See the syllabus for general assignment guidelines.

Group Research Blog

Due each week by Friday, 5:00 pm (evaluated at the end of Week 6 and Week 12)

Students will form groups of 10-12 in order to collaborate on a group research blog. Students should expect to contribute original posts on a weekly basis, and to engage in discussion via comments. I will post weekly discussion questions on Blackboard to which the blog posts should respond.

The blogs will not only serve as an online archive of each student's progress in this course, but will provide a place to record ideas and resources that you're thinking of using in your research project (and proposal), as well as a forum to voice your thoughts and questions about weekly readings and topics covered in class. Group members are expected to interact with each other, commenting or replying to each other's contributions in order to engage in (and ultimately produce) an ongoing dialogue about research methods and the research process. Links and block quotes are welcome, but these should never "stand alone" -- they should always be accompanied by discussion of contents and an explanation of why they are included.

Each blog will be reviewed twice over the course of the semester—once during the first half of the semester, and once during the second half. Blogs may also be discussed in class, so always ensure your contributions to the blog are reasonably regular, and your group should be prepared to discuss their blog with the rest of the class at any point in the course. Students should LAO keep a log of their blog contributions (just date and url, in txt file format) and upload their log to Blackboard by the evaluation deadlines. Be sure to record posts and comments alike, both on your home blog and on other course blogs if you choose to be part of other groups' discussions.

Your grade for this assignment will be based on the consistency and relevance of your individual contribution to the blog. Here, "consistency" means that contributions are made on a weekly basis, and reflect a timely, ongoing engagement with weekly readings, materials, research, etc. "Relevance" means that the contribution contains one or more of the following: familiarity with course readings and other materials (lectures, group discussions, etc.), as demonstrated through the use of specific examples, author names or theoretical concepts; inclusion of themes and points that have a clear and direct relevance to research methods, their application, as well as associated issues and debates; discussion of literature, problems, ideas, examples and current events that pertain directly to your intended research topic/proposal, which includes consideration of the course readings and themes. It is therefore important that all of your posts and comments include a signature (First and Last Name), so that your work can be identified as yours

Groups can decide for themselves which blogging platform they will use, depending on familiarity and personal preference. Some good free ones to consider are WordPress and Blogger. (We advise against using Tumblr, as it can be difficult to attribute names to posts.)

Contributions will (and should) vary in terms of length and topic, but try to keep your posts brief (100-175 words) and to the point. Links and block quotes are welcome, but these should never stand alone -- they should always be accompanied by discussion of contents and an explanation of why they are included.

SSHRC Program of Work

Due Friday, Oct. 11, by 5:00 pm (via Blackboard)
2 pages, single spaced (not including bibliography) as per SSHRC guidelines

For this assignment, students will produce a two-page research proposal that follows the actual guidelines, formatting requirements and instructions that applicants must follow in completing the "Program of Study" component of the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship application. This assignment will give you a chance to start formulating your ideas (topic, thesis, methodology and research design) for the long version research proposal that is due at the end of the semester. You will also have the opportunity to get some early feedback and advice in terms of the project’s scope, design, and possible resources. Additionally, for those of you planning to actually apply for a CGS, this assignment will provide an excellent opportunity to workshop and refine a first draft of the "Program of Study" document that is a required component of your SSHRC application.

The assignment can therefore function as either an exercise in creating a mock proposal, which will help prepare you for future grant (or scholarship) applications, or a forum for crafting an actual first draft SSHRC proposal. In both cases, the assignment will allow you to hit the ground running on the key learning objectives of this course, as well as get a head start on your final assignment.

We will go over the details and requirements of the SSHRC research proposal, and set aside some time to brainstorm possible research topics, during the first few weeks of lectures. In the meantime, you can expect to include the following information in your completed assignment:
  • A description of your degree program, its research training component, and how it meets SSHRC’s eligibility criteria;
  • For thesis, major research essay or project: provide a well-structured outline of your research design, including research question, context, objectives, methodology and contribution to the advancement of knowledge.
  • Description of any relevant work experience, community involvement or other extracurricular activity.
  • Bibliography (full details for all sources cited)
For supplementary materials related to this assignment, see the "Assignment Details" page on Blackboard.

Full Research Proposal

Due Friday, Dec. 6, by 5:00 pm (via Blackboard)
3,000 - 3,500 words, excluding Works Cited

For this assignment, you will revise, extend and elaborate upon the short proposal you wrote for the SSHRC Program of Work, in order to create a fully developed research proposal on the topic of your choice. If you are completing a thesis, extended essay or project as part of your academic program, you can tackle this assignment as a first attempt at a thesis/project proposal. If you are not currently planning on undertaking a thesis or other research project, you might use this proposal to envision or even pitch a project that you might want to undertake in a professional capacity – for a community partner, at your current place of employment, or for your “dream job” later on.

Your research proposal should provide a project title and contain the following sections:
  1. Introduction: Introduce your topic and study, including thesis statement and research questions, which may or may not take the form of an hypothesis (OR suspicions OR assumptions OR bias OR hunch, depending on the disciplinary context of your proposal);
  2. Background: what got you interested in this topic, why is it worth investigating, what interest or impact will the research have, and what theoretical framework do you intend to apply to your research, analysis and discussion?;
  3. Literature Review: what bodies of literature and key texts will you include in your final literature review? Don’t forget to include literature on your method(s), as well as on the subject of your planned research;
  4. Research Methodology: be as specific as possible, and focus on a single primary research method for this assignment, though your proposal may leave room for a mix of other methods. If you’re planning on conducting human research, be sure to include a description of your plans for securing ethics approval;
  5. Contribution to Knowledge: Who are the stakeholders in your project? Who will benefit from the research you produce, and how will you ensure that your work reaches relevant audiences? Remember that the relevant audiences are not necessarily other academics.

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