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Designing a Research ProjectSunday, October 23, 11
The “standard model:” Ignore the paper until it’s almost due. Panic. Spend 5 to 6 hours writing it the night before. Turn it in and heave a sigh of relief.Sunday, October 23, 11
On Procrastination: Fear of the unknown and the unclear Not laziness, but lack of understanding Keeps us passive until adrenaline shakes us into actionSunday, October 23, 11
Defeating Procrastination: Figure out what you don’t know Answer your biggest questions Set step-by-step goals Always do the next possible step, even if you don’t know what comes next Don’t try to accomplish a big project in one chunk.Sunday, October 23, 11
The “Project Proposal:” 1. Read the Research Project Assignment closely and carefully. 2. Answer these questions: 1. What possible topic are you thinking of exploring for the research paper? (Note: at this stage, these topics may be as developed or undeveloped as you prefer). 2. How do these topics seem to connect to the ideas present in Berger, Barthes, and/or Sontag? 3. How much, if anything, do you already know about your project? (Note: It’s OK if you know little or nothing about your topic!) 4. What kind of evidence do you think you will have to collect? 3. Plan out a Calendar of goals and work times to get you up to the ﬁrst draft.Sunday, October 23, 11
The “Project Calendar”: Week by week, plan out these things: General goals: what do you have to accomplish this week? Speciﬁc tasks: what exactly will you spend your time doing? Work times: when will you do it?Sunday, October 23, 11
A Sample Calendar: Week 7: 31 Oct to 4 Nov —Goals: Final topic choice. Majority of research completed. —By Friday the 4th (or Sunday the 6th): ——Decide on a narrow, speciﬁc topic. ——Come up with a list of 3 or 4 questions I have about that topic, to help motivate my research. ——Find at least 15 good sources I can use for my topic. —Work Times: ——Tuesday 12:00 - 4:00 ——Wedensday 3:00 - 6:00 ——Saturday 2:00 - 5:00Sunday, October 23, 11
A Sample Calendar: Week 8: 7 Nov to 11 Nov —Goals: Reading, outlining, and brainstorming. Working outline completed. —By Friday the 11th (or Sunday the 13th): ——Read all sources completely. Save at least 1 to 2 quotes from each source in a working outline. ——Decide on a working argument based on what I have read so far. ——Make sure I have sources from Berger/Barthes/Sontag that help to prove my argument. ——Make sure I meet with a librarian and chat over email with Ian about my topic and my evidence. ——Turn in a working outline by the 8th, or (if that’s too ambitious) by the 11th —Work Times: ——Tuesday 12:00 - 4:00 ——Wedensday 3:00 - 6:00 ——Saturday 2:00 - 5:00Sunday, October 23, 11
A Sample Calendar: Week 9: 14 Nov to 18 Nov ——Goals: Complete the ﬁrst draft of the paper. Let my friend / teacher / group member see it before I turn it in. Find more sources as needed. —By Friday the 18th: ——Turn all quotes in the outline into quote sandwiches. ——Rearrange the quote sandwiches and add transitions. ——Write an intro and a conclusion. ——Give paper to [X] for more feedback. ——Do extra research (if needed) to add more proof. ——Turn in to my Dropbox folders before midnight. —Work Times: ——Tuesday 12:00 - 4:00 ——Wedensday 3:00 - 6:00 ——Friday 6:00 - 11:00Sunday, October 23, 11
Notice: Nothing here is very polished or formal. The format is very ﬂexible. The main purpose is to help you plan your next few weeks.Sunday, October 23, 11