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, March 26, 2017

History Workshop—Research Proposal Assignment

On this day in Round and Square History
26 March 2016
Research Proposal Assignment
HIST 190
Spring 2017
For your final project in History 190 will be a serious (and complete) research proposal. Learning to write effective proposals is one of the most important skills you can possess and the more experience you have with them, the more effective you will be in further academic work and the corporate or non-profit worlds. 

In order for this process to work, you must imagine that you are applying for the rough equivalent of an honors term—a semester devoted to a major research project. Similarly, you could imagine the kind of proposal you might write for a research project such as a master's thesis. In other words, you need to imagine that what you are proposing to do will be a significant amount of future work, and that you are asking for the go-ahead to pursue that work. For our purposes, imagine that your proposed research would result in a thesis or article in the 15,000-35,000 word range (50-100 pages).

The fact that you will not actually have to do every bit of that research in this class is no reason for taking the proposal less seriously. In fact, you may choose to do just that in a future class (or even in a graduate program. Above all, however, the skills you will build in the process will stay with you for the rest of your life. Take it seriously.

Your proposal will consist of six key sections (five of which you will complete). These will be due in draft form throughout the second half of the term. By the last day of finals, your polished revision (final draft) will be due. Pay close attention to the details below (and we will discuss them repeatedly in class).

Research Proposal Sections
  *1. Executive Summary
  *2. About the Author
  *3. Historiography (Literature Review)
  *4. Writing Sample (the draft "lead" of your final project)
   5. "Chapter" Summaries (minimal in HIST 190 this semester)
   6. Annotated Bibliography (not due in HIST 190 this semester)
*Very important for HIST 190 this semester.

1. Executive Summary (1,000-2,000 words; about three to five pages).
This is where you make the case (and argument) for your proposed research. Every section of a proposal is important, but few readers will continue beyond the executive summary if it is not compelling. Here is where you describe your proposed research and provide your approach to the topic.
Due in draft form by Sunday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m. (my office; hard copy).

 2. Author Summary (500-1000 words; about two or three pages).
In this section, you must explain why you are the person who should receive approval (or funding) for your project. Imagine that it is a competitive process (it almost always is), and that you need to stand out in a pile of proposals. Why you? What do you bring to the project that will make your proposal stand out?
Due in draft form by Sunday, April 16 at 5:00 p.m. (my office; hard copy).

 3. Historiography (Literature Review) (2,000-3,000 words; about six to ten pages).
If you have done an effective job with the first two sections, your reader is going to want the details at this point. What sources are available? Is there enough "out there" for you to do a successful piece of research? In addition to discussing actual sources, it will be necessary to show some of the ways other scholars and writers have approached your topic. In the case of Geil research, that will usually require a sense of how other historians have written about your broader topic (religious attitudes, missionaries, early anthropology, public speaking, transportation, and so forth) during the time in which Geil lived.
Due in draft form by Wednesday, May 3 at 5:00 p.m. (my office; hard copy).

4. Writing Sample ("the Lead") (3,000 words; about six to ten pages).
 This is where you show the review committee (in a competitive proposal process) what you can do. If the reviewers like your proposal thus far, this is where you "seal the deal." You will write a (polished) draft lead of the kind that could be the beginning of your final research project (long after months of research have been completed). A great writing sample shows what you are capable of (all the fireworks you can bring to show your potential).
 Due in your final proposal package (see below).

5. Chapter Summaries 
 Just sketch a rough outline of the rest of your 50-100 page final project, telling where your research project would go. We will discuss this in class, but (this semester) it is not central to your work. Just give a sense of what the final project would look like.
 Due in your final proposal package (see below).
***  ***
Final (revised) research proposals are due in my office (MI 111)
by 5:00 p.m on Monday, May 8, 2017.

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