Writing 109SS:
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Presentation
This assignment gives you the opportunity to present information to the class about your research project and to receive feedback from others that will help you. The idea is to draw on the ideas and the expertise of your classmates in order to enrich your research project.

In your presentation, you must

  1. provide your classmates with information about your research project, including either a handout or an overhead; and,
  2. request feedback from your classmates on a specific question, issue, or problem related to your research project.

You also must schedule a meeting with me before your presentation.

Plan to talk for no more than 5 minutes and expect to receive 5 to 10 minutes of feedback. This is not a lot of time, so you have to be focused in the information that you present and in the feedback you request.

Presentations will be scheduled throughout the quarter, and the content of your presentation will be strongly influenced by when you give it.

During weeks 4 and 5, presentations will likely focus on the following topics:

  • Deciding on a research project
  • Deciding on a method for your research
  • Finding secondary (library and Web) sources to inform your research

During weeks 6 and 7, presentations will likely focus on the following topics:

  • Evaluating and testing your research instruments (e.g., questionnaires, observation protocols)
  • Writing and revising sections of the Research Report
  • Reviewing drafts of your résumé

During weeks 8 and 9, presentations will likely focus on the following topics:

  • Analyzing data
  • Writing and revising sections of the Project Report

Research Project Proposal
The purpose of a proposal is to inform your audience about a project that is still in the planning stages, often in order to secure funding for this project. In this sense, proposals have a persuasive function and must convince readers that the research being undertaken is interesting and worthwhile, and that you have the necessary expertise to complete the project.

Your proposal should be at least 5 pages. It should include discussion of a minimum of 4 academic (i.e., peer-reviewed) sources.

Use the following sections to organize your proposal:

Statement of the Research Topic
Briefly, provide a summary or overview of your proposed research, along with a clear statement of its importance and potential benefits of your research.

Background/Literature Review
In this section, you place your proposed research within the context of scholarly theories and/or previous research done on the same topic or related topics. Your discussion should demonstrate that other researchers consider your topic important and that they haven’t yet effectively answered the research question that you are proposing to answer. In other words, you need to establish that there is a gap in the current research and that your project will fill this gap. The discussion of existing research should also serve to establish your expertise on the topic by showing that you are very familiar with the work of other researchers in the field. End this section with a paragraph that summarizes the research gap and that restates the problem or issue that you intend to study.

Research Question
In this section, provide a more detailed explanation of your research question. Discuss as well any sub-questions that may emerge from your central question. If you are planning to offer any hypotheses, discuss them here.

Study Plan
Provide a narrative in which you describe the research you plan to conduct. Explain and justify the method(s) you plan to use to gather information. Provide a clear timetable explaining when you will begin and complete your research. If there is additional secondary research that you plan to conduct, include this in your timetable as well.

Works Cited
Make sure your Works Cited section follows APA citation style. Include only works that you actually cited, and do not include any works that you did not actually read yourself.

Due Date
This assignment is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, November 1.

 

Project Report
This is the major assignment for the course, toward which most of the reading and writing assignments build. The report presents the results of the original and secondary research you have conducted throughout the quarter.
Use the following sections to organize your report (and subsections, where appropriate):

Cover Page (optional)
The cover page should include the title of the report and a relevant image.

Title Page
The title page should include the title of the report, your name, my name, the name of the course, and the date on which you submitted the assignment.

Table of Contents
List all the headings and subheadings from the document accompanied by the page number indicating where the section or subsection begins. Graphically distinguish headings from subheadings (for instance, by using bold or underlining). The headings should be listed exactly as they appear within the text. After each heading use a series of dots to lead the reader’s eye from the end of each item to the page number; align the dots vertically. List Appendices as well, including the appendix letter and title (e.g., “Appendix A: Questionnaire”).

Abstract
The abstract presents a capsule version of the full report. Its purpose is to help potential readers decide if they are sufficiently interested in the topic to read the report. Therefore your goal should be to present an accurate and concise summary. Abstracts are usually between 150-200 words and should be written after the report is finished.

Introduction
The Introduction sets up the rest of the report in that it contains a clear statement of the issue or problem being investigated and a discussion of why this topic is interesting and important

Background/Literature Review
The Background section places your proposed research within the context of scholarly theories and previous research done on the same topic or related topics. The idea is to cite relevant literature in the process of presenting the underlying theoretical and methodological rationale for your research. End the Background section with a statement of your specific research question and hypothesis and a brief overview of your study.

Method
This section should state clearly and accurately how the study was done (use the past tense). If appropriate, use the following subsections:

  • design: Tell what type of study this is (experiment, survey, field research, etc.). You may want to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the type of study you chose, making clear how you compensated for whatever weaknesses existed. Place detailed elements of your research design in appendices, which might include questionnaires, sampling procedures, timetables, instructions to research assistants, information letters to participants, observation recording sheets, etc.
  • subjects: Indicate who participated in the study, how they were selected, and who they are intended to represent. You may want to discuss any problems with sampling procedures or representability, or you can include this information in the Discussion section (described below).
  • procedures: Present a summary of the various steps in the research process. This is especially important in experiments and field research, which should give a chronological or step-by-step account of the process used in gathering information.

Results
The Results section presents the results of your research, emphasizing patterns and significant findings. Key results are often presented in the form of tables, charts, and graphs, which should be titled and labeled appropriately and accompanied by textual explanation.

Discussion
This is often the heart of the research report, in that the Discussion section analyzes the results and explains how they answer the research question or confirm or confound the hypothesis. This section can also offer alternative interpretations of the results of your research. An evaluation of research methods and procedures can be included in this section, or it can comprise a separate section (Evaluation—see below).

Evaluation (optional)
The Evaluation section provides a place to point out the shortcomings of the research, including inconsistencies and anomalies in the results. You can suggest improvements in the research design in this section.

Conclusion
Begin this section by briefly restating the hypothesis, results, and analytical highlights of your research. Continue by placing the whole project into broader perspective. Discuss the theoretical and/or practical implications of the study as well as any possible future work to be done on the topic.

Works Cited
Make sure your References section follows APA style. Include only works that you actually cited, and do not include any works that you did not actually read yourself.

Appendices
Each of your Appendices should begin on a separate page, contain its own page numbers (beginning with page 1) if it is longer than one page, and contain a title. The appendices should be lettered in alphabetical order, and should appear in the order that they are mentioned in your proposal. All appendices must be specifically mentioned somewhere in the proposal.

Formatting and presentation
Make sure your typefaces and margins are consistent throughout the report. Use bold, italic, and/or larger print where you feel appropriate (e.g., for the title and section headings). Number the pages consecutively beginning with the first page of the Introduction and ending with the Works Cited. Run the sections together on pages; that is, don’t begin a new page with each new section.

Due Date
This assignment is due at the beginning of the last class on Wednesday, December 6.