Written by Jade Liu
And...there is no real answer to this. How can there be? Before I get further into this, I'd just like to point out a few facts about R&C courses.
- All R&C classes are coordinated in such a way that they all have the same amount of reading, writing, and research projects. They are preset in the number of readings you need to do, number of short essays, long essays, and research papers that you will have to write, the library resources that you will have to know, etc.
- Most R&C classes are taught by advanced graduate students and/or recent PhD's who are staying behind as lecturers for a couple of years. And they will be teaching a topic related to their own research interest. This means that for the most part, they have not taught the same course before, and there will be very few students who have taken their class before.
- For the above reason, there is no data saying which instructors are better and which classes are easier. And the topic will always differ from section to section and from semester to semester even within the same department. Some departments are more popular than others, but it has nothing to do with it being "easy" or "hard" or who is teaching.
In addition, we all have different interests and writing styles. Some students (like me) can stink at literary analysis and excel in ethnographic research papers. And don't forget that if you really enjoy what you're doing, it won't feel like work. So when choosing an R&C class, look at the topic and ask yourself some questions.
Do you enjoy reading this style of literature? And I mean literature in the scholarly sense as well (studies, critiques, research). Do you enjoy reading about this subject matter? Is the style of writing expected in this discipline suited to your own writing style? These are some questions to guide you. If you don't know the answer, it's not a big deal. Classes can often surprise you. Some of the best classes I've taken have been ones that I never expected to enjoy. And by going out of your comfort zone, you might just discover a new area of interest, a new strength that you never knew about.
Another resource is the departmental website. Professors, lecturers, and graduate students often have their research interests posted, and that will tell you which direction their course is likely to take. Some departments will also have detailed course descriptions, reading lists, and even course syllabi posted under "courses."