[Final Project Write-Up + Cover Letter/Reflection]
Each person’s “products” for this final Project will look slightly different, depending on what they proposed for this assignment. However, everyone must incorporate a minimum of six secondary sources into their work and write-ups should be 6-8 pages long. In all cases, you should go through a number of drafts of your Write-Up. I am more than happy to provide feedback at multiple stages of your drafting, so if you would like my feedback, schedule appointment(s) to see me during my office hours.
Your final draft should be thoroughly revised, argumentative (you should provide claims, supporting evidence, analysis), well-structured / organized (clear paragraphs, topic sentences, transitions), cited (both in-text citations and a Works Cited page, both in MLA format), and well-crafted at the sentence-level (make sure to edit / proofread your writing).
All Write-Ups should follow expectations/guidelines set out in for previous essays, and must be accompanied by a Works Cited page. Use MLA style for the Works Cited and also your in-text citations (write-ups without clear citations will be given no credit!). Remember that as a City Tech student you have access to EasyBib for citation, if you chose to use it. You should also consult the Writing Resources on our course site.
Final Project Reflection (Cover Letter)
An important component of this research project is your reflection on it.
This individual reflection should be 1-2 pages, single-spaced (addressed to me, as in “Dear Professor Belli” … no formal headings/letter formatting necessary), reflecting on what you learned during the extended process of developing/researching/writing/revising your Final Project, including: choosing your topic; draft/revising research proposals; researching; the write-up drafting/revising process; creation of any “creative” products (if applicable); preparing your in-class presentation; in-class discussions / workshops/reviews; conferences with me; meetings with librarians & tutoring (if applicable). Just like you have done for Essays 1 and 2, the key is critical and thoughtful reflection. What did you learn from this project/process? What did you struggle with? What went well? How did you develop as a writer/thinker? (etc.)
Each person will submit her reflection on OpenLab (it will be the first pages of your Write-Up), so it will be public. Therefore, it should be an honest reflection about the successes (or lack thereof) of your research project, but with an awareness that this is a public document.
Your Final Project Reflection will be graded on the completeness, thoughtfulness, and quality of your reflection, and your ability to critically discuss your experiences researching and writing/revising for this project.
Write-Ups + Reflections will be submitted two ways:
- Post on our OpenLab site, with an abstract in the post, which will be used to introduce your project to an outside audience. Upload the Write-Up (with the Final Project Reflection as the first pages of the file) as a PDF to the post. Clearly label your file.
- Submit to Dropbox via this link, as a Word document.
1. Your abstract should be very specific/clear. Although you will first start out by brainstorming ideas and getting a handle on your research, the final draft of your research abstract should do more than just provide a general idea of your project and list a few questions. Before turning in the final draft of your final project on M 12/19, you should have a clear idea of what your research question is, your thesis statement/argument, what the main issues at stake are, important points to discuss, etc. Think about it this way: if you were going to send your paper to a journal for publication and they asked you to send a summary of your work (not your whole paper), what would you tell them so that your argument/point is very clear and concise? What kinds of information would you not need to include?
2. Don’t use the 1st person (I, me, my, we, our, us) or the 2nd person (you, your, yours), unless necessary (in which case, don’t “overuse it”). State your argument/ideas in a formal/impersonal/authoritative way.
3. Minimize the “interest” section of your proposal. Since you have already spent some time researching your project, it is clear that you are invested in it and you don’t need to spend too much time explaining why (it should be clear from the rest of your proposal what exactly you are interested in with this topic).
4. Make sure that you have connections among your various points, sentences, and paragraphs. Don’t just list one point after the next (stacking up details) without considering their connection to another and to your overall argument. Your proposal must be coherent, connect the dots for your readers, and answer the “so what?” question. Don’t be afraid to “give away” your ideas here … that is what you want to do. And as always, be as specific as possible (you don’t want to leave questions unanswered, statements vague/general, etc.).
5. Eliminate any unnecessary “behind-the-scenes” narration; don’t spend time telling stating, “When I first started, I was going to do this topic, but then I changed my mind and … .” This type of conversation is OK for the initial stages of the proposal, but in this final draft you should just present your project as it stands now (not the process you went through to get to this point).
6. Similarly, for the section on the research you’ve done already, don’t waste time stating, “My research looked at databases, and I searched on google.com, and I found some good books.” Instead, actually tell your readers what your research has taught you (content).
7. This final draft should be updated significantly from you previous proposals. Just like when you revise an essay you also must update the outline that accompanies it, here too you must update your proposal as your research progresses/solidifies.
Your thinking will likely change as you write the first draft of the project and then revise to the final draft. This is OK (and good!). You do not have to stick to exactly what you originally proposed in your first draft of your proposal. Change is a natural part of the writing/learning process.
8. Abstracts should be ~350 words, single-spaced (1-2 paragraphs).