Assignment 6. Due: Thursday, March 13
Major Paper #1
- Ballenger, pp. 55-76, with special attention paid to pp. 55-
- Re-read all the articles (and the advertisements) assigned in
Required writing (in a nutshell):
Develop a good "focusing question" for your research project.
Then write a paper, of, say, 750-1000 words, in which you discuss
(a) your question and (b) the research project that will grow out
of it. See "Detailed requirements," below.
In discussing your question [(a), above], explore how your
focusing question grows out of your own experiences, interests,
beliefs, and values (that is: out of your own "perspective").
Explore also how the focusing question relates to other people's
perspectives you've heard in class and--importantly--how it
relates to the ideas and perspectives in the assigned readings.
Be specific throughout, and quote from the written texts when you
In discussing the project [(b), above], be sure to address
all of these issues:
- Has enough relevant information been published? (How many
useful-looking sources has your library CD-ROM search turned up?)
- How much published information is available to you at
Mortensen Library? How much is available elsewhere nearby? How
much will you have to get through Interlibrary Loan?
- How much good information is available to you on the
Internet? Where, for instance?
- In addition to the librarians and me, what people can you
talk to for information and advice? Name at least two. (If you
don't know their names, at least describe them: "my town's police
chief," or "I'll find a professor specializing in Film Studies.")
- Some projects might involve less library research and more
direct research: surveying 100 people, perhaps, or watching every
Clint Eastwood movie. This is perfectly fine. But if your project
will be like this, it is essential that you use good methodology
in the direct research and that you explain the methodology in
this assignment. (A poorly-designed survey is worse than
useless.) Get the help of a researcher in your general field in
designing your methodology. This could be a professor, a graduate
student, possibly a good undergraduate Senior in the field.
(1) For your research paper, you'll be asked to do
serious, scholarly research, not merely a work of partisan
advocacy. Be especially careful--especially if you have
strong feelings about guns--that the focusing question you ask is
a real question, not a thinly-disguised proclamation of your
"How can we rid America of the plague of guns that is destroying
so many families?" is not a real question, for research purposes.
Neither is, "Why have the socialists been so successful in
destroying Americans' God-given right to defend ourselves?"
(2) Because a good research prospectus (such as this paper) is so
important to a successful research project, any papers with a
grade less than "High C" must be improved and re-submitted.