Student having difficulties in writing term paper
Conversation：term paper of bird migration
Listen to a conversation between a student and his Biology professor.
S: Dr. Russell, I was hoping to discuss my term paper with you I'm getting a little bit stuck here.
P: Of course, so...what do you have so far? What's your topic?
S: Well, I wanted to write about bird migration, but I'm having trouble finding enough sources.
P: You're having trouble finding sources on bird migration
S: No, actually, on the particular aspect of bird migration that I want to write about.
The thing is, I wanted to write specifically on early theories of bird migration...describe some of the theories. Like how Aristotle thought that birds changed into different species during the winter. Or how other naturalists thought that bigger birds carried smaller birds to warmer spots for the wintertime. But I've only got a couple of books to work with right now.
P: Hm...I have to admit that it's an interesting topic, and you certainly seem excited by it. But remember I told you all to ask yourselves how your topic is going to help you show that you can apply what you've learned this semester. A summary or description is not really what I'm looking for as much as your analysis of a certain topic.
S: I guess it's not really what we're supposed to do, huh
P: Right. So, how about we think about some other ideas for your paper. I mean you don't need to discard the idea completely... but... take a really different focus. Um... for example...you could present what you think are some reasons-the rationale-behind some of the erroneous theories early naturalists had. But, you'll be supporting your views with current research; those are the sources you'll need to seek out.
S: Ok, I think I see what you're saying. So, like today...today we know that lots of small birds migrate at night, but maybe `cause people didn't see them-didn't see the small birds migrating-they only saw bigger birds, like geese migrating during the day. They thought that the big birds were carrying the small ones under their wings.
P: There you go! That's exactly what I mean. You're showing that you're thinking about the topic, not just telling me what you read.
S: Ok, I also have a really cool example of a migratory bird that I'd like to discuss in my paper. It's the Common Poorwill—I mean it seems that some Ornithologists believe that the Common Poorwill really does hibernate instead of migrating-that it's maybe the only bird that does.
P: If I were you, I would stick just with migration research. Remember, this is only a 15-page paper.
S: Ok, I see your point.
P: But it's great that you're finding this all so interesting. I want you to come back to see me in a week so we can take a look at the new direction in your paper and evaluate the sources you've found in the meantime.