Hi, I'm Ms. Finnigan

I taught high school literature and composition for ten years at an online, Catholic, classical academy. To be honest, I didn't like teaching research papers: All the emphasis in the curriculum was placed on technical skills, like how to cite a source.

Technicals skills are important but not as important as learning how to find real information. My approach in this class is based more on my personal opinion than in any other class that I teach. Here's what I believe: Students should be taught about the reality of the age in which we live. Students should be armed with the knowledge of how powerful corporate and political interests aim, by their own admission, to shape the information environment and how they go about doing that. It is for this reason that we must treat all information, whether seen on the nightly news or on our favorite "red pill" site, with a healthy does of skepticism and look at it with a critical eye. So in this class, I'll be teaching researching, writing, and critical thinking, with a touch of media studies.

The emphasis in this class will be on researching to answer a question, keeping an open mind, finding good information, and examining a variety of perspectives.

This course teaches students how to write a research paper in our day: a time when there has never been greater access to information nor a greater effort to control it.

Hopefully the lessons learned in this class will be useful for a lifetime!

The course teaches:

  • how to choose a research question/topic
  • why it's important to have intellectual curiosity and keep an open mind
  • the challenges of living in the "Age of Information," with some case studies to demonstrate the difficulty in finding reliable, unbiased information
  • how to tell the difference between a primary source and a secondary source, news and narrative, fact and opinion
  • guidelines for vetting sources
  • why libraries are still extremely useful
  • how to search for information without interference from corporate algorithms
  • how to take notes, draft your paper, integrate quotes, and document sources

Recommended for students in grades 10th-12th.

Available January 8, 2024