Next semester I'm taking a math class, and I hope I won't have a research paper due in there! It's been a few semesters since I've had a real math class; the last few semesters I've had an educational philosophy class and a couple of math history classes. I'm currently taking a measurement and assessment (think: testing) class.
We have tons of small writing assignments in this course along with three papers. I've already written the shortest of the three, my personal philosophy on testing and assessment, and turned it in. The second paper was a unit or lesson plan that incorporates what we have learned in class; mine turned out to be over 10 pages long, but I finished it and turned it in. I only have one paper left, the most "academic" of the three.
It's limited to 7-10 pages, so it's a "mini-review" of literature. We're required to review only peer-reviewed journal articles (like that means much anymore); I thought about writing about math testing but thought I'd settle on something a little more fun. I'm going to write about math teacher quality--how do we measure and assess how good a math teacher is, and can we determine in pre-service if a teacher candidate will be a good math teacher.
Oddly enough I found many journal articles related to this topic, a few directly but most tangentially. I printed them out to make reading them easier, but even printing them double-sided the stack is about an inch-and-a-half thick.
I doubt I'll read all of them in their entirety, rather just enough to get the flavor (as well as a few quotes). I don't have much time to read them all, the paper is due in a little over a month :-)
Once this one is turned in, I can't imagine why I'd ever need to write another such research paper again in my life. Ever.