Consulting with school resources

Final paper project – overview

by John Bandler

This page is about consulting with school resources such as the writing center and library staff.

I am an adjunct instructor at a few different academic institutions. That means I am part-time, and I have another full time job (or a few it seems).

As an adjunct teaching a course on cyber and law, I have built many resources for you on writing and research, and I will provide extensive individualized feedback, but there is only so much I can do. Also, I am not teaching a course on writing and research, but those are important life skills I want to help you build.

Why consult with school resources?

If you are a student at an academic institution (college, university, law school) that means there are many full time faculty and staff, and probably some of them are experts in assisting students to develop their writing and research skills. Many of them are eager to help students learn. Perhaps that is what they are paid to do, as a full-time job.

Therefore, a part of the final paper project is that you consult with your school's library staff and writing center (if available). You will summarize those consultations in the last section of your final paper.

When should you consult with school resources?

Ideally, you should consult with school resources early and often.

Never wait until the last minute because they may be unable to accommodate your rush and you will not have time to implement their guidance anyway.

Prepare for and value their time. The more work you do before the consultation, the better they can assist you. Have work done before you consult them so you can ask for advice to move further or get unstuck. They are busy, so make good use of their time and expertise to improve your research, paper, knowledge, skills.

The purpose is to help you learn and improve.

And remember that they are not there to tell you your work is sufficient, to give you a stamp of approval, a grade, or to allow you to stop work and rest on your laurels. They are there to try guide you to improve and improvement is always possible.

  • Ask them things like "How can I improve my  [research, writing, editing, citation, etc.]".
  • Never ask them questions like "Is this good enough?" or "Am I done?"

Your summary of the meetings for the paper

You will need to summarize when, who, and what you got out of it, and whether it was helpful or not, and why. See the final paper assignment instructions.

In your final paper, After the references section you will have a "Student comments" section. In that comments section you will:

  • List your consultation with the school library, including date, time, person consulted, and summarize how it went for you.
  • List your consultation with the writing center, including date, time, person consulted, and summarize how it went for you.
  • If you did not consult them (as required by this project) indicate why and with good detail.
  • Summarize how this submission and the process went for you, and what you learned from the process.

Your school's centers, resources, and personnel may vary

All schools I teach at have a library and library personnel. Not every school has a writing center (e.g. the law school does not). Figure out what your school has, what things are called, where they are, what services they offer, and get to know someone there.

Some schools have made cutbacks. Remaining staff may feel overwhelmed.

Whatever your school's situation, approach things properly for a better result. Be tactful, collegial, respectful, and prepared.

Many personnel are excellent, but maybe you will find someone on a bad day, or maybe your approach could have been better.

Consult early in the process (not at the last minute), be collegial and prepared, and try get whatever assistance you can get.

Remember the goal

The goal is to improve yourself, your research, your writing, your paper. So don't do this just to "check the box" and meet a requirement. Do it so you get something out of it.

Why did I create this page anyway?

I created this page so that students know what they need to do, and so that they get the best result while doing it.

Hypothetically speaking, suppose one school I teach at has a library that used to advertise a multitude of library services for all students, including individual consultation sessions. I would naturally point students to those advertised services because that is a service they are entitled to. But then suppose a library staff person tells me to stop sending students to the library for that individualized assistance. And they suggest -- to save library staff time -- I schedule some class time for group instruction from a librarian. Of course, class time is already booked solid, and my intent was for students to get individualized assistance from a professional librarian. Sort of like part of the college learning process from full time experts on research. Anyway what is a part-timer like me to do. And perhaps it is no fault of the library and they experienced severe cutbacks. One good thing is the library is now more accurate about the services they offer and what they cannot offer.

Again, most librarians will be delighted to meet with a student to help show how to properly use library resources. To show students that research is not just going to Google and Chat GPT. But some libraries are overwhelmed or otherwise unable to provide individualized assistance.

So this page tries to give good advice to students to get whatever help might be available from their school.

The phases

Writing resources include

Research resources include

  • Start with what is already a part of this course, including assigned reading!
    • Course book
    • Syllabus materials
    • This website
    • Laws, statutes, regulations, cases
  • Then look for materials the above reference
  • Then look for other reliable sources
  • The school's library.

Other links

Posted 5/26/2023 based on years of teaching. Updated 8/30/2023