Research Project Assignment

Teaching, research, and more

ENGL 2120, Section 408/409/410/411

Spring 2021

Epic and Empire in the Middle Ages: Research Project

             In this assignment, you will choose an author, text, or historical topic relevant to the themes of the class, research this topic, and develop an extended argument or informative project about it. You have some flexibility here—if you’d prefer to write a traditional paper, that’s an option, but you also have the option of doing a multimedia project. This project can take the form of an oral presentation with accompanying slides, a website, a podcast, a video, a blog, a digital timeline, map, or edition of a text, or an artistic representation with a written explanation of your choices, or other multimedia genre. You have the option of doing an individual project or, if you’d prefer, you can work with a group. Though you have a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing your topic and medium, your project needs to have a particular goal or argument (if the goal is to inform, why provide the information you do? What question(s) do you want to answer? What aspects of a text or historical episode do you want to illuminate?) The goals of the project are to let you synthesize historical or literary sources to learn about a topic you want to explore in more depth, and to give you the opportunity to develop research, argumentative, and creative skills.

You’ll need to demonstrate your expertise on your topic by finding and citing at least six reliable sources. Before we get to the final project stage, you’ll need to write a proposal for the project in which you explain the topic you plan to research, what your plan for the project is, and cite at least two sources you think will be helpful to you in conducting this research. This will be due Wednesday, March 3. You’ll also need to discuss your project with me at least once before the end of the semester, whether over Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or some other app. The final product should involve about the same amount of writing and research as a traditional 2000-word essay, even if it ends up looking 100% different from an essay. You should be prepared explain your goals for the project and what you did for it the last day of class (Friday, April 23). The final product will be due Wednesday April 28, at 11:59 PM [during the final exam period for this class, as this is replacing a traditional final exam] but don’t put the project off, as there are a lot of due dates near the end of the semester; if you want, you can turn in and explain your project earlier.

See rubrics below

 Project Proposal Rubric

CriterionPoints possiblePoints earnedComments
The proposal makes the topic of the research clear. Any necessary background information is explained, and it’s clear what the topic has to do with the themes or subject matter of the class. 5  
The proposal has at least one specific research question or hypothesis that clarifies what you hope to achieve with this research. It’s clear from the proposal what kind of project you’re thinking about doing, and how that kind of project would help you achieve your goals.5  
The proposal includes a reasonable plan for conducting your research and identifies at least two potentially useful sources.5  
The proposal has a ‘so what’—why should anyone care about this research? What’s the broader significance or impact of what you’re studying and what you want to find out or argue about it?5  
Prose is clear and concise, and the proposal is at least 250-300 words long. There is a title and a properly formatted works cited page in MLA style. Your name is on the document somewhere.5  

                                                               Research Project Rubric

CriterionPoints possiblePoints earnedComments
Your project presents a well-developed and well-researched argument, informative message, or insightful representation of a text, author, or other historical topic relevant to our class.25  
The design of your project supports your argument; visual and audio elements serve a clear purpose, are arranged in a rhetorically effective manner, and engage your audience without distracting from the goals of your project.20  
The project is polished and technically proficient, free from errors, and complete—i.e., there are 2000 words or an equivalent amount of work in other media. [I would expect group projects to be longer, to allow each member to put in equivalent amounts of work.]10  
You’ve communicated with me about your topic and ideas for the project, including meeting with me at least once. 15  
You are prepared to explain your project in the last week of class and answer questions about it.15  
Your project is informative and demonstrates that you’ve searched out scholarly research on your topic; you correctly cite at least 6 reliable sources (MLA or Chicago styles preferable).15