Musings and last minute instructions about the research project


As promised, here are the requirements for the research project plus some free-of-charge musings on the interview component.


1. 4-6+ pages. Not three pages and one line, at least four full pages.

2. At least one interview with an expert in the field you are researching. (more below).

3. The project must be based on a clear and unique question and progress to an original explanation (answer) to the question.

4. The project must have clear in-text citations (I don’t care what style) as well as a works-cited page. (If you need guidance here, check out the Purdue Owl’s helpful guide:

5. The project must have at least one source per page; usually two per page is stronger.

6. And finally, the project must conform to all the other standards of strong research papers we went over in class.

The interview component: I decided to require an interview for this project. Why? Quite simply, because it is hard to write a weak research paper if you truly invest yourself in your research question, and it is easy to invest yourself in your question if you have to have a conversation with someone who knows a lot about your subject. You can conduct your interview via email, phone, or face-to-face conversation. Usually, phone calls represent the best mix of personal interaction and convenience. It’s hard to get face time with busy people, and it’s easy to ignore an email.

Have a list of potential questions written before the interview, but be ready to let the interviewee take the conversation in a new direction. However, if you have tough questions to ask, make sure they get asked.  The interview should represent a quick way for you to become an expert on your chosen question without doing massive amounts of research. It’s actually a shortcut; you get to tap into someone else’s knowledge.

That’s about it for now. Let me know if anyone has questions.