Students in my upper-level, writing-and-research-intensive courses are often required to write short reflections on their research process. In my Music and Religion class this semester, students posted one reflection per research assignment (and wrote three other blog posts in response to readings or in-class discussions about intersections between class and “real life”). I ask them to post these reflections on our course blog because they capture the process behind the “products” of the course – in this case, a series of short papers transformed into podcasts that will be released to the public weekly in 2017. Interested members of the public (as well as faculty and librarians) can use the posts to better understand how students get from point A to point Z, and students use the posts to track their own progress as they become more sophisticated, experienced researchers.

Here are the prompts I give students for the research-related blog post:


Post #1
  • In 350-500 words, write about any aspect of your current research that you find exciting, troubling, challenging, and/or illuminating. Please discuss specific sources you’ve uncovered during your research.
  • Alternatively, in 350-500 words, describe how course readings and in-class discussions have informed your first paper, referring to specific elements of your research and/or argument as evidence.
 Post #2
  • As you research your second paper, what strikes you as surprising or particularly interesting? What challenges are you facing? How are your ideas about your paper changing as you do more reading?

Post #3

  • As usual, write about challenges you’re facing, interesting leads you’re following, or your praise for/criticisms of a particular source.