12.1: Research and Proposals

Today’s Plan:

  • Library Research Presentation
  • Proposal Project
  • Homework

Proposal Project

In Thursday’s class you will sign up for meeting times with me next week. Before we meet, I will ask you to submit a final paper proposal. I would like these proposals to be completed by Monday, November 13th at 11:59pm. This is a bit of a change from the time line I laid out last Thursday while introducing the final papers:

  • November 14th, Proposal due
  • November 21st, Drafts of papers due for Peer Review
  • November 22nd, Drafts of papers due for Santos comments
  • December 3rd, Final papers due to be eligible for resubmission [note: resubmission is only possible if a draft was turned in on Nov 22nd]
  • December 8th, Absolute final day to turn in a paper

The proposal for the final paper is a more focused than the proposal you wrote at the beginning of the semester. This time around I will ask you to hone in on a research question and provide me with an annotated list of sources that you will use in the final paper. On Thursday, I stipulated two requirements for the proposal:

  • That the proposal pose a question that you do not already know the answer to (and you shouldn’t have a deep emotional investment in knowing the answer to–ask a question that might surprise you)
  • That the proposal uses at least 8 sources. 2 of these sources should be academic, 3 of these sources must be academic if you want to qualify for an A

I have created a template for the proposal that I would like you all to use.

But before I share that with you, I want to explain something. I mentioned last week that you might conduct primary research: a questionnaire/survey, an interview, and experiment or observation, in place of some sources. You’ll notice an area in the template marked “primary research.” If you want to do primary research, then here is where you describe to me what you think you want to do. Essentially, I would like you to write up a methodology. If you want to do an interview, then find an interview on a similar subject, cite it, and use it to help develop the interview questions. I want to see those questions up front. Same thing with a survey–there’s readings for next class regarding surveys listed below.

If you develop and conduct a survey, then I will count it as two to three non-academic sources in your final paper (and I will specify the amount after I’ve read the proposal and during our conference).

Finally, you will notice that the proposal calls for an annotated bibliography of at least 5 sources. This means that by the time you turn in your annotated bibliography on Monday, I expect you to have read, summarized, and analyzed 5 sources. This might sound like a lot, but you should have already most of this work: you are drawing on an article you have already written that should have contained three sources (you should re-read those, but they are hopefully fresh), you read one source for homework in preparation for today’s class, and you are reading another source for homework tonight in preparation for Tuesday’s class.

Since I am asking you for an annotated bibliography, I want to clarify what I consider an annotation. I consider an annotation as a 150-250 word, two paragraph, thing. The first paragraph of an annotation provides the reader a summary of the piece. This summary should clarify when the piece was written, why the piece was written (what is its purpose, its thesis), the method or evidence the author of the piece uses to prove her point, and (possibly) what the author hopes the point will lead us to do differently (sometimes this is different than the thesis, sometimes it is the same thing).

The second paragraph of an annotation is more of a reflection on the significance of the piece to your project. Why is this source important to you? Does it help show that there is a problem? Does it critique a popular solution to the problem that you don’t think will work? Does it provide some meaningful statistics regarding what people think about the problem, or what people think about a proposed solution? Does it offer a unique perspective on why something is good? Or bad? Does it lay out survey questions that you would like to ask (maybe to see if you get the same answers, or different answers?)? In other words, the second paragraph is where you start thinking about the source and telling me how it fits into your project.


There’s two (or maybe 3) things for homework:

  1. As a follow up to our library activity, find and annotate a peer-reviewed, academic source that you might use in your paper
  2. Read the following guides on constructing surveys (they are short): Harvard Guide, Purdue OWL question types to avoid. Also, be ready to tell me what a Likert scale is
  3. If you haven’t, read the Booth .pdf I shared on Thursday. Please read the text and come prepared to discuss it in Tuesday’s class. By “prepared,” I mean that you should have two points in the text that you think are significant and you are prepared to tell us why they are significant (obviously, significant can mean any number of things here). Furthermore, you should prepare one question to ask about the reading.
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