When Research Changed My Outlook

My junior year of high school, I took English 101 at a local college. As with most college writing courses, I was required to write an argumentative paper. For this particular assignment, my professor allowed me and my fellow classmates to choose the topic. Choosing a topic to write about has never been easy for me. I enjoy writing about what is on my mind more. Since I was having such difficulty choosing a topic for my paper and because the paper accounted for a large percentage of my grade, my professor sat down with me and tried to help direct my thoughts; she encouraged me to write about something that was really important to me, but not something I necessarily knew much about. At that time, something that had been on my mind lately was the significance of a fathers’ roles upon their children both now and in the future. I have always lived in the absence of a father figure, and I had begun to wonder how much harm not having a father figure had had and would have upon my health and well-being. In fact, I was very concerned.

Although my research indicated the absence of a father figure in the life of a child produces many negative consequences for the child, there was something reassuring in educating myself about these consequences and having learned what I am up against, so to speak. I began my research by selecting scientific journal articles and browsing through university studies/graduate papers that described psychological issues that might arise in children due to the absence of a father figure in their lives. Much of this research suggested such issues could continue into adulthood if left unchecked by social support or counseling. In order to further substantiate the relationship between the absence of a father figure in the life of a child and the development of psychological issues in the child, I decided to research some of these psychological issues alone to see if research on the issues tied back to the absence of a father figure as a cause, and it did. Lastly, since every good argument has a counterargument, I read through psychological and sociology articles to identify ways in which children and their guardians can help “fatherless” children avoid psychological issues that may negatively impact the health and well-being of a child.

How did I know which research to include in my paper and when my paper was complete? I knew my paper was complete when I had laid out and described the main issues “fatherless” children or children who live without a father figure confront. For me, it was a small victory saying to the world, I have a reason for the way I feel about myself sometimes. Likewise, it was also comforting to realize that the fate realized by some children grown into adulthood does not have to be my own. I can make the changes and utilize the resources I researched to combat many issues I may encounter as a result of being “fatherless.” The key to knowing what research to include was narrowing my topic down to psychological issues arising from “fatherlessness” and impacting the health and well-being of a child as well as utilizing the “clues” or essential features of credible research. That is, I only included research from that came from a widely recognized database, had the necessary format and citation style, and that had been cited by other sources. Research lacking these features is much less credible and more objective.

In the end, what I learned from this assignment extended beyond my topic. I learned you cannot let your problems or external issues define you. You must define yourself, and you hold your future in your hands.

One thought on “When Research Changed My Outlook

  1. Your essay felt so personal! I appreciate how you were able to talk so openly about such a sensitive topic. It felt as though you were really into your research. I also appreciate how you took your time to look at credible sources for information. Most kids in high school do things without caring too much, and just research Wikipedia. I’m glad you were responsible and chose to to the right thing and look at literature from credited universities and academic journals! Taking that English 101 class really prepared you for all of the intensive research we will be doing in college. Hopefully you got s good grade on that research paper!


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