author emphasized how necessary it is to choose the topic wisely and carefully. Ballenger provided several tips on how to choose good topics for the research. Moreover, the author gives some pieces of advice on how to ask correct questions and be able to find answers on them. Besides, Ballenger gives some tips on reading and researching the information.
Chapter two is about the next step in conducting a good research. It helps students develop a research strategy and evaluate their sources. In this chapter, the author teaches how to choose a good strategy for the research. Besides, the author gives strategies of how to choose sources for bibliography and make it up. Moreover, the author teaches how to orient in libraries and what book codes mean. When speaking about interviews (another great source for the research), the author outlines that one should choose wise words to start it. For example,
“I think you could be extremely helpful to me," or "I'm familiar with your work, and I'm anxious to talk to you about it” (Ballenger, p. 100)
The most significant lesson learned from the second chapter of the book The curious researcher is how to choose sources correctly. Before reading the book, it was rather difficult for me to distinguish between good and bad sources, primary and secondary ones. Moreover, the author provided readers with some strategies how to choose the sources. The main idea is to ask several questions o sources and give answers on them. That is how a reader understands the quality of a source. Another piece of advice that was interesting and useful for me was how to conduct interviews. In some cases, interviews can become a rather difficult task, because people refuse to answer questions. However, the author teaches how to make everything right, so the research is full.
In the Chapter 3, the author focuses on how to take notes correctly, the “writing in the middle” of the research process that Ballenger claims is
“as important, if not more so, than the writing that takes place at the end” ( Ballenger, 115).
According to Ballenger, note taking is an important step in understanding the topic, and it prevents students from getting bogged down by their sources when they are writing the draft. Another strong point of the chapter is that the author teaches readers about what plagiarism is. Every researcher should realize that plagiarism is unacceptable in any scientific work. However, not every researcher knows how to avoid it. This chapter also addresses plagiarism and advanced searching techniques (for those who are frustrated with their sources at this point in the process). In this chapter, the author outlines the main techniques of paraphrasing. The author of the book claims that
“at the heart of paraphrasing is this very simple idea: Good writers find their own way of saying things” (Ballenger, 126)
The peculiarity of the chapter is that this is the only chapter, where the author suggested that a photograph could evoke a powerful reaction, making the paper more effective. For this purpose, the author used the technique called Thinking outside the box.
While reading the book, I was getting more interested in the writing process. The author’s style of writing and language is interesting and exciting. The main idea that I liked from this chapter is that the author taught readers how to use all the sources and means of getting them. The author showed that every means could be used to collect sources and create a perfect research. The advantage of this chapter, and the entire book, is that the author outlines digital sources or getting and saving information, and gives tips on using them. Such means helped me to be more curious and involved into some of my researches. The point is that, when I found out about all the means of saving, managing and keeping information or the list of sources, I tried to look for different sources everywhere I went. These means helped me not only stay interested in the topics of my researches, but come up with new ideas of the researches.
Chapter 4 focuses on writing the draft. Ballenger provides tips on how to handle conflicting sources, how to write to make the reader interested, how to write a high quality conclusion, how to comply all the sources together. This chapter also has a section on considering audience and purpose. In my opinion, this chapter is one of the most significant chapters of the book. Draft should be written so well, that it requires minimum of revision.
The most significant piece of advice in this chapter was how to use I pronoun. The point is that, in some of my research works, I tended to overuse this pronoun and it did not look like a real scientific work. However, the author of the book showed on different examples how over usage of I pronoun can harm the research work. Moreover, Ballenger taught to ask questions to every part of the research paper. This can help filter information and provide the audience only with the most significant details.
Chapter 5 is about the revision process. The author gives pieces of advice on how to attract the audience attention, using voice, tone, rhythm; as well as different sentence length, verbs and verbal constructions. Moreover, the author provides several useful tips on how to make the research paper sound better. The revision is the most significant process while writing the research paper. After the revision, the author presents the result of the research. The author explains that revising means understanding whether the draft corresponds the thesis statement and the initial requirements.
The fifth chapter is the last part of the learning process of how to become a skilled research writer. The main idea of the fifth chapter that I liked is that revision process allows the writer to take a view on the research paper from a different point of view. While doing a revision, one should take into account the audience, the initial requirements. Moreover, while making a revision, the author should understand whether the research paper answers all the questions that were set in the very beginning. The author gives some tips how to make the research paper better. One of the best tips is to read aloud to hear how it sounds. I can help understand whether the audience will be interested to listen to the research paper (or the report). Moreover, it can help understand whether the research paper flows. Sometimes it happens that even the very first sentence sounds awfully and it does not evoke interest. This book showed that a research paper could be interesting to read and to write. The main idea is to find an interesting topic and make the audience interested. Such tips are very useful and, obviously, I will use them in the future.
Ballenger B. The curious researcher. 2012. Longman