Project #54310 - Research Paper

The books read in class:

Plascencia, Salvador. The People of Paper.
Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, 2005

Smith, Anna Deveare. Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.
New York, NY: Doubleday, 2004

Ulin, David L., Ed. Writing Los Angeles, a literary anthology 
New York, NY: Library of America, 2002



The Research Project


I'd like to begin discussing the research project which will be due the last day of the course. You have two options for this project: a traditional research paper or a web-based project. I will explain the requirements of each one separately below.

The Traditional Research Paper

This will be a 5-7 page paper, double-spaced, in which you explore in more detail some aspect of the material we have been studying. Begin by reading the section in the Purdue OWL (MLA Guidelines in Webliography) on how to develop a topic and ask a critical question. This essay will be an analytic, argumentative essay in which you carefully define a limited topic area and explore a variety of sources about that topic. For instance, if you want to stick with one text, you might choose to look carefully at "The Pedestrian" formulate a critical question about it (i.e. what is this story's place in the genre of distopian Los Angeles fiction?), seek out scholarly articles that discuss your topic, and come to your own conclusion about your question. Your paper would then offer your answer as its thesis and provide discussion about the selected passage from "The Pedestrian" as well as from your research sources to support your thesis idea.

Alternatively, you might want to look at a thematic issue, much like we did when we focused on the light of Los Angeles. You could, for instance, decide to write about the spiritual effects of the car culture of Los Angeles, about the first-world/third-world clash here, or the city's relationship to its "grown-up" cousins in the east or its black-sheep brother, Las Vegas. Again, you would need to formulate a clear critical question that your paper will seek to answer, decide which texts you will use, and read some secondary material that will help you. The secondary material can be specifically about a primary text, such as an article you find on Twilight, or it can be about your thematic issue, for instance, an article from a Psychology journal on the culture-shock experienced by new commuters or one from Time magazine about gentrification.

You need to consult (and cite on a Works Cited page) a minimum of three secondary sources for your essay and you must be very careful to cite any direct or indirect quotation of the material, any paraphrase of it, or any use of its ideas in internal parenthetical citations in the paper. 

Next week, I will post a discussion thread on which you can post topics you are considering and get feedback from all of us about them, so read carefully the OWL section on refining your subject area into a specific topic. You are required to vet this paper's thesis in the threads provided.

The paper must be submitted as an MS Word attachment to the dropbox by midnight PST on the last day of class, Thursday, February 12th.

The Web-based Project

I would like to experiment with alternative forms of information delivery. Do not make the mistake of assuming that this will be easier than the traditional format. In fact, I suspect that it will be infinitely harder because the delivery will require research, analysis, aesthetics (just as the traditional paper will) and also a high level of technical expertise. Here are the guidelines: you will probably need to acquire a web page to deliver your project. (If you have any info on this, please share.) As with the traditional paper, you will need to define a specific topic and ask a critical question. Your project will have to have a thesis, just as the traditional essay will, but your delivery of the support for that thesis can be visual, auditory, and textual. Your thesis will need to be stated explicitly, so your project will have to contain a fair amount of text (written by you), but it can be generously supplemented with source materials of various kinds: audio tracks, photographs, slides, video clips, etc.

It is very important, however, that the creativity of this option not overtake the scholarship of it. I will be looking for a clear, well-articulated, analytic, argumentative thesis, and a clear analysis of the research sources you incorporate. Simply attaching a link and leaving it to speak for itself is not going to earn a passing grade. The mission is also not to dazzle your reader with bells and whistles, but to extend the parameters of your exploration beyond the written word. Your analysis of the issue and your discussion of your sources, however, must come to me in the form of written words.

As with the traditional paper, failure to cite and credit your sources will be dealt with severely.

Also as with the traditional paper, you will need to propose your topic on the discussion thread that I will set up in the next unit. In the meantime, read the relevant sections in the sources provided under Webliography and think about what topic you want to pursue.




Post your proposed topic idea in the Unit Five discussion thread designed for this purpose. 
5-7 pages, double-spaced, 1-inch margins all around and a legible, black font (unless you are doing a Web-based project).
Include at least one text we have discussed in our course in your paper. 
In addition to the above, use at least three secondary sources and cite all sources, secondary or not.  

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 02/06/2015 12:00 am
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