An Inefficient Collaboration

In my entire life, I never had to write a research paper with other people, and it boggled my mind when it was first brought up this semester in my Genetics Lab. It seemed pointless to me and kind of counter-productive. I mean, just imagine three people, with three very different brains, trying to conduct one synchronized research paper together, without much time to meet and compare thoughts and ideas.

It started off great because the experimentation and the data collection was actually done together. We were in complete agreement, maybe it was because there wasn’t much original thought that was needed during those parts. It was during the actual writing part that the problems I knew would arise, did.

When we actually wrote the paper, we kept bumping heads a bit. We didn’t get in each other’s space, but we left gaps and holes because we thought others would fix them. We would write a part of the intro and assume someone else would look it over and fix it a bit more, which no one got around to doing. So, for the draft, it felt like three separate people writing different parts of the research paper in different tones, so it really didn’t flow together.

The editing was much worse. We fixed the smaller mistakes easily, but to fix the entire section a piece at a time made the paper sound very redundant. When we had to add or remove sentences, we didn’t work well together. At one time, one of my group members actually texted asking if we were all working on the introduction together.

We eventually turned in the paper and it looked decent. We haven’t gotten it back, but it got me to thinking about actual research papers. Multiple people are contributing authors to research papers, but I believe it might be easier if they took months to actually experiment, research, and understand the concept. They probably all sat down to talk about the paper as well and worked on it for hours. I realized this whole concept might be ideal for actual researchers more than university students.