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Throw Back Thursday: Research Paper Woes

Every spring for the last five years before this one, thankfully, I had to grade sophomore research papers. For the first couple years, I suffered in silence, crying within. Then, I started posting the absurd quotes from these papers on Facebook, with full anonymity to the authors, of course. I only disclosed that these were research paper quotes from the advanced English students.  These quotes became popular, and Facebook friends began asking early on how long it would be before I would grade these papers.  I would even let the anticipation grow by giving updates to when the papers were due. I wish I had kept more of my students’ work earlier on, but this will have to do.

cant eat homeowrk

Whether through errors in grammar or mechanics, fault in logic, odd word choice, or lack of common sense, here are some of my student-induced research paper woes.  Enjoy.  You might want to pee first. I have also included some of my FB commentary of how I introduced the quotes and such.

  • From a paper on why juveniles should not be tried as adults: “Alan Simpson’s rehabilitation [for destroying federal property as a child] demonstrates how the juvenile system works and how a child committing criminal activities can be changed. That child can then contribute greatly to society like becoming a senator.” Let that one sink in a bit… But how are senators different from criminals?
  • “With the only open space existing on top of their home, some homeowners attempt to install wind turbines on their roof, but the danger and impracticality of this unrecommended installment far outway the reward.” Oh, come on! Correctly spelling/using outweigh would have added to the humor as a pun, yet you failed to take advantage to fail in style. FAIL.
  • “Deep space is not a priority in the American nation recently…” Can we just say the United States, please? So awkward! Besides, there are other ‘American nations.’
  • “Think about it, the thought of sitting next to adult criminals in a jail cell that done murder, to a teenager can be terrifying.” That murdering jail cell!
  •  “When people think of the most prevalent cause of death, they may think of a serial killer, but that is not the case.” Really? Are there a lot of people out there paranoid enough to think serial killers take more lives than anything else?
  • I have never claimed to be a math genius; however, I sense a math error in this quote: “Lowering the legal drinking age from eighteen to twenty-one will reduce accidents.” Too late.
  • I get the sentiment and all, but this seems a bit extreme: “In addition to this, smoking can kill anyone at any given time.” Anyone! Any time! Scary! More than serial killers?
  • A paper against the use of animal experimentation: “Other organisms will have more benefits then using animals. For example, scientists can use microorganisms, vertebrates, and invertebrates.” Yes, use those pesky vertebrates instead of animals. ??? Elementary school science class anyone?
  • “You say, ‘Well how do violent video games relate to the real life?’ Violent games can affect a normal person to even a mental person.” I would appreciate a definition of a “mental person,” because I’m wondering if my beating my head on the table when I read these papers counts.
  • I found out what the student meant by “mental person.” “The person may begin to yell or raise their voices [it’s never good when it’s one person with multiple voices] towards another person…also, the person may start to verbally hurt themselves [again, one person verbally assaulting their plural selves is never a good sign], because the guilt gets to them.”
  • Closing argument, same paper yet again: “Therefore, people should be careful with choosing the games they play, or if they can, stop buying them at all, because most likely if people stop playing these violent games our world would have one less stressor on their heads, and our community would be a little safer with the murdering and killing ideas that these games put into our brain.” So, we can have a safer world with the killing ideas in our collective brain. Probably why serial killers are so common.
  • Anti-pageant paper quote: “When the girls act is if they are older with actions such as blowing kisses and walking proactively, these pedophiles and stalkers feel as of the girls are actually doing this to them and are interested in these people.” A good point, but along with the mechanics issues of the sentence, I was thrown off by the proactive walking. Perhaps they should be proactively running.
  • “For instance, the United States banned Henry Miller’s Topic of Cancer (1934) until 1961…By banning a book such as this, or something similar, prevents the knowledge of cancer and what to expect.” Haha! I’ve never read Miller’s TRopic of Cancer (not Topic), but I know it has nothing to do with cancer and more to do with prostitutes and sex. Research your examples students, and spell book titles correctly.   Oh, wait. It gets better. The next sentence: “…if the movement to censor harmless books for children start it will change adult’s lives…”
  • Yikes!  Is this a scene from Alien? “Parents need to distinguish the difference from right and wrong the minute their child comes out wound of the mother.”
  • “Fellow legislatures this is a call to action and something needs to be done now.” Who knew I had politicians in my class?
  • “Every child is different though, so that means not everyone would be as long or as short at Boot Camps.”
  •  “Boot Camps were not made for well-behaved kids or kids that get along with everything, they were made for kids who need the help and who do have Problems in their life.” You know they have bad problems getting along with everything when you capitalize the P.
  • “The people in Egypt struggle to live in poverty for the last three decades…”
  • “Does the material offensive to community standards as defined by state law, regarding depictions of sexual conduct?” My response on paper: Please read this sentence alone. Does is make sense to you? If so, please explain it to me.
  • “Joe Flacco (quarterback for the Ravens) recently restructured his contract; the result made him the most paid player in NFL history.” So…he gets paid more often? A few times a week maybe? How often do the rest get paid? Nobody has been paid more times than this man!

I have more where these came from, so check back with me soon.







About caverns of my mind


4 responses »

  1. I miss these!

  2. As someone who HAS read T(r)opic of Cancer, I can safely say it is NOT about cancer. It was basically one long stream of consciousness with some prostitutes (also Problems) thrown in.


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