Research essay

From the profile:

This essay has two components. The first is an evaluation of your progress to establishing your academic identity, the positives and negatives that have occurred during the course. It should trace your thinking leading up to a draft working paper that relates to your research interest/focus. It should also reflect on the feedback you have received from others for the draft. The second component is a draft of the working paper related to your research problem. The aim is twofold, first to position your research problem in the wider literature, and the second is to make your research study accessible to the wider public. This draft working paper should be written in a style that can can be posted on one or more academic networking sites after feedback.

First part

It may seem odd to think about having or developing an academic identity but the moment you signed onto Academia or popped your Wiki posts online, your work was made visible to the world. Of course there are other ways that this will or has occurred that derive from your existing professional expertise and their associated networks.

All you need to do is write a short reflective piece, same style as the previous two tasks, about your thinking and working towards your academic identity. There is no requirement for it to be complete and ambivalence is fine, as is it was not worth your while at this time. But you do need to support whatever your assessment is. In terms of words, roughly 500.

Second part

In order to receive feedback your draft needs to be available to the group by early to mid October, block 4. You don't need to share the first part of this task with your readers but it would be useful to tell them what the paper is about, i.e. it's purpose. If, as I will suggest below, it is a draft of your introduction to your thesis proposal then one line saying so is all you need.

Unlike much of the formal writing you have undertaken, this task will require you to explain your work to an audience that will not know much, if anything about your work. So simple questions such as:

  • how did you come to this problem/question?
  • why is this work important to you and to others?
  • why are you researching the problem the way that you are planning to?
  • who will be the likely beneficiaries of your completed work?

These are NOT headings for you to write to, merely prompts for you to consider when structuring the paper.

You are free to choose any aspect of your research agenda for this task and I am happy to chat to you about whatever you opt to do.

What follows is based upon a suggestion of drafting the introduction to your research proposal. I have been chatting to folk in the course on Slack and it would seem that this is a useful idea, i.e. to draft up your introduction. Now it may be that this may overlap with writing you are doing for another course. The main thing to do is to clearly indicate that the work is being assessed in this course. If you are uncertain about how to negotiate this, best talk to your supervisor(s). The intent of the coursework is to support you in working towards your proposal. You will write and rewrite each of the sections a number of times.

The other point about an introduction is that is either the last or second last section of any document, proposal, the actual thesis, a paper etc. that is written. If you think of the proposal as a novel then you know what the end point is, what the outcome of the story is and the front end is where you set things up. Knowing all of these things makes it a lot easier to write an introduction. You will likely have some sense of most of the sections already, i.e. the literature review, methodology, research design and so on. So writing an introduction now will give you a useful basis for the preparation of the final version of this section of your final document.

The rubrics for the 3rd task.

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