During the studies at the Department of International Relations, UNIDA Gontor, students will have to write various types of paper. That includes ‘skripsi, tugas, majalah dinding, seminar, and lomba penulisan ilmiah ’. In part, these will require the skills, for instance, to provide a summary and evaluation of other articles.
Many research will also involve the students in developing an argument in relation to the work of others. The most common of these, and perhaps the most important, is the research paper. In its essence, the research paper imitates the research article, an article published in a journal or book in the discipline. At this stage in the academic career, it may sound like a big challenge to write a very good paper. However, some students have written papers for their courses that, with revision, have been accepted satisfactorily. Therefore, it is certainly not impossible. More importantly, writing research paper is practice for writing that the students will produce later.
All international relations students of UNIDA Gontor are “junior researchers”. They should, therefore, see themselves as researchers when trying to write the research paper, they are learning to write like a fully-fledged researcher.
not just copy and paste
During an evaluation at the Department of International Relations, UNIDA Gontor, many of the learners thought of contributing something new rather daunting. Novelty does not necessarily mean developing a major new theory; however, it does mean that they are expected to add something to the existing body of knowledge, not just collect and repeat other people’s work.
There are many ways to express this ‘novel’ aspect. Some instances are a contribution may be a new insight in an existing debate, the application of an established theory to a new area, an expression of disagreement with a certain position argued by another writer, or an extension of a previously developed line of inquiries. There are ,of course, kinds of research writings which do not create new knowledge, known as ‘review articles’.
Others, a different kind of review that the students may have to write, however, particularly when working on their thesis proposal, is a literature review. The literature review is a piece of writing in which the learners ‘review’ previous research in a chosen field to show the reader how research-in-process relates to what has been written to date and to justify the research by showing how the learners add on or fill in the existing literature. A literature review serves to pave the way for a subsequent theoretical framework and methodology.
“My dear students, if you are unsure of the purpose of an assignment you have been set, please come to see us ,the lecturers, at the department, to clarify any misunderstanding which will certainly help you get a well-informed situation than you would by trying to guess what the lecturers or others want,” Ust. Ali suggested. “Last but not least, I want you to always use the primary sources of Islam; the Qur’an and the Sunnah,” He noted. Added if necessary are Ijma’, Qiyas, Ijtihad, Istihsan, Urf, Istishhab, Maslahah al-Mursalah, and Syadd al-Dzara`i’ as the theory (conceptual framework) to guide the students in their research. Islam always has the fundamentals to answer all social phenomena inquiries especially at the International Relations Department, UNIDA Gontor.
All the best. May Allah keep you in a highly spirited manner. Amin.
Ali Musa, a lecturer at the Department of International Relations, UNIDA Gontor.