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Prepared by Dr. Theresa M. Senft Global Liberal Studies Program New York University Questions? Terri.email@example.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS OBJECT What do I mean by a research ‘object’? Keeping the size of your object manageable Situating your narrator The importance of narrative flow More than one object (comparing/contrasting) QUESTION What do I mean by research ‘question’? Helpful language when formulating questions Common Types of Questions: Questions about space and place Questions about affect and memory Questions about identity and community Questions about social capital Questions about production and consumption Questions about affect and effect Questions about aesthetics Questions about play and ludology Questions about epistemology Questions about networks and machines LENS What do I mean by ‘lens’? Looking for Lenses: How to begin? Chart with theories and theorists The politics of lenses METHOD What do I mean by ‘method’? Methods: texts, contexts, people Methods chart: There’s a name for that. Methods: studying texts Methods: studying contexts Methods: studying people Be precise about what you will examine Be precise with nature of your enquiry SAMPLE RESEARCH PAPER PROPOSAL TEMPLATE 12 13 15 15 16 17 17 18 19 10 10 11 12 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 3 4 5 6 6
Spring Theresa (Terri) Senft
Academic Year: 2011-‐2012 Instructor’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Drafting a Cultural Studies Proposal: The Object, Question, Lens, & Method Approach By Theresa Senft I consider the following to be the fundamental elements of a strong cultural studies paper: • • • • Object Question Lens Method
You might think about these as answers to the following questions: • Object: what is the topic you wish to research? • Question: what about your topic interests you? Why should it interest others? • Lens: whose work informs and influence you as you ask your questions? • Method: precisely what original work will you be doing as part of your research? Before we continue, a quick disclaimer: I don’t think mine is the only way to approach a research project. In fact, I more or less made up these terms, based on conversations with teachers, colleagues and editors over the years. If you have a process that currently works for you, don’t feel compelled to adopt this one. It is provided only to help folks who are currently “winging it,” and looking for a bit of guidance. Okay? Okay. Below, I explain what I mean when I speak about the object. After that, I’ll go on to discuss questions, lenses and methods.
PART 1: THE OBJECT What is an “object”? By "object" I mean the topic you wish to write about. In general, an object can be: • A person: actual or fictional, living or dead • A group of people: a culture, a subculture (e.g. voting blocks, fan groups, etc.) • A place: actual or fictional, past or present • A thing: e.g. a painting, book, architectural site, video game, web site, film, song, piece of clothing, etc. • An institution: e.g., universities, armies, hospitals, etc. • An industry: e.g. banking, recording, film, etc. • An event: e.g. a performance, an exhibition, a ritual, a holiday, a battle, etc. • A phenomenon: cultural or subcultural (e.g., the appearance of ‘heroin chic’ in the fashion industry, the rise of ‘stay at home dads’ etc.) Regarding the size of your object As a general rule of thumb: the smaller the object, the more controllable your paper will be. Consider the following options and our comments, below: OPTION 1: "I want to talk about how dangerous surveillance is." OUR COMMENT: For our purposes, this is too broad an object for a paper. OPTION 2: "I want to talk about the government gets more and more information about us every day.” OUR COMMENT: This is okay, but still needs refining. OPTION 3: "I want to talk about how the New York City Metrocard can be used to track people, and asking whether we want our government to be monitoring its citizens in that way.” OUR COMMENT: Option 3 is a nicely sized object for a paper. Can you see why this would be?
Here’s another example: OPTION 1: "I want to talk about how messed up the advertising industry is." OUR COMMENT: This is too broad an object. OPTION 2: "I want to talk about how it seems that people are always encouraged to be thin in advertising." OUR COMMENT: This is okay, but still needs refining. OPTION 3: "I want to talk about this time when I was working at a modelling agency and I witnessed my bosses picking models for a specific shoot based on whether they could see the models' ribcages through their shirts. OUR COMMENT: Option 3 is starting to feel like a nicely sized object for a paper. Can you see why this would be?
On situating your narrator vis a vis your object. You know what else is good about option 3, above? It nicely situates the narrator of the paper. She doesn’t come across as some Neutral Grand Authority; she states clearly and up front that she is an employee of an advertising agency, and a witness to an event that touches on larger concerns regarding modelling and weight. Also important: a writer may have multiple roles in the stories they tell, and this matters hugely. For instance, in Option 3, we know the person is an employee, but she may also be a student, an aspiring model herself, etc. All of these roles are going to affect what she sees in her analysis, and what she does not. When you choose your object, you are going to have to state and explore your position, as well. Again, this is why I think stories are useful. When you begin with a personal story, you are taking the rhetorical position not of the Expert, but of the individual with an incident to share. (Please note: Some will argue that there are HUGE problems with the lie of the "ordinary person with an ordinary story" routine. The biggest problem critics have with this is that the "ordinary person" IS declaring him/herself an expert, just by the ACT writing on a topic. And what's more, s/he protects him/herself in a way an expert cannot: that is, by hiding behind the cover of "hey, I'm just an 5
ordinary person." If you want to see this in action, check out Rush Limbaugh, for instance, or pretty much any moron on AM radio. I agree with this critique. Still, for our purposes, I still think the "ordinary person" approach is the way to go, particularly since we WILL be interrogating our own perspectives vis a vis our "question", which I will discuss in a moment. Regarding the importance of narrative and your object. Though there are many exceptions to this rule, most essays require a beginning, middle and end. Obviously, personal stories help do this, but they aren’t they only way to move narrative along. Consider the following: Option A: "I want to talk about caller ID as a dehumanizing phenomenon." Option B: "I want to talk about my internal debate over getting caller ID" Option C: "I want to talk about the fact that after a local politician had caller ID installed in his office, his constituent satisfaction rates with call-in queries dropped more than thirty percent." Purely in terms of narrative strength, I would suggest that Option A seems narratively “weak,” while B and C are “stronger.” Why? Because A and B show temporal progression (i.e. "before getting caller id, after getting caller id) whereas Option A lacks it. The other nice thing about Options B and C is that the particular stories naturally lead into a discussion of larger social questions, whereas big universal openings quickly devolve into rants, if not handled with care. Please note that I'm NOT saying you can't write in the style of Option A. It is just more difficult to do so. Contrary to what many expository writing teachers believe, I think it's troublesome to begin with some huge statement and "shrink down" to the particular. To begin an essay with the statement "Technology X is dehumanizing" begs too many questions, from "Dehumanizing for whom?" to "Who are you to decide what constitutes a 'human' approach?” If you simply MUST write in the style of Option A, I am going to ask you to confer with me first, to avoid pitfalls. When you have more than one object: Comparing and Contrasting Sometimes, it is helpful to write a paper using not one object, but two, or even three objects in a similar category. “Compare and contrast” is a common technique in cultural studies. When you compare and contrast two objects, you are asking two straightforward questions:
• What do these two things have in common? This is generally a matter of explanation and listing (i.e. both are video games, both came as a result of a corporate merger, etc.) • How do these two things differ? Because they are about mechanics (‘how”) differences between your objects should take MORE of your time to explain than similarities. Now, the truth is, two objects can have an endless number of similarities and differences. To determine the ones you want to focus on, we need to discuss your question. That’s covered next. STOP!! Now would be a good time to turn to the “OBJECTS” section of your Brainstorming Workbook.
PART 2: YOUR QUESTION The Question After you locate your object, you'll want to come up with your question. For many of you, your question and your object will be intimately connected. For others, teasing out your question may take some work. The "question" portion of your essay strategy is most easily dealt with by asking yourself, "What about my object fascinates me? How can I formulate my fascination as a one or two line interrogation?" Helpful advice regarding questions • Use words like “how” or “what” rather than “why” to form your questions. Asking “why” generally yields the answer, “because,” which gets you nowhere as a researcher. • Realize that you won’t have room to tackle more than one question in a short paper. That said, you will --and should-- have ancillary or “follow up” questions coming from your big question. • State your questions as concisely and clearly as possible. This means that two short sentences are better than one long one. • Avoid leading questions. For example, “How does the Internet lead to the collapse of communication?” is an argument masquerading as a question, and is not acceptable for a proposal.
Some Common Types of Questions Below, I provide four categories of common questions asked in media and cultural studies. This list is by NO MEANS EXHAUSTIVE. It is meant to spark your thinking, nothing more. Here are some things you might want to ask of your objects: Questions of PLACE AND SPACE 1. In what place does my object exist? Where in history, geography, and cultural memory is it located? How does the arrangement of space affect the object’s meaning within culture? Has that space changed over time? What might be the significance of that change for culture at large? 2. How do the particular social groups I am studying come to an understanding of their private and the public space? Their commercial and ‘free’ space? Their sacred and the secular space? Questions of AFFECT and MEMORY 1. What sorts of experiences does my object elicit for its viewers/participants/bystanders/participants? How does experiential knowledge change what an object ‘means’ for different populations? 2. What is the relationship between an experience of a moment, and the retelling of it via memory? Questions of IDENTITY and COMMUNITY 1. How have issues of gender, class, nationality, religion, race, age, ability, or language use functioned in the past for the group of people I’m interested in studying? Have there been changes worth noting? What might those changes signify regarding culture at large? 2. How was legitimate and illegitimate behaviour determined in the past for those in the group I am studying? Have their been changes worth noting? How might those changes tell us something about the changing nature of the group, or about culture at large? Questions of SOCIAL CAPITAL: 1. How are issues of trust negotiated in this environment? 2. How is social power accrued in this environment? 3. How is risk managed in this environment? Questions of PRODUCTION and CONSUMPTION 1. Who has owned the means to produce this practice/product/tool in the 8
past? Do different people own it now? If so, have changes in ownership affected what this practice/product/tool signifies culturally? 2. Who has used this practice/product/tool in the past? Do different people use it now? If so, have changes in consumption affected the cultural meanings of this practice/product/tool?
Questions of AFFECT and EFFECTS. Some examples include: 1. What does it mean to speak of certain activities as “addictive”? 2. What does it mean to speak of being in “flow” with regard to an environment or practice? 3. To what extent does this object/phenomenon influence activities with regard to “real world” violence, activism, sexuality, anti-‐‑social behavior, etc.? Questions of AESTHETICS. Some examples include: 1. How does this environment/creation/phenomenon fit with our established ideas about art? 2. What parameters do we use for determining whether something is of high quality in this field, and what value judgments do we display when we use existing terminology for the field (e.g. ‘elegant code’) Questions of LUDOLOGY and NARRATIVE. Some examples include: 1. What are the rules of this system, and how do the rules affect our experience of play here? 2. What are the experiential differences between playing in single player, multiplayer and online versions? 3. How does this game/art project/etc. progress with regard to plot, character and “story arc”? Questions of EPISTEMOLOGY. Some examples include: 1. What means do we have for establishing the truth of this image/document/film/etc.? 2. What psychological/social/political stakes are attached to the belief that a particular version of a story is true, or real? Questions of NETWORKS and MACHINES. Some examples include:
1. What are the degrees of separation between major players in this system (“players” should include both humans, software, hardware, and so forth)? 2. How are the feedback loops structured in this environment between producers, distributors, consumers, and interfaces?
3. STOP!! Now would be a good time to turn to the “Questions” section of your Brainstorming Workbook.
PART 3: YOUR LENS (ES) The Lens If your object is your “what”, and your questions are your “why”, your lenses might be best thought of as your “who,” in that they help you decide: “Who will you read to help you theoretically frame your questions?” Some students think this business of finding lenses is limited to academia. They are wrong. No matter what you do next in your life, “doing your homework” will be the order of the day. Consider this: your friend calls herself an innovator, and in a bar she tells you about her latest cool invention: a disk on which you play movies But when you tell her that the DVD has been in production a decade now, she looks baffled, and then starts talking about how she "can't be expected to know everything." How weird would that be? To summarize: The "lens", as I define it, is your demonstration that you know whom else is thinking in your field. You don't need to know everything written about your interests, but you do need to know *something* beyond your own thoughts. One more thing: with lenses, quality is better than quantity. Rather than name-dropping a million people, it’s better to find between one and three people with whom you can really dialogue in your paper. Then you can safely say you have your "lens" established. Searching for Lenses: How to Begin Faced with the task of finding appropriate lenses, the average student goes to a place like a Google Scholar and begins searching by subject. Let’s go back to the example I gave earlier, featuring a student who wanted to write about the casting habits of a particular modelling agency. This student might head to Google Scholar, type in “models” or “agency” or even “weight”--and then see what happens. While this is not a bad first start, it has the danger of yielding either too much, or too little information that is relevant to the student’s particular needs. 10
How do you find the writers who are thinking in a way that jibes with what you are looking for? Here, it might be useful to understand that we can approach this lens business two ways: • • Via theories (i.e. general schools of thought: e.g. theories of psychoanalysis, theories of feminism, actor-network theory, etc.) Via theorists (i.e. people who espouse certain theories, generally associated with certain schools of thoughts: e.g. Freud, Mulvey, Latour)
In the example above, I provided names of three theorists associated with psychoanalysis, feminism and actor-network theory respectively. Now, if I were you right at this point, I’d be thinking, “How does she expect me to do that?” The answer is: I don’t. What I do expect you to do is remember that thus far, you’ve come up with two elements of your research design: your object(s) and your question (s). While objects are usually great ways to start looking for lenses, your questions will be the best way to help you narrow down your search. To help you get started, I’ve made a “quick and dirty” guide of theoretical approaches for some of the most common questions in media research. The guide is geared toward students doing digital media work, so your interest may not appear here. If that is the case, no worries! Come to me and we’ll talk.
IF YOU ARE ASKING QUESTIONS LIKE… Is this art? Is it not? If not, why not? Who owns this? Who is selling? Who is buying? Who determines these things? Theories of production and consumption Marxist and PostMarxist theories THEORIES YOU’LL WANT TO LOOK AT Theories of aesthetics SOME THINKERS YOU MIGHT LOOK INTO Examples of historical theorists: Plato, Aristotle, Kant Examples of digital theorists L.Manovich, P. Lunenfeld Examples of Historical thinkers: Marx, Gramsci, Althusser, Frankfurt School Digital Thinkers: Chomsky, McChesney, Curran
Is this democratic? Does it reflect the public good? By whose measure?
Theories of the public sphere
Historical thinkers: Locke, Hobbes, J. Habermas, J. Dewey, R. Rorty, J. Dean, N. Fraser, M. Warner Digital thinkers: McChesney, Papacharissi
How does this affect our privacy?
Theories of privacy, theories of surveillance
Historical thinkers: J. Bentham, M. Foucault, G.Deleuze Digital thinkers: J. Lyons, J. Rosen
How can we tell what is real or true?
Theories of ontology, Theories of epistemology
Historical thinkers: Plato, Aristotle, W. Benjamin, J. Baudrillard
How does this (story, video, piece of email, etc.) circulating?
Theories of networks and ‘actor network theory’ Theories of gender
Historical thinkers: E. Durkheim, B. Wellman Digital thinkers: B. Latour, A. Galloway, C.Shirky
How does masculinity and femininity operate in this environment?
Historical thinkers: Freud, J.Lacan, L. Irigigaray, J. Butler Digital thinkers: Turkle, Stone, Castells and Jenkins, Consalvo
How does race operate in this environment?
Theories of race
Historical thinkers: DeBois, Fanon, Spivak, Said, hooks Digital thinkers: L.Nakamura, A. Brock
Among members, who is important in this network, and why does it matter?
Theories of social capital
Historical thinkers: M. Granoveter, R. Putnam Digital thinkers: B. Wellman, Z. Papacharissi, boyd
How does this alter or reinforce our existing notions of childhood?
Theories of childhood
Historical thinkers: Piaget, Winnicott Digital thinkers: S. Livingstone, E. Seiter
How does this alter or reinforce our existing notions of personal identity?
Theories of psychology, theories of performance of self (interactionism)
Historical thinkers: Freud, Mead, Goffman Digital thinkers:S. Turkle, A. Bruckman
How does this affect our sense of physical embodiment?
Theories of phenomenology
Historical thinkers: Husserl, Merleau-Ponty Digital Thinkers: Richard Shusterman (on somaesthetics), Brian Massumi (on affect)
How does this dialogue with ideas about teaching and learning? How does this environment alter or reinforce our existing ideas about reading and writing? How does this environment alter or reinforce our existing
Theories of education
Historical thinkers: J. Dewey, Piaget Digital thinkers: S. Turkle, S. Papert, C. Davidson
Theories of writing
Historical thinkers: W. Ong, J. Derrida Digital thinkers: G. Landow, S. Moulthrop, J. Murray
Theories of reception, theories
Digital thinkers: H. Jenkins, N. Baym
ideas about audiences and fans?
The Politics of Lenses You probably sense this already, but the nature of your lens can profoundly affect how you see your object. A Marxist interpretation of an activist movement might be radically different from one based on critical race theory. An aesthetic reading of a show often changes when subjected to lenses from feminism. This is a good thing. For researchers, contradictions and contestations aren’t something to fear, but moments to explore. For instance, Edward Said (famous proPalestinean scholar) would write about the recent shooting we discussed with a very different lens than would a Pro-Israeli journalist. Different still might be a recently widowed mother from the West Bank who just wants all fighting to stop. All of these "authorities" can be found by doing a web search on the incident in question. All of them give vastly different readings of the same reality. This is something we will discuss together in our private meetings. I just wanted to give you a "heads up." Now that you are familiar with the concepts of the object, the question and the lens, you are ready to go on to our final part: method. STOP!! Now would be a good time to turn to the “LENSES” section of your Brainstorming Workbook.
PART 4: YOUR METHOD (S) To this point, we’ve covered the following elements of a successful research proposal: • Object: the topic you wish to research, narrowed down so it is workable for whatever size paper you are planning. • Question: your question (s) need to demonstrate what it is about your topic that interests you, and why should it interest others as well. • Lens: an articulation of whose work will inform and influence you as you ask your questions. Now we move to the final element:
• Method: precisely what original work will you be doing as part of your research? Earlier, I mentioned how important it is to be aware of other people’s thoughts in your field. While this is true, it is also important understand that all universitylevel research paper are expected to do more than repeat the thoughts of others. You are also expected to produce insights of your own. The way you do that is by engaging in a research methodology of your own design. Methods: Texts, Contexts, People Cultural studies researchers generally wind up doing at least one of three things: • TEXTS: We examine texts for psychological, sociological, and ideological meaning, attempting to make some sort of statement about what those texts signified to particular people in particular cultures at particular historical moments. o Note: for us, the term ‘texts’ covers written and spoken word, visual and moving images, live and recorded performances. • CONTEXTS: We study the historical, economic, and political contexts shaping how a text is/was imagined, created, and distributed. We do this to better understand how this text came to influence (or not) a particular culture via adoption, consumption, circulation, and often, consumer re-creation. • PEOPLE: We analyze people as they create, consume, interact, and circulate around texts. Sometimes we ask them their thoughts; other times we watch them as they “do their thing.” Often, we try to remember that as researchers who are also people, “we” are part of “them.” As you are reading this, you may be thinking, “I wonder if I prefer texts, contexts, or people?” Ideally, you should be interested in it all, but let’s it: some of us like to talk to others, and some of us would rather not, and that’s going to affect what we take on as researchers. More important for you, though, is a return to your original research question. What do you want to know? What might be the best way to find that out? Nearly every methodological approach you can think of comes with an academic-sounding name, and a list of “how to” guidelines. I can’t provide the latter in a guide like this, but I can give you a chart to help you begin thinking about how you want to approach your methodology. Look at the chart and 14
brainstorm. Sometimes you have to combine methods to get at your answers. Sometimes you wish could engage in one method, but time/money/access won’t allow it, so you opt for something different. These things take time and experience to work out, and your professors are always ready to help.
METHODS: TEXTS What are you planning on doing? Are you thinking about how images (or non-‐musical sounds, such as sirens) function in a text? Are you counting the number of times an image, movement, sound, word or phrase appears in a text? Are you thinking about how words (written or spoken) function in a text? Are you tracing the history of specific words in a text? Are you looking at the ways in which a specific set of texts tells stories or myths? Are you analysing film? Are you analysing music, using formal language such as pitch, melody, and harmony? Are you analysing dance? Are you analysing a live performance that is not dance, such as a ritual, sports event or a museum exhibit? Are you concentrating on movement within a performance? Are you analysing the values a text seems to be supporting? Thinking about what a text seems to be suggesting the world is/was/should be/shouldn’t be? Are you analysing how gender is represented in a text? Analysing how race is represented in a text? Analysing how sexuality is represented in a text? Analysing how economic conditions are represented in a text? Analysing how “normal” and “abnormal” bodies are represented in a text? Analysing how certain social groups (usually subcultural) are represented in a text? Analysing the representation of the unconscious in a text? Here’s an academic term for that. Semiotic analysis Content analysis Discourse analysis Etymological analysis Narrative analysis Film analysis Musicological analysis Dance analysis Performance analysis Movement analysis Ideology critique
Gender/feminist critique Critical race analysis Queer theory analysis Class analysis Disability analysis Sociological or subcultural analysis Psychoanalytic critique
Analysing how history is represented in a text? Analysing body-‐oriented experiences while encountering or creating a text? METHODS: CONTEXTS What are you planning on doing?
Historical/ historiographic analysis Phenomenological analysis
Here’s an academic term for that. Analysing the budgets, marketing, revenues, or converged markets of a text? Market research analysis Exploring how individuals within institutions or businesses work together to Organizational analysis produce a text? Analysing legal issues surrounding the production, consumption, circulation or Legal analysis re-‐use of a text? Are you mapping out the relationships between linked images, words, scenes, Network analysis players, or users? (usually in a digital text like a web site or a video game) Considering the nature of censorship, privacy or public influence of a text? Political economy analysis Comparing multiple texts in the same genre (e.g. soap operas, musicals, Genre analysis slasher films? Comparing multiple texts by the same writer or director? Auteur analysis Comparing multiple texts that all feature the same performer? Star or celebrity analysis Comparing texts from different cultures? Trans-‐cultural comparison Comparing texts from different time periods? Trans-‐historical comparison (Next page: PEOPLE)
METHODS: PEOPLE What are you planning on doing? Studying audience reactions to a text? Speaking with audience or community members one-‐on-‐one about their reactions to a text or an environment? Speaking with audience members in small groups about their reactions to a text or an environment? Asking audience members to respond in writing about their reactions to a text or an environment? Observing people as they interact with one another in a particular environment? Observing people as they interact with one another in an environment, over a significant period of time? Observing people over a significant period of time as they interact in an environment, and considering how your presence might be affecting their behaviour? Observing people over a significant period of time in an environment where you consider yourself an active participant or member of the group? Recording your personal reactions and recollections regarding a text or an environment? Observing how users interact with a text, such as a game or web site, while in their natural environment (their bedroom, the classroom, etc.)? Creating specific test environments or experiments to observe how users interact with a specific (usually digital) text, such as a game or a web site?
Here’s an academic term for that. Audience analysis Polling (simple answers), Interviews (complex answers) Focus group administration Questionnaire administration Participant observation Anthropological observation Ethnographic observation
Auto-‐ethnographic observation Personal memoir User experience analysis User testing (can be administered one-‐on-‐one or in groups)
Be precise when naming your objects. • If you are looking at texts like novels or short stories, name them. • If you are looking at a film, say which scenes you will be looking at. • If you are looking at web sites, name the sites.
• If you are looking at a video game, name the game and the scenes. • If you are looking at news coverage of a phenomenon, at minimum you should be able to list the outlets you are looking at, and the time period you are looking at. • If you are discussing a specific performance, either give the date you saw it or explain which reference material you are accessing to look at it. Be precise when explaining your objective. Note: Often, this is best done in terms of a question propelling your investigations. For instance, you might write, something like: “ I will conduct a film and discourse analysis of recent commercials from the 2012 BMW advertising campaign, asking, “How do the directors of these commercials use lighting and music to give consumers a sense of driving as a sublime experience? How does the language of the voiceover enforce the notion that driving a BMW is the most sublime experience of all?”
STOP!! Now would be a good time to turn to the “METHODS” section of your Brainstorming Workbook. Now you are ready to draft your proposal. See next page for Proposal Template:
Proposal Template DO NOT reproduce this language exactly! Use your own words. Tentative Title of Paper: _________________________________ This paper (examines, explores, analyses, interrogates, etc.) the (phenomenon, practice, event, etc.) of (your “object” goes here.) As a research topic, mine is a timely one for the fields of Liberal/Cultural Studies because: (state your reason here.) Elements of this of this research that are of particular interest to me are: (detail one or two questions/observations/etc., here.) Throughout this project, I rely on a number of critical frames, including the work of (writer) on (subject); (writer) on (subject); and (writer) on (subject.) While I find (writer #1)’s observations regarding (subject) to be important when considering my topic, I think these observations need to be (broadened, altered, updated, etc.) for the following reasons: ________________ (state reasons here.) Likewise, (stick writer #2’s thoughts that are important but need to be added to or altered in light of your research project. ) Given what has been written around this topic so far and my preliminary thoughts on the matter, my working hypothesis is (state some guesses you are taking about how the research will turn out, here.) I plan to test this hypothesis by (explain precisely what materials you will be looking at, here.) Using (name your methodology here), I’ll be posing questions such as: (name one or two questions you’ll be asking as you look at your materials.) (Note: If you have personal experience with this material that you think would be useful to acknowledge or highlight, you can discuss it here, or further upwards in the document.)
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