The final research project is a substantial portion of your grade (10% for the proposal, 30% for the final submission). As I mentioned on the syllabus and elsewhere on this blog, the nature and topic of these final projects will be negotiated in conference with me during the first weeks of class, so it’s important to set up a meeting as soon as possible.
Your final project can take a range of forms. It can be an annotated bibliography; a fan project (video, website, music); an interview with one of the authors; a creative project (a short story); or a more traditional final paper. Whatever the genre, format, or content, however, the final project must do the following:
- It must reflect research you have conducted in Special Collections. In some cases, and depending on how extensive the collection is that you’re working in, you may need to supplement your archival research with other research (biographies and other secondary sources, online resources, etc.), but your research questions must emerge from your engagement with primary sources from the archives.
- Your research question should reflect your own interests and passions (as students, scholars, engaged citizens), but it should also be of interest to other smart, general readers (like those in the class). You should always be prepared to answer the “So what?” question.
- Your final project should be carefully prepared, free of jargon, typographical errors, or technological problems. If you’re working on this project by yourself, get someone else to proofread, watch, or listen to your final version.
- Make sure your final post is private. We’ll be discussing how to get permissions from authors so that your post can eventually be made public, but that process will take longer than a single quarter.
- Your final post must include a bibliography. I urge students to learn how to use Zotero for this purpose, especially those who are graduate students or planning to pursue graduate study. Citation style is up to you, although it’s probably best to use the style most frequently used in your home discipline (APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA). Just be consistent within your final post.
- Some of you have asked how long the final project should be. If it’s a conventional research paper, I expect it to be at least 12 pp. If it’s in a different format (a zine, podcast, etc.), that’s a trickier question to ask. Whatever format, whatever length, however, it has to reflect substantial research in the archives and engagement/analysis of the materials.
- Final projects must be posted on the website by 10 December.
As for specific topics, I’ve posted a list of possible topics elsewhere, but you are — as always — encouraged to strike out on your own!
NB: A one-page proposal for the final project will be due on Friday, 18 October 2013. That proposal should include your research questions, a summary of what you’ve found in the archives that will allow you to explore these questions (and if necessary information about secondary sources), a bibliography that includes archival materials you’re using.
Your proposals will be evaluated by me, Dr. Cheris Kramarae and Dr. Joan Haran. Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of originality, relevance, feasibility, and writing. The evaluation committee will determine two things:
- Which student (only one) will participate in the conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin on Friday, 11/8.
- Which four additional students will participate in the opening session of the Sally Miller Gearhart “Worlds Beyond Worlds” Symposium (http://csws.uoregon.edu/wp-content/docs/Misc/40th_Celebration_Description.pdf) on 9 November 2013.