Area 2, Area 3, Methodology Map, Research Proposal

Henrietta Lacks + Research Skills + Research Proposal

SYLLABUS CHANGE: Cutting  Area 2, Part 3: Methodology Map

I have decided to cut Area 2, Part 3: Methodology Exploration Map + Description (WAS due 10/31, 5%)

Let’s decide what to do with the 5% of the course grade allotted to it.

Discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

If you were running a class discussion on this work, how would you proceed? (OK, let’s try that! Because if you haven’t had to do this yet, you will!)

  • We decided to divide the text into three parts, one for each table. We talked at the tables, and reported back to the class for further discussion.

A few things I hope we’ll discuss (again, in support of our research skills workshop, coming up next!):

  • General impressions?
  • How does this connect to your discipline/areas of specialization/research interests?
  • What other disciplines do you think talk about this work? How? Why? Where would we find those publications? How might they overlap with those in our own discipline?
  • What curiosities do you have? What research trajectories might this launch?

Research Time! Creating a Working Bibliography and Annotated Bibliography

Let’s take some time to do a bit of exploratory research for scholarship related to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  I’d like each of us to find at least three articles to add to this working bibliography.

  • BEFORE WE BEGIN: What guidelines/structure should we set up? What citation style are we using (and why?) What resources will help you with citation, style, etc? Do we want a shared research question? Do you each want to pursue your own? Should you then share your question (and perhaps where/how you searched) in our working bib, or should we just put the sources in, and let them speak for themselves?

For next week’s class, you’ll skim and scan and read however many articles you’re called to with this one provision: you are each to add to this document two annotations (or précis?) —one on an article chosen by you, and one on an article chosen by a colleague.

In our next class (10/17) we’ll open by discussing the experience, with the goal of continuing to hone your reading and research skills.

At your request, we worked on these from home. Please have your finds/choices added to the list by midnight Friday. Please have your annotations done before class next week.

Research Précis vs. Annotated Bibliography:

What is the difference between these annotations and précis, to you? I was taught that a précis speaks of my own work, but I know folks that use this almost interchangeably with annotation, and others that say annotations tend to be brief summaries and précis tend to be critical evaluations AND summary, of greater length…. And then Dr. Thompson teaches the précis as a four-sentence summary (a heck of a lesson in concision). What do YOU think? I raise this point to suggest when you hear this term, you attend to context cues (or just ask) to ensure your definition and theirs match up!

Resources: Annotated Bibliographies

Resources: Research Précis

Exploring Area 3 + Starting 3.1: The Research Proposal

Our next project sequence connects to the final portfolio. Area 3 requires that you develop a research proposal, then a conference proposal, and an annotated bibliography. In the final portfolio, you’ll write that conference presentation and produce whatever supporting documents or presentation materials are required (and deliver that talk to us, during the final exam period).

I guess my first question is: do you want to work on something related to Lacks? You can (but do not have to!) What projects do you want to share/discuss with others? What conferences might be good fits for them?

For next week, you are asked to create your research proposal. Let’s talk a bit about that process, and the larger writing sequence this is a part of.

Here’s the prompts.

  • Part 1: Research Proposal (due to Canvas 10/17, 5%)
    • I have NOT written a prompt for this. I’d like us to navigate the purposes of this genre and this project, and determine together what that means you’ll need to include in the proposal. I’d like, also, to discuss some of the different types of proposals you’ll write as part of your academic work/writing.
    • See the comments below for the guidance we came up with collaboratively. 
  • Part 2: Conference Proposal (due 10/24, 5%)–we moved this one to be due the same date as the annotated bib, 11/14.
    • Write a proposal to an academic or professional conference, chosen by you for its suitability for the work proposed. (You do not have to actually submit to this conference. You will, however, actually write this conference paper and create whatever supporting documents are necessary for presenting this work during our final exam period. This work will also form the centerpiece of your final portfolio, so be sure to document your research and writing processes as you go; you may want that process material available for your portfolio as well.
  • Part 3: Annotated Bibliography (due 11/14, 10%)–we raised the percentage on this one to 15%.
    • Write an critical annotated bibliography, organized around the research question(s) at the heart of your proposed conference presentation. You must include a variety of source types a minimum of 12 relevant, high quality sources, representing a range of perspectives and including both expository and argumentative genres.  For each source, create an academic-styled works cited entry (using the style appropriate to the discipline and audience of the intended work) and compose a summary and evaluation of the source. Include a critical narrative of your findings. This may be a stand-alone document, or may be structured as a critical introduction to thematic sections of the bibliography (or…. other, as suits your findings and purpose).
  • These all culminate in your final portfolio, which includes writing and delivering the conference paper at the center of all this (to us, during the final exam period).

Resources, Research Proposals

What experience do you have writing in this genre? What advice and examples can we find to support you in this?

Here’s a few I found.

Note that I do NOT expect a full review of literature in one week’s time….

Here’s how I taught my FYC writers to do this, just today.

For next time

  • Read from our working bib, and annotate two sources.
  • Develop your research question and a research proposal. Post your research proposal to Blackboard by class time 10/17.
    • Choose a conference that would be a good fit for your topic/paper/approach. You do NOT have to actually apply, BUT you will write a proposal for this conference (due 10/24). We’ll work on this in class on 10/17. Bring what you need to write!
  • Looking ahead: on 10/24 we will have a c.v. workshop. If you haven’t already, put one together so we can start with that draft.

3 thoughts on “Henrietta Lacks + Research Skills + Research Proposal”

  1. Parts of the story for the proposal:

    research question
    what theory informs your work? (what approaches, methods, methodologies, theorists, etc.)
    What can you tell about the literature (without actually having to conduct a whole review)? What do you already know? What do you need to know?
    Why this matters/why it’s worth doing/what comes out of this
    Who’s my audience (so then what conference would they be at?)

    length: rhetorically judged. Is it long enough to give all the important info, and to show that you have a plan, you understand the plan, and you can carry out the plan.
    what are you doing, why are you doing it, how are you doing it, for whom are you doing it?


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