Research Draft and Plan

We are now moving into the serious researching and writing phase of HNRS 110. This week you’ll begin working in earnest on a research draft. Next week (November 1-5) you’ll meet with either Professor Sample or Daniel Anderson to discuss these drafts. And shortly after that, you’ll complete a research plan that outlines your next moves for the research project. The research draft is worth 10% of your final grade, and the research plan is worth 5% of your final grade.

Research Draft

This is a 6-page draft that illustrates the kinds of “research problems” (see Booth 51–65), claims, argumentation, and evidence that scholarly sources are currently articulating in relation to your own research project. The research draft should accomplish two goals: (1) engage at least 2–3 sources (see Booth 84–100) relevant to your research agenda in order to (2) articulate an expanded version of what The Craft of Research calls your “research problem” (see Booth 51–65). Your objective here is to formulate your own argument and practice synthesizing sources effectively, by bringing them into a dialogue with one another. The draft should include an MLA-styled bibliography of the sources you cite in the draft.

There are various ways you could accomplish these goals. For instance, you might present one major source in detail and explain its position on several issues in relation to other sources pursuing the same or related research problems. Or you might identify and introduce a key research problem shared by several sources and summarize their positions, noting important differences in the claims made and evidence used. Or perhaps you might present a key issue or point of contention and analyze 2–3 sources’ positions in some detail.

Regardless of your approach, this draft should actively engage your sources and bring them into to dialogue with one another. All of this should be framed by the broader implications of your research problem. Who are the main stakeholders in the topic, and how do their perspectives differ? Whose point-of-view is privileged or validated by competing stories? What controversies and problems are central to your topic? What questions do you want to ask about this topic? How or why are the answers to these questions significant? How will your project challenge or supplement the research problems of other scholars working on this topic?

Deadline: 24 Hours before your scheduled meeting with either Professor Sample or Daniel Anderson, email your research draft to whichever one you are meeting with during the week of November 1-5.

Research Plan

Your research plan is a 3-page document that builds upon your conference with either Professor Sample or Daniel Anderson. The research plan begins with a precise restatement of your research problem, continues with a summary of the salient points you took from your conference, and concludes with a detailed plan of what you need to do in the next several weeks to conduct the rest of your research. You must be as specific as possible. Your plan must be accompanied by a bibliography of at least 6 relevant sources, of which at least 4 must be peer-reviewed. The plan should follow correct MLA citation form.

Deadline: 48 hours after your meeting with either Professor Sample or Daniel Anderson, your research plan is due, via email.

About Professor Sample

Mark Sample is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at George Mason University, where he researches and teaches contemporary and experimental literature, electronic literature, graphic novels, and videogames.