Due Thursday 9/20 by 8 pm
We have arrived at that time in the semester when you need to begin articulating your research interests for the rest of the course. Even as you work on your RAs, we will begin thinking toward the coming Texts In Conversation (TIC) assignment, which, along with your introduction to library research at the College, will form a foundation for your work during the rest of the quarter. All of this work will contribute to—and culminate in—your final research-based argument (RBA).
Rather than assign a formal research proposal at this stage, I would like you to compose a more informal reflection for the Millennials Blog. This post should be between 200-300 words, and should contain the following:
(1) A very brief and engaging opening (1-3 sentences). You could pose a rhetorical question, signal historical context, list eye-popping stats or figures, bring an image to the reader’s mind, conduct a thought experiment, present a broader philosophical reflection, tell a joke, etc.
(2) Next, identify your broad topic (1-2 sentences). Don’t write: “I am writing a research paper about X” (where X is your broad topic). Those who come across our blog will find such a tone exclusive and confusing. Instead, invent a more informal, blog-like way to write it. For example, you might write: “in the coming months, I will blog about articles and books concerning X.” As far as our blog readers are concerned, you are just an expert researcher at CofC in a group dedicated to cutting-edge age and aging research.
(3) Next move on to your more specific focus or research question (1-3 sentences). Blog about why you find this specific question interesting, important, and vital. The difference between your topic and your more focused research question is crucial. For example, say you decide that—as your topic—that you want to explore the cultural discourse concerning the millennial generation. Under that very broad topic (we have to start somewhere) a number of specific research questions could emerge: Is thinking along generational lines useful or helpful in today’s societies? What does generational thinking obscure or exclude? In what ways will the changing global economy force the millennial generation to adapt in ways distinct from previous generations? How do long-standing concepts such as adolescence work alongside more cyclical generational ways of thinking? There are a hundred focused research questions you could ask in light of a given topic, and such questions will occupy a range of specificity. I expect that some will be able to hone in much closer on a pointed research question while others’ focus will remains slightly more broad until they have more fully researched their topic in light of their question.
(4) That’s it: you don’t need to make an argument yet. You are still in the exploratory phase, here. Enjoy it while it lasts!