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Research Ideas for Term Paper

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I am thinking of writing a paper about the advantages and disadvantages of being a traditional or post-traditional student. What would you suggest to use for articles or resources on this subject? Thanks in advance.
Tim

Answered By: Kimberly Boyd
Last Updated: Sep 08, 2017     Views: 3

Hello!

I would start with the sources for articles in the Education LibGuide. Click on the Articles tab. My first choice would be Academic Search Complete. You will be asked to log in with your 6 digit student ID number and your email user name, which is your first initial and last name and a number, if there is one.

Academic writers think a little differently. They are looking for specific, measurable concepts. So instead of advantages and disadvantages, they are writing about things like academic achievement, attitudes toward specific things, stress, graduation rates, etc.

This means that your first task is to determine that the ultimate goal for the student is. In other words, advantaged or disadvantaged for what? Do you want to research academic achievement? That's always a good topic. Another might be persistence. That's the word we use to describe whether or not a student makes it to graduation.

Next, think about what kinds of things might be advantages and disadvantages. My first thoughts are maturity, work experience, technology use, and family demands. There are many more. Other ideas may come from your own experience and from the articles you find. Clear disadvantages with be evident if you search for barriers to success. You can research several or focus on one or two, depending on the scope of the assignment. You can then determine what creates an advantage or disadvantage, and divide them between traditional and nontraditional students, based on what you find.

Now you're ready to search. I got results with a variety of searches:

  • college students AND family AND persistence
  • college students AND barriers AND persistence
  • college students AND work experience AND "academic achievement"
  • college students AND technology use AND "academic achievement"

Before reviewing the results, use the left side toolbar on the results page to limit all of your results to the last 10 years and to limit the Source Types of Academic Journals and Trade Publications. If you limit to full text, you will loose the linked full text, which might cut out some good articles. As you review the articles, look for clues about the population used in the study - traditional or non-traditional.

This isn't a simple question with definitive answers. It will give you an opportunity to demonstrate your critical thinking skills!

Thanks for asking a librarian.

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