Research Paper Writer
Research Paper Writer (Tom Snyder Productions – grades 7 & up) aims to teach the research principles you need for investigative reporting, essay writing, and research papers. The vehicle it uses to teach these skills is a simulated terrorist hijacking at which you are present. An odd choice! In Part I, you’re encouraged to take notes and to participate in the action. In Part II, you can interview different experts (psychologists, law enforcement types, hostages, etc.). Part III introduces you to the library, where you learn how to define a search, take notes, and use databases and on-line information services. This is all fine, but limited. First of all, the hijacking is the only story to report. This is not one that most students want to re-visit over and over. Why not have other choices? A little less text and more narration would help students stay focused. You also need to be pretty savvy about Windows to move around; even with some experience, you may have difficulty. There are occasional errors of grammar, which is not what you want in an educational program. Despite these problems, Research Paper Writer has its intriguing aspects. With a little more care and content, it could be a powerful tool. A note: some reviewers found the hijacker, complete with accent and an avowed allegiance to “the revolution”, to be offensive and inappropriate.
– August 1995