research project

Purpose

This project is assigned in order to:

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Teach the research process and give you a chance to show me what you know
assess your ability to articulate a position and construct a complex argument using external sources to support your position.
Give you additional practice and feedback in engaging with external sources and using them as support
Help you think about a real problem and hopefully make the world better
Assignment

In 9-11 pages of text (not including title page and references), identify a problem and offer a nuanced, comprehensive approach to address it.

Components

The final paper should include:

An introduction and a clear, focused thesis that identifies the problem and your proposed solution
A body section that clearly and thoroughly explains the problem and why it is a problem.
A body section that clearly and thoroughly explains your proposed solution, its component parts or steps, and its implications.
A strong conclusion
Supporting evidence from reputable external sources. You must use at least 8 external sources. These restrictions apply:
you must use at least 4 peer-reviewed sources (academic journals or books)
websites must be reputable sources
Things to Think About

I want you to choose a topic that is engaging to you, so I want it to be a problem that you are affected by. This could be anything at all–a local community problem, something that you think needs to be changed at your work, your school, in your community or state, or even with your group of friends. It can be anything at all–a Supreme Court ruling, a law that was passed to solve a problem, a city policy that was enacted that’s affected the spaces in which you live. It can be a policy at your school, or a solution implemented at your work that you have an opinion about. Just make sure that you can write enough about the the problem and propose a comprehensive solution in 10 pages.

This paper can build on the work you’ve done in previous papers if you wish, but you may also choose a brand new problem to write about as well. Thinking up the topic is one of the hardest parts of this paper, but you can do it. Talk to lots of people about problems and solutions–talk to your friends, your family members, your coworkers, people you see at the coffee shop, and fellow students.

Make sure that the sections of your paper have clear topic sentences that evaluate part of the solution, then explain your evaluation. Use examples as evidence, as well as other research you might find. Make sure to cite your sources, and if you have any questions, check the resources in Unit 0. If you have further questions, contact me.

DO NOT wait until the end to do the work on this paper, or you will not produce a paper that is adequate. We’ll have check-ins throughout the remaining weeks of the term, so make sure you’re working on this.

Please submit this as a Word doc (.doc, .docx). Have fun!

Remember, if you need help or aren’t sure how to start, reach out for some help! I LOVE meeting with students, and will happily meet with you via ConferZoom during my office hours or any other time. I enjoy coaching students through their assignments, but you have to take the first step and contact me.

Final Research Project Assignments/Components

There are several different assignments that will lead up to the final production of this paper. I’ve split the whole project into these smaller tasks to help you and to teach you the process of researching. The assignments are listed below, and each assignment link will take you to the assignment embedded in the week it is assigned. All of them link back to this page.

FRP Component 1: Brainstorming

10 points, due Week 6 on 9/27

Use any brainstorming method you want, but submit it to me so I can see evidence of your brainstorming. If you did a freewrite on a blog, submit the link. If you did a freewrite in Word, submit it as a .doc or .docx. If you drew all over a sheet of paper or on a whiteboard, take a picture and submit that.

Included with your picture/brainstorm, include a paragraph of self-reflection on your brainstorming method(s). How well did your method work for you? What worked well and what didn’t? Did it yield the results you were hoping for? What did you figure out and what do you still need to figure out?

FRP Component 2: Preliminary Research Review

10 points, due Week 7 on 10/4

Find 5 different sources that are related to the problem you selected to research. It can be global (global warming, ocean plastic), national (Affordable Care Act, upcoming national election), local (Redlands train project, etc.) or it could be related to you personally. It could be about a religious issue, or it could be a problem related to a hobby or personal interest you have. Whatever it is, do some preliminary research on it to expand your vision of the topic.

Look for articles that deal with problems in your area of interest. As you read, consider what problem you might want to try to solve for the research project.

Find 5 reputable sources that are related to your topic, list them (you can just put the link to them if you want) in a Word doc (with your name on it—just like a paper), and for each, write 1-2 sentences (no more) about what the article is about or its main idea. That’s it!

This is the preliminary research to help get you thinking about the specific problem you might want to write about within your topic and how you might frame it.

FRP Component 3: Thesis and Research Question

10 points, due Week 8 on 10/11

Simply write your thesis and your research question and submit.

FRP Component 4: Research Plan

20 points, due Week 9 on 10/18

First, you will write approximately one paragraph on what your plan is for researching your topic. The kinds of sources you plan to use should be listed in as much detail as you are able to give. What kinds of sites will you mine? Where do you anticipate you’ll get some of your information? From different places? What kinds of sources will you need? Articles? Non-profit websites?

This is meant to be an aid to your research by getting you to think in advance about what you need and where, how, and when you might access these sources.

Lastly, you should include a list of tasks that you know you need to accomplish, with dates by when you want to accomplish them. Use the due dates as a guide, but don’t just reproduce the assignment list. Use this opportunity to make a helpful tool for yourself that will guide you through the completion of this project.

FRP Component 5: Thesis & Main Section Topic Sentences

20 points, due Week 10 on 10/25

Now that you’ve been developing your thesis and doing some research, it’s time to get more specific. For this assignment, simply write (and label) your thesis and the topic sentences of your main sections. You should have at least 4 topic sentences but can list many more than that if you wish.

FRP Component 6: Annotated Bibliography Part 1

40 points, due Week 11 on 11/1

You will write 3 entries for your annotated bibliography. This work is intended to be a research aid. Overall for this paper and the annotated bibliography, you must use at least 4 academic journal articles, 2 reputable web sources (does not include sources from databases), and 2 miscellaneous sources.

You will create an annotated bibliography in APA style that contains:

Your problem, labeled and clearly stated in 1 sentence.
Your research question, labeled and clearly stated in 1 sentence.
3 complete entries; each entry will contain:
bibliographic reference entry (double-spaced)
annotation below the reference entry (single-spaced), which will include:
very brief source synopsis (no more than 2 sentences)
very brief source evaluation (no more than 2 sentences)
a sentence that identifies the role the source is likely to play in your own research

Use the template in the Week 11 Module to complete this assignment.

FRP Component 7: Rough Draft

50 points, due Week 13 on 11/15

You will submit a full draft of your paper for comments both from me and from your colleagues. You should submit a completed draft of between 9-11 pages.

FRP Component 8: Peer Review

25 points, due Week 14 on 11/22

This assignment will consist of engaging in peer review of your colleagues’ papers and critically engaging with their text. You will offer insight, ask difficult questions, and use the Final Research Project rubric as a guide to ask them questions and provoke further thought.

In addition, you will receive comments from your colleagues and should read them and engage with their comments thoughtfully. The deliverable of this assignment will include:

The comments you supply to your colleagues about their papers
A brief and honest self-reflection on the peer review and what you learned through it that you can apply to your own research project.
FRP Component 9: Annotated Bibliography Part 2

40 points, due Week 14 on 11/22

You will write 3 more entries for your annotated bibliography and add them to the first three for a total of six. This work is intended to be a research aid. Overall for this paper and the annotated bibliography, you must use at least 4 academic journal articles, 2 reputable web sources (does not include sources from databases), and 2 miscellaneous sources.

You will create an annotated bibliography in APA style that contains:

Your problem, labeled and clearly stated in 1 sentence.
Your research question, labeled and clearly stated in 1 sentence.
6 complete entries (your AB Part 1 entries, with 3 more for this assignment). Each entry will contain:
bibliographic reference entry (double-spaced)
annotation below the reference entry (single-spaced), which will include:
very brief source synopsis (no more than 2 sentences)
very brief source evaluation (no more than 2 sentences)
a sentence that identifies the role the source is likely to play in your own research

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