Skip to content

Course Syllabus for Fall Research Class

August 1, 2012

[School Redacted]: Introduction to Research

Course Description:

You have access to research tools undreamed of as recently as thirty years ago. If you know what to look for and how to look, in a few months you can master knowledge that once would have taken the world’s best scholars years. But are you a good researcher? Can you ask the right questions in the right way and put your findings to the test? Can you assemble existing knowledge  and then create new knowledge that people can actually use?

In this course you will do exactly that. Working under cognitive apprenticeship to your professor, you and your classmates will form a learning community to achieve a single book-length scholarly research project. Together we will study a book, Tanith Lee’s Don’t Bite the Sun, which has real literary but has not been much studied by scholars. We will use library and internet resources to gather all existing scholarship and contextual information on this book, edit and expand Wikipedia’s general coverage of the book, its author, and its literary context, and then do primary textual scholarship on the book, using research tools ranging from traditional analysis to computer stylometry. Finally, we will assemble all our scholarship into a book which will be a free public resource. Each of you will take a leading role in the research, documentation, and publishing of our findings, and will be credited as a co-author.

In the process you will practice extensive basic research and strongly develop your writing skills.

You will narrow broad questions down into researchable ones, locate and evaluate a wide variety of sources, write annotated bibliographies and literature reviews, prepare ongoing plans for further research and progress updates, and write and edit chapters and appendices. This is a writing-intensive course: no matter how exciting our findings, unless we can present them effectively, no one will benefit. Be prepared for extensive workshops and revision.

You will be graded on the strength of your ongoing project participation, your research bibliographies, your analysis, your contribution to a relevant Wikipedia page, the book chapter you contribute, and a final analytical statement about the work performed.

Required Texts:

Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference (6th ed.). New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007.

Lee, Tanith. Don’t Bite the Sun.

Course Policies

  • Be professional, as you will have to be in your professional life.
  • Do all assigned work on time. If for some reason you can’t, notify me immediately, before its absence will affect the rest of the class. Don’t force other people to carry the project.
  • Attend every class session. Don’t force other people to carry the project.
  • Be prepared. Participate actively in discussions and in-class work. Don’t force other people to carry the project.
  • Ask questions when you do not understand. Keep asking until you do understand. Don’t force other people to carry the project.
  • Do your own work (see Academic Honesty policy link above). Don’t force other people to carry the project.
  • Your work willbe workshopped. The day before workshops, bring 20 copies to class.
  • I am happy to accommodate any special needs or protected conditions. If you require accommodations, please contact the Learning Access Program.

Grading Policy

 I will keep track of your ongoing contribution. If you complete all assignments on time at an acceptable standard of quality and no more, you will earn a C. If you complete all assignments on time at a high standard of quality while setting an example of energy, creativity, and scholarly rigor, you will earn an A. If you miss deadlines or turn in sloppy or unusable work, your grade will suffer accordingly.

Grades will be assessed using a 1000-point scale. Late work will be fined 10% of total score, while missing work will get a grade of 0. You do the math. The table below will convert points into grades:

931-1000 = A 901-930 = A- 871-900 = B+ 831-870 = B
801-830 = B- 771-800 = C+ 731-770 = C 701-730 = C-
671-700= D+ 631-670= D 601-630= D- 0-600 = F
Participation 5 points/class. -1 to -5   for poor participation, lateness, absence.
Online   Work (memos, etc)Progress Report 150 points total25 points
Wikipedia   ArticleAnnotated Bibliography 1

Annotated Bibliography 2

Ongoing Article Revisions

150 points25 points

25 points

25 points

Book   ChapterAnnotated Bibliography 3   & Chapter Research

Chapter Plan

Initial Draft

Peer Editing

Analytical   Statement

200 points50 points

20 points

50 points

50 points

100 points


Schedule of Classes (Dates subject to change; readings assigned weekly)

Thu Sep 6 Introduction. Assigned:   Readings about learning community, learning by doing, make-work. Memo 1: About Me – Your Skills and   Aptitudes.
Tue Sep 11

Thu Sep 13

Due: Memo 1. Fundamentals   of primary & secondary research. Introduction to Don’t Bite the Sun. Initial project planning.Wikipedia background   research. Establishing initial “common knowledge.”
Tue Sep 18

Thu Sep 20

Assigned: Memo 2: Initial Observations and Questions   about Book.Basic analysis of book. Formulation of broad initial research   questions.Discussion continues.  Questions of context, framing, approach.
Tue Sep 25Thu Sep 27 Due: Memo 2, initial   secondary research plans.Library visit. Assembling   secondary research. Annotated bibliography 1 assigned.
Tue Oct 2Thu Oct 4 Due: Annotated   bibliography 1.  Deadline to withdraw. Groups assigned.Discussion and reading:   Wikipedia articles. What do we have that they lack? Memo 3: What Makes a Wikipedia Article Good?
Tue Oct 9Thu Oct 11 Wikipedia articles   assigned. Annotated bibliography 2 assigned on articles.Memo   4: Wikipedia Rule Reports.   Discussion of Wikipedia rules and formatting requirements. Discussion of   synthesis.
Tue Oct 16Thu Oct 18 Due: Annotated   bibliography 2. What’s going in the articles?Computer lab: workshop on   early-stage article drafts.
Tue Oct 23Thu Oct 25 Class canceled for   one-on-one meetings. Bring article problems to me.Due: Wikipedia article in   draft form.

Workshop: developed   drafts.

Tue Oct 30Thu Nov 1 Preceptorial advising –   No class. Due: Publish Wikipedia article.Revision begins.   First-round edits with your Group.   Primary scholarship begins. Chapters sketched and assigned.
Tue Nov 6

Thu Nov 8

Due: Memo 5: Chapter Plan for Scholarship/Research. Assigned:   annotated bibliography 3/chapter research.Ongoing work on chapter.
Tue Nov 13Thu Nov 15 Ongoing work on chapter.   Due: Bibliography 3/chapter research.Ongoing work on chapter.   Due: chapter plan.
Tue Nov 20Thu Nov 22 Ongoing work on chapter.Thanksgiving – No class
Tue Nov 27Thu Nov 29 Due: Journal 5: Research For My Major. Writing lab / library class.Due: Annotated   Bibliography, Outline. Workshop.
Tue Dec 4Thu Dec 6 Discussion. Due: Initial   draft of book chapter.Workship. Peer editing.
Tue Dec 11 Last day of class. Due: Final   chapter draft, analytical statement.Finalized term grades are   due before the 21st.

If we have produced an   adequate book, it will be finished and freely available to the public as an   ebook by early January, at which point you may wish to add it to your resume   as a project credit.


From → Teaching

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: