By Travis Taylor
Baylor students have a new way to write research papers, and it doesn’t involve late nights or Red Bull.
The research paper planner, a new online tool provided by Baylor libraries, offers students a way to plan research projects and papers. By inserting the due date into a textbox on the planner’s website, students are given a 13-step timeline on how to finish their paper by a certain deadline.
Carl Flynn, director of marketing and communication for Information Technology Services and Baylor Libraries, said the planner is geared more toward undergraduates, but is available to all students who need help organizing their paper.
“This is a helpful tool for someone who’s never done this before,” Flynn said.
The purpose of the planner is to break an overwhelming paper to do list into smaller, more manageable pieces through a 13-step process. The steps begin with idea generation and progresses – from creating an outline to editing and writing a final draft. But the planner is more than just a calendar of due dates. The planner also gives tips for completing each step in the process, including how to select and focus a topic and to find sources. The planner can even send emails to alert students when the next step in the process is due.
Flynn said he believes this program will help prevent procrastination and last-minute essay writing.
By the time the paper is due and assuming students follow the steps, they will be in the final editing stage instead of just beginning to develop an idea, Flynn said.
Flynn said trying the program is the only way students can find out if the research paper planner is for them.
“Use it, take it seriously, just like you would a workout program,” He said. “It’s meant to be empowering, not depressing.”
Jeff Steely, associate dean of libraries, said the program is not intended to replace other sources for writing help such as the writing center or the success center.
“It’s not intended to replace getting personal answers,” Steely said. “But it does provide a basic outline.”
Steely said the purpose of breaking the assignment down into smaller pieces is to make assignments more approachable to students.
“Part of it is helping to realize that you can break it down, that you don’t have to write all of it at once,” Steely said.
He said the program has already received positive feedback from professors because it was available last spring, although it wasn’t advertised. The planner was piloted to all Baylor students in the spring and is now being marketed on the Baylor libraries website.
Heidi Seelke, a doctoral candidate who teaches Thinking, Writing, and Research, said she believes the new program will translate well to a number of writing classes.
“As I was introduced to the pro¬gram, I thought it would be partic¬ularly useful to procrastinators like myself,” she said.
Seelke said the writing process itself can be particularly daunting, but the planner helps to deal with the intimidation of having a big paper due. She said she is planning on introducing the program to students in her classes.
To use the research paper plan¬ner, go to planner.Bulibtools.Net.