In this section, Dr. Brittany Charlton shares her insights about the final project in the course. The assignment asks to operationalize the research methods learned in class and to integrate these methods with newly acquired substantive knowledge to create a research proposal exploring a scientific question related to gender and health. Students create a 2-page write-up and share their research proposal as an oral presentation.
It is such an exciting time at the end of the semester when students apply all of the substantive and methodological concepts they have learned to a topic about which they are passionate. In twelve weeks, I can only begin to highlight some topics in the field, so having each student discuss another topic of their own choosing helps to round out the material and these presentations make for a much richer experience for the whole class.
On the first day of class, I ask students about any ideas they have regarding their final project and, usually, only a handful of them have any topic ideas. At that point, most students lack the substantive knowledge to identify a gap in the literature, not to mention the methodological training to execute a project that will fill that gap, so we have a lot to accomplish throughout the semester to ensure they will be successful in their final projects.
In general, students find creating the research proposal challenging. Having the written and verbal presentation components also challenges the students in new ways and ensures their peers benefit from their work, as well.