Gender Studies Research Fundamentals Prof. Monica Swindle
Collaborative Research Project Assignment Details
The collaborative research project is worth 20% of your final grade.
The Research Project page contains the project assignment sheet, the film clips, a link to the group sign-up sheets and group pages with wiki workspaces. After you choose the clip you want to work on, sign up for the corresponding group and then work in your group’s campus pack wiki. For specific requirements, view the research project assignment sheet in Assignments or Module 2.
Please note that though this is a research project, it is not a report. Your research should be analytical and argumentative as opposed to simply a collection of facts.
No file needs to be submitted; simply complete all your changes by the due date of noon on July 3 rd , and I will grade your project on the wiki. You can then view your grade and comments in the Grade Center using the My Grades button.
The first step in the research process is choosing a topic.
The topic you choose will be based upon a number of factors including the reason for research, the length of the paper, the course content and any other requirements of the assignment, and your own interests.
For this assignment, you will be required to choose a topic related to gender suggested by the Persepolis film clip your group has chosen to work with. You will need to decide upon your topic as a group.
Your topic is not limited to the novel or women and girls in Iran. You are welcome to research any topic that you observe in the film clip. However, you will need to disucuss how your research relates back to the clip or the novel in your descriptions.
Brainstorming is a great way to generate a lot of potential ideas for topics about which to write.
As you are watching the Persepolis clip (you will probably need to watch it more than once), jot down all of the different issues you observe. Don’t worry about whether they will fit the assignment; just get all your ideas down on paper. Afterward, you can discard any ideas that don’t make sense or won’t work for this project.
Everyone in your group may want to brainstorm a list and then post their lists on the wiki to help choose your group’s topic.
If you research a very general topic, you will find too much information and may have trouble focusing and interpreting it. Before you start looking for sources, you will want to narrow your topic down to a specific and focused aspect of that topic to explore. This will help you construct a focused, supported, and coherent argument, which is what you need for a successful research paper; even though we aren’t writing the paper for this particular project, you still want to generate an analytical argument- an arguable claim (your thesis) and reasons supported by evidence from your research, which you will analyze for your reader.
For this project, you will narrow your topic by composing a research question. As a group, you will compose a question about your topic that focuses in on what the aspect of your topic that you want to interrogate. This question will help guide and focus your research on the issue/problem and on the possible solutions.
A good research question should be narrow but still broad enough to give you room to explore your topic.
You would not want to ask: How does violence affect women around the world because you cannot possibly research women everywhere around the world and all the different types of violence there are in a project of this type and length.
You would also not want to ask a research question like How does sexual assault affect the grade point averages and scholastic achievement of 18-year old girls who attend Roosevelt High School because it would be hard to find research on this particular population unless you did an original study, which is far beyond the scope of this project.
A better question might be What is it about the culture of college campuses that makes the rate of sexual assault so high? This question allows you to focus on a specific population, college age students, and a particular phenomenon, sexual assault on campus, about which there is enough scholarship for you to find the required number of sources and is a topic about which there is disagreement and gender is an important factor.
Your research question should also be arguable as opposed to factual.
You would not want to ask a research question like: How many women each year die of breast? This question could be answered by a single statistic, thus giving you nothing to analyze and discuss. A better question might be How does breast cancer awareness marketing take advantage of gendered notions of the body and the beauty ideal? or What accounts for the lack of awareness of the health issues surrounding breast cancer in men? Both of these questions give you room to explore the general topic of breast cancer but in a focused and specific way that allows you to examine gender as a variable for analysis (as opposed to just writing about women).
Your next step is to determine whether there is sufficient material to proceed with this topic.
I put in “campus*” and “’sexual assault’” in the Advanced Search of Academic Search Premier (a good general database with many full text articles). I found 252 sources. Because I found so many sources (I could never browse through them all) I may want to narrow my search terms even more. When I add “gender” to my search, I get 16 sources, a more manageable amount.
Now, I would have to see which of those dealt especially with my topic and perhaps refine my search and re-do it, but there is clearly enough evidence for the requirements of this project.
Each person in the group must find five different relevant sources. To avoid repeating sources, you may want to break down the issue and the solutions into different parts or aspects.
No more than one of your sources may be a popular source, and you may not use your textbook, so you will need to use the library databases for locating scholarly articles or the library catalog for locating scholarly books. There is a link to the UMSL library page in the Research Project section on MyGateway. If you are unfamiliar with scholarly research, you can set up an appointment to meet with a research librarian or ask a question online by chooseing “Research Help” on the library homepage.
Do not just google your topic; you need to be sure you are using reliable scholarly sources. And Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Anyone can change the content on Wikipedia.
Formulating a list of search terms as a group may help you find appropriate sources.
Once you find adequate search terms, you will want to skim the titles and abstracts of the sources that comes up to find five that will be useful for your topic. Before you spend a lot of time reading these articles, you will want to check with the other person and make sure you have not duplicated any sources.
Next you will need to read the sources in their entirety, possibly more than once. You must read and annotate the whole article, not just the abstract, and I do check! As you are reading, you will want to highlight and take notes on the article to understand it thoroughly and to prepare to write your annotations. Do not choose articles that are highly technical or beyond your level of understanding or that are so long that you will not read them. However, you might find an article which contains only a section that pertains to your topic, in which case you may skim the rest of the article in order to have an idea of the overall argument and so that you can summarize the source for the first part of your annotation.
Next, you will write a bibliographic entry for each source, using MLA or APA (directions are at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ ).
Though not required, I would recommend you follow the style your discipline uses to get practice with documentation in your field.
Different members of your group may choose to use different citation styles on your annotated bibliography, but when you write your description, you will want to choose a single style and be consistent.
In academia, there are conventions to which we must adhere; thus, you will be graded in part on formatting and citation according to the style you choose, so take the time to do it right.
After each entry, write several short sentences summarizing and evaluating the source; your annotations should be analytical and demonstrate critical thinking about the source. This is called an “annotated bibliography.” You will find help with annotated bibliographies on the OWL @ Purdue website.
DO NOT cut and paste the sources’ abstracts or anything from the source to use in place of your own annotations. This is plagiarism, and it will result in a failing grade and report to Academic Affairs. Your annotations must be 100% your own words and structure.
Brook, Heather "Feed your face." Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 22.1 (2008): 141-157. Academic Search Premier . EBSCO. Web. 3 Oct. 2009.
Brook argues that in magazine ads directed at women, food is often constructed as cosmetic and cosmetics as food linking beauty and appetite. To support this argument, she presents magazine ads illustrative of the conflation of food and cosmetics and analyzes them using postmodern gender theories. This article will provide support for the discussion of how magazine ads for women cause anxiety about their bodies by providing one specific way, the linkage between beauty and food/appetite.
After you have aquired a thorough understanding of the issue through your research, you will be ready to synthesize your ideas, your group member’s, and your sources’ to write your analytical description of your issue or the possible solutions.
With the other person, you will collaborativly write a 3 page description, describing your issue or the possible solutions. You will need to discuss these things in depth and be sure to analyze the role that gender plays. Any words or ideas from your sources must be documented with an in-text citation.
You do not need to give up space for an introduction or conclusion, as your analysis would be part of the body section if you were actually writing the research paper.
After you have analyzed your issue and solutions, your group should be ready to confidently answer your research question in the form of a thesis statement.
The thesis is the main argument of the research paper.
The purpose of research is to prove something that you believe to be true by supporting that original idea with documentation. This does not mean that no one has ever had that idea but that you are selecting and arranging the data you find to support your original way of engaging with the topic.
Think of yourself as a lawyer stating a case and your documentation as your evidence. You want the thesis statement to clearly indicate what you intend to discuss and what your perspective will be.
Make sure you don’t include anything in your thesis that wouldn’t be covered if you were writing a paper based on this research. You are obligated to discuss and support each part of your thesis, so don’t put anything in that your thesis that you can’t support with your analysis or annotated bibliography.
There should be room for specific discussion; your thesis should be arguable. In other words, you would not conclude, “Many girls have eating disorders,” because that could be “proven” with a statistic. However, if you say that “Advertisements in teen magazines contribute to the rise in eating disorders among young women,” your reader knows that you will be discussing the role of the media in the formation of female body perception and many people would (and have) argue otherwise.
The OWL Purdue has more info on how to craft a thesis: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/01/
Your final product for this project (your wiki) will contain the following:
One Research Question
Annotated bibliography of ten sources on the issue/problem (five each from group members 1 and 2)
One Analytical description of issue/problem
Annotated bibliography of ten sources on possible solutions (five each from group members 3 and 4)
One analytical description of possible solutions
One thesis statement
What Style Does My Discipline Use Anyway? http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/585/02/ Anthropology Chicago Manual of Style Biology CBE Style Manual Chemistry The American Chemical Society Style Guide English MLA Style Guide , 7 th Edition Engineering Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Geology Geowriting: A Guide to Writing, Editing, and Printing in Earth Science History Chicago or Turabian Style Information Sciences and Computer Science American National Standard for Information Sciences Journalism Associated Press Stylebook Law and Legal Studies The Bluebook : A Uniform System of Citation Linguistics Linguistic Society of America Mathematics American Mathematics Society Management American Management Association Medicine AMA Manual of Style Physics American Institute of Physics Psychology and other Social Sciences APA Publication Manual , 5 th Edition Political Science American Political Science Association Style Manual for Political Science Sociology American Sociological Association Style Guide