From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Confucius and Social Theory: Research Prospectus Assignment

HIST 310

Confucius and Social Theory

How to Write a Research Prospectus[1]

[a] Historical Re-sage RF
Due by 10:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7
What Is A Prospectus? 
A prospectus is a “road map” to your individual project for this seminar. It will explain the specific, focused subject of your project, but it also articulates the larger significance of this particular study. Think about that carefully—the best papers (and “prospecti” move in two seemingly contradictory (but only seemingly contradictory) directions. The best research papers are “small and focused”…but with very large implications. Every good research paper (or academic article or book) considers a seemingly small question, but then shows why a full answer to that question matters far beyond the details at the center of the manuscript. Your job in a research prospectus is to show both of these things—why the details matter…and what is their implication for a larger argument

For example, an essay considering the James Legge’s late-nineteenth century translation of the Analects into English would not only explore the smaller issues of how Legge used an individualistic and Christian idiom in his translation, but also the larger issue of how the such linguistic choices shape the way that Westerners perceive Chinese history, philosophy, and culture
[b] Workin' RF

A prospectus summarizes the work that you have already done on your project. It also outlines what you still intend to do. The prospectus for your project should be accompanied by an annotated bibliography. Together your prospectus and bibliography will serve as a progress report of what you have accomplished and clarify (for both of us) what remains to be done.

How Should I Organize My Prospectus?  
Your prospectus should be 2,000-3,000 words long (6-10 pages, double-spaced). Give the title for your project and your name. Think carefully about your title (think about titles in the New York Review of Books. The first paragraph must clearly state the subject of your research (your “small” issue) and explain its larger significance (the “large” issue).

The body of your prospectus should explain how you will go about addressing your intended subject. Think about how you will divide the prospectus. Do you need section (think again of the NYRB)? What sources are you using? What is your central, key primary source (think back to our conversations about this in class). What other primary sources do you have, and how will they affect your project. What are your secondary sources? How much, realistically, can you study in depth, and what must you go through more quickly (this is a reality of life)?
[c] Opening RF

Going further, what kind of information do you hope to glean from your sources (distinguish between your central primary source, your other primary sources, and your secondary sources)?  How much of the work have you completed and how much remains to be done?  (in this case, obviously, you have yet to write the paper, but you should be able to outline, in prose, the major elements of your argument by the time you finish your prospectus).

The conclusion to your prospectus should summarize your preliminary conclusions. You might also discuss whether or not you expect these to change significantly on the basis of the work remaining to be done. End it with strength. Don’t just restate what you said in the first paragraph.

What Should Be Included in the Bibliography? 
Your bibliography is a separate document (and a new word-count). If you wish to put them all together in one document (as a .pdf file), that is fine. If you want to send the prospectus and bibliography as separate documents, that is fine, too. Bibliographical citations should follow the format of the Chicago Manual of Style (as you well know by now). A brief annotation (2-4 sentences) should follow each citation. In it explain what the item is (what kind of source is it? what perspective does it take on your topic? How, specifically, does it contribute to our knowledge of the subject?) and how you will be using it. Bibliographical entries (only) should be single spaced with a double space between each entry. Try to be concise and to avoid being too repetitious in your entries.
Due by 10:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7  
[d] Informational RF

[1] Based on assignments presented by Drs. Ellen Joyce and Gail Terry.

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