Each week, students will be responsible for writing a brief (not more than one page) memo responding to the readings in some way: proposing a topic of discussion, noting some commonality or disagreement between the readings, proposing a research design inspired by the week’s readings, drawing out further implications of some findings, or just digging into some things that were not completely understood about the readings. There should be some new argument or thought here; these should not be summaries of the readings. Students are responsible for turning in memos for 8 of the 12 weeks of the course (not counting the first class, where no memos are expected). Memos should be turned in by noon the Monday before class. It is recommended that students skim a few classmates’ memos each week in preparation for class.
Students will be expected to lead the discussion in at least one class meeting. During that session, you will be responsible for giving a brief overview of the week’s readings and then posing some discussion questions to your peers. It may be useful to read a few related papers that aren’t on the reading list, so you can give your classmates a broader view of the topic.
Research Design Paper
Each student should come up with an original research idea that could ultimately become a publishable article, and explain how you would undertake that research. You will write the first part of this hypothetical paper, laying out the motivation, the relevant literature, and the methods to be used. Students will not be expected to present the results of this research, but it should actually be feasible, and students should point to the actual dataset that would be used, or describe the way in which original data would be collected.
Take 10-20 pages and describe thoroughly the question and the approach to answering it. A preliminary memo on your chosen topic (1-2 pages) will be due by the 10th week of class. Students may combine this assignment with another course’s seminar paper requirement (with approval of both faculty members). If you combine the assignment you will be expected to complete the research project and turn in a full paper.