I’m working on a english project and need a sample draft to help me learn.
LENGTH: At least 10 pages of text, not including References or Works Cited list (there is no specific upper limit for length of paper; the length of your paper may vary)
GUIDELINES: Please compose a paper that demonstrates your ability to pose a specific research question relating to your area of interest, and to provide the answer to that question that you arrived at through your research. Think of your audience as a relatively specialized audience, in contrast with the more general college-educated audience to whom you may have directed your writing for English 101. After all, what all of you have in common – different as your particular majors are – is a specialized discourse community of which you are becoming a member, and with which you will be communicating throughout the rest of your educational and working life.
Throughout the semester, you have been conducting research regarding your field – both the relatively general research needed for the discipline awareness report, and the more specific research necessary for the research proposal and the literature review exercise. Now, you will build upon that work by discussing what you found through your research. Was the answer that you found to your research question what you expected it to be? How? And why, or why not?
To put together this final research project, you will be combining the three major papers that you have already written, with some new research and conclusions of your own. Recall that in the past, you have written the following:
- A Discipline Awareness Essay, in which you looked at peer-reviewed scholarly articles, trade journal articles, and general-interest articles to get a sense of contemporary developments and general areas of concern in your field overall;
- A Research Proposal, in which you selected from among those general areas of interest to choose a specific topic that you would research and study this semester; and
- A Literature Review, in which you reviewed, analyzed, and commented upon relevant scholarly literature pertaining to the topic that you chose to study.
Now, for the Final Research Project, you will combine these three course elements with a fourth course element:
- A Findings Report, in which you utilize first-hand primary-source research of your own to arrive at your answer to your research question.
Remember: the Discipline Awareness Essay + the Research Proposal + the Literature Review + the Findings Report = the Final Research Project.
By this point in the semester, you have already shown your ability to read the research of others. I am hoping that, for this final project, you will show your ability to conduct some primary research of your own. Options for conducting your own research include the following:
- Interview. Whether in person, by telephone, or via e-mail, you could ask questions of, and gain answers from, someone who has knowledge of and/or experience with your topic. For example, a person studying American policy in Afghanistan or Iraq could interview a George Mason University professor whose area of expertise is modern U.S. foreign policy, or could interview a fellow student, relative, or friend who served with U.S. forces in Afghanistan and/or Iraq.
- Survey. You could use a survey form to seek out opinions, beliefs, and perspectives from fellow members of the George Mason community. For instance, a student researching the attitudes of contemporary students with regard to changes in dating norms could send out a survey asking students to share their experiences and perspectives with regard to contemporary dating.
- Ethnographic observation. You could visit a site frequented by people whose life experiences and/or interests relate to your topic. For example, a student researching issues relating to religious belief could attend a meeting of a Mason student group for whom such issues are of particular interest. By observing the group, listening to what the members of the group say, and taking careful notes regarding details of what the members of the group wear, what insider terms or key language they share, what signage or documents can be seen at their meetings, etc., you can gain a strong sense of what the members of the group find interesting and important, and can connect those perspectives with what you have already learned through your prior studies.
As the fields in which you work are diverse, you may use either APA or MLA documentation, according to your preference. Please be aware that it might be a good idea to try to utilize the form of documentation that is and will be customary for upper-level courses in your major field, and/or for written work in your future professional career. Additionally, remember the reasons for the norms of documentation in both of these documentation styles; choose one and be consistent. Do not devise your own documentation style that contains different elements of APA and MLA; a paper in “AMPLAA” will not be acceptable.
In the past, we have discussed how it is often a norm in social-science research for papers to follow a structure of IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, And Discussion) – something that is standard practice in many papers written in APA, though not in MLA. Following the IMRAD structure is not required for this assignment, though you may do so as you wish. You also have the option of titling the sections “Discipline Awareness,” “Research Proposal,” “Literature Review,” and “Findings Report,” if you like, or of giving the sections creative titles of your own.
You may draw upon your prior work for the class as you see fit; the key distinction is that, where prior work set forth the questions that you were asking, the emphasis in this final paper should be upon the answers that you found and the reasons why they matter. Whatever specific choices you make regarding how to organize and present your paper, remember that, like any other piece of writing, it will need to have a clear thesis or main idea: what answer you found to your research question, and why it should matter to your readers. And your claim should be supported by reasons for that claim; and your claim and reason should be supported by the evidence that you found in the process of your research.