Jennifer W Atkinson
Using a research project from another course students refine writing skills and expand skills in accessing, identifying, and critically evaluating information. Must be concurrently enrolled in another IAS course.
Research projects can be intimidating. This course will make your task easier by breaking the process into manageable pieces while helping you develop the necessary skills to produce a thorough, high-quality paper.
Participants must concurrently be enrolled in another IAS course for which they are completing a research project (see the section on "Recommended Preparation" below for full details of qualifying projects).
Students will attend four separate workshops that help them develop skills in finding a topic, generating research questions about that topic, planning and organizing their research, gathering and evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, and integrating their findings into a well-written paper that offers a convincing solution to a significant problem. This course will also cover the logic, structure, uses, and common pitfalls of argumentation.
Recognizing that good research is often a complex and uneven process (rather than a simple, sequential procedure), this course will also ask you to consider some of the subtle ways that asking questions about a topic can influence how you draft your paper; how both setbacks and breakthroughs can send you back to the library; and how the revision process can help you identify weaknesses in your argument that need to be addressed.
Student learning goals
CRITICAL THINKING: generate compelling research questions; extend and complicate initial insights into fully-developed arguments with clearly defined stakes.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: use library databases and the internet to find relevant scholarly sources; demonstrate how evidence is relevant to your research question and how it supports your claim; put multiple sources/perspectives in critical conversation with each other.
ARGUMENTATION: present complex ideas and arguments in clear, coherent prose (this means you will develop a sensitivity to how rhetorical elements like word choice, sentence structure, and general organization shape the reception of your writing); employ a variety of argumentative strategies appropriate to the discipline, objectives and intended audience of your writing project.
REVISION: approach writing as a process, and recognize revision as a necessary component of your work. Students will be asked to reconsider, rework, reword and reorganize their writing assignment throughout the quarter.
General method of instruction
Seminar-style discussion of readings; library-research sessions; in-class writing exercises; peer-evaluation workshops.
Must be concurrently enrolled in another IAS course for which you are completing a research project. Generally, this means your project requires "outside" research (beyond the assigned class readings) and a final paper that's at LEAST 5 pages in length (roughly 1500 words) and uses a minimum of 4-5 sources. Depending on your project requirements, there may be room for some exceptions. If you are unsure of the requirements for the IAS course that requires a research project, please contact that instructor for details.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments include: - Short weekly readings - 3 writing and revision assignments to support your research project - Multiple drafts of your research project - Peer evaluation and writing workshops during our final meetings
This is a credit/no credit course. By designating this course as such, we hope to encourage your experimentation and risk-taking, while holding you to high standards for completing all work conscientiously. Thus your work will receive points for its completeness, thoughtfulness and timeliness. Incomplete or cursory work will not receive credit.