This assignment serves to mark the beginning of your visual research project. You will have one week to complete this assignment; you will be doing the following: 1. Select a component of identity that you want to study through visual (photography) research 2. Review scholarly updated literature on that topic to inform your study (at least 3 articles; 6 articles for students honorizing the course) 3. Explain the methodology you wish to use to make your project possible 4. State your final topic clearly and succinctly following the literature review you created Although there isn’t a specific page/word limit, your proposal, on average, will run between 1000- 2500 words. This may sound like a lot, but once you consider each of the four parts separately you will find that “the words” rack up quite quickly. Be sure to be concise and to the point, but make sure you are engaging the literature and trying your best to construct a good argument grounded in the academic works you find during your search. The following presents each individual section of your proposal. Make sure to read all the directions carefully before you begin working on your assignment. Each of the four components contributes heavily to your grade for this assignment. You may want to read over the Project Overview PDF on Blackboard to get a general idea of the full project. It will help you complete some of the sections of the proposal. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out by email. Section A: Identifying the Topic Social research begins with a general question of personal, academic, and/or applied interest that is narrowed and specified based on prior research. In quantitative research the first thing one does is pick a specific research question. In qualitative work, though, we do it a little differently. We do not want to go into a project with a biased opinion, so we tend to collect the data and let it speak to us, and then figure out what type of question we could have answered with our data sets. For this project we will draw a little bit from both camps. Think about something related to identity and the self (identity work as defined in your project overview document) that you find fascinating. This could be something like the development of sexual identities, the ways that people negotiate contradiction of different identities, or maybe how having particular kinds of identities affect the ways we are perceived or the ways we interact, etc. Ideally, I’d like you to pick an identity dimension that you feel the most comfortable with. You may think back on the Identity Circle activity we did in class and the identity component you chose to speak about that day. Ultimately, you will be using that identity dimension to ground your paper, so make sure you pick something you are fully engaged with. For some it may be the development of Youth Programming – Fall 2015 Peña-Talamantes 2 sexual identities, for others the identity of one’s self as a wo/man of an underrepresented social group, and yet, for others, it could be as simple as how people perceive dominant gender norms for each of the “sexes,” you decide. In this first section, make sure to address the following: What is the general topic that interests you? Why are you interested in it? Is there a backstory as to why you find this fascinating? Can it be explored through photography and visual media? How do you know? Can you collect data on the topics in question easily in a face-toface interview? And what are some of the issues you foresee by engaging in this topic? Remember, your topic is YOURS, but I will assess how well you develop it into a researchable project and justify it as an important topic to study (based not only on how important it is to you, but also how much it might make sense to study it through photography). If you have trouble coming up with a topic, I suggest you read national newspapers like the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, or national magazines like Time or Newsweek, or other periodicals that speak to what “issues” are pressing (or perceived to be important) within the US today. You could also browse some of the recent issues of journals in your area of interest (e.g. Symbolic Interaction, Gender & Society, Social Psychology Quarterly, Social Forces, American Sociological Review, Sociology of Education, etc.) through the Sawyer Library journal search. There are several hundred journals with very diverse emphases that span the range of social science fields. Please note that popular periodicals and newspapers DO NOT COUNT as references under Section B below. These kinds of sources can help to inform you about what problems or questions may be newsworthy, but these do not suffice as ‘academic/scholarly’ references. Also, keep in mind that your study will be of an “Exploratory” nature because you will be examining the themes that emerge from photographs and interviews as your participants elaborate on them. Section B: The Literature Review Once you have established the topic you are interested in, use this section to review relevant academic literature that helps you make a case for what is known about the subject. You will be required to find, read, and review at least 3 scholarly articles, preferably published between 2010 and now, relevant to your Section A topic. Note: If you chose to “honorize” the course, you should use at least 6 articles in your review To do this you may use the search tools available to you from the Suffolk University Library (http://www.suffolk.edu/sawlib/) – specifically the OneSearch box in the middle of the library homepage – or you may opt to use the Google Scholar engine (http://www.google.com/scholar). Personally, I really like using Google Scholar because I feel it is more intuitive and the results that show up tend to be the most cited articles in the field (which is a GOOD thing!). The only drawback is that it might be a little more of a lengthy process to download articles in this way but if you Youth Programming – Fall 2015 Peña-Talamantes 3 choose to try it you can do so in the following way: 1. Go to the Google Scholar page (link above) 2. Type in keywords for your topic 3. The list that comes up will give you the name of the articles in Blue and the citation information in Green. 4. Use the citation information to locate the article at the Sawyer Library. This information in Green names the authors, followed by the name of the Journal and year of publication. This should be enough to locate the PDF at the Sawyer library. Some of the search results may say [PDF available from ….] and if you click on this it will take you directly to the PDF – but these are rare. These 3 articles (or 6, for honors students) are from peer-reviewed scholarly journals and may NOT be from popular periodicals like Time or Newsweek or newspapers like the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Academic articles are subjected to a rigorous peer-review process consisting of submission, reviews from experts in those topics, and months of revisions and critiques before they are accepted for publication. This is all done in an attempt to ensure that these types of written scholarly works all meet standards of quality and methodological rigor not present in popular media outlets. This is why I want you to select references from the academic literature. You are allowed to use for than 3 academic references in your literature review (plus any popular articles you use to help you frame your question in Section A). Yet, keep in mind that this is a class project to help you learn the steps towards creating a review, but ultimately, it is not a “real” literature review – those would have between 20-30 references to make sure all aspects of the topic at hand were covered…whew!! J Even though you will be reviewing only 3 articles, you will still need to combine these articles in an “integrated literature review” for this section to let me know what the “state of the literature” is regarding your topic, and that you’re well informed before proceeding to analyze the data you collect in the second part of the project. An integrated literature review is one that combines the consideration of each article into one flowing text, going from one point to another and considering how each articles deals with the issue. This is the kind of review you will see in my paper “Empowering the Selves, Creating Worlds” that will be posted on Blackboard. In this type of review, one does not just summarize Paper 1 and moves on to summarize Paper 2 and so on. Although a good review has a summarizing element that tells what is known from a study and how it was done, it also has comparative and evaluative elements, which discuss the comparisons between studies and further evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the studies in question, respectively. A good review leaves the reader with a sense of what is known on the topic, the quality of the extant research on the topic, and an idea of what questions remain to be answered on the topic. You have probably does this kind of work before when you were asked to “compare and contrast.” That’s what an integrated literature review is. Think about the methods and conclusions of these articles as these relate with your question. What problems/ limitations do you see in these works? Do these characteristics of prior research help you in justifying the need for your study? How does including an element of photography and interviewing have the possibility of resulting in a different conflusion? Write all this up as Section B of the paper. Of course, it will relate back to what you said in Section A. Youth Programming – Fall 2015 Peña-Talamantes 4 Note: I understand that you may never have been asked to do a review of academic literature previously. If this is the case, then this part of the paper may be much more difficult for you than it would appear. My goal is to help you learn, so make sure to reach out with any questions. Section C: The Proposed Method In a proposal, your methodology is the most important components of the project. Researchers must be very careful when this section is written up, because the purpose of its inclusion is for others to be able to replicate studies and verify findings. This section will be used to help you reflect on who you will be collecting data from, how you plan to collect this data, and what you think you will be doing with this data. Of course, some of these components will be easily answered by reviewing the document that gives you an overview of the project. Ultimately, this section will help you lay out the specific project you will be conducting. If you don’t remember, the project’s goal is to serve as both visual research and reflection. You are to collect photographs that represent your own trajectory/development/experiences with the topic you chose. You will need to explain what sort of photographs you will be using in this section. You will then be very strategic about identifying at least 3 individuals to whom you will present the photographs and let them give you their own interpretations of them. You will then tell them what they mean, and you will make note of their reactions or if their interpretations of these photographs changed. Your goal is to identify themes about how individuals make sense of symbols and of your own life story – although you do not need to disclose that it is your own life story. The photographs can be your own or taken from other sources – like the internet – that will be up to you to make the case for them. So this is the overall method of the project. YOU WILL NOT BE DOING ANY OF THIS NOW. You will use this section to expand on how you PLAN to do this. Specifically: Leading from your literature review, what is the purpose of your study? What kinds of data to you plan to collect (this should be obvious)? How will these data types help you examine the general topic you are interested in? Who will be asked to participate in the project, and why did you choose these individuals? What do these individuals have in common/different that make them good candidates to help you explore the answers to your question? What will they be asked to do? Will they get any compensation for participating? How will you make sure you keep their identities confidential/anonymous? Once collected, what kinds of data will you have, and how do you plan to make sense of your data? These are all questions that you will need to think about carefully for your proposal. Again, you may use the article “Empowering the Selves, Creating Worlds” on Blackboard for help. You do not need to know all the specific details about this. In the second project component, you will be asked to rewrite this section with what you “actually” did. So, use it to reflect on how you will be conducting the project, but don’t let it define what you are doing. Know that there is always some flexibility when it comes to methodology, but one needs to always keep a record of what is done. Note: For legal reasons involving issues of informed consent, your project MUST be limited to ADULTS. All respondents must also remain anonymous – no names, although you may create Youth Programming – Fall 2015 Peña-Talamantes 5 pseudonyms for them. This said, you must also be cognizant of topics that may stir unwanted emotions or bring bias to your project. You want to make sure you are working on something you are passionate about, but also be sensitive to the kinds of issues that may come up when you ask individuals about certain things. Section D: Project Plan & Expectations Begin this section by stating the purpose of the study and your general topic of interest/research question. Using what you have written from all the previous sections, think about what some of the conclusions may be once you are done with your project. Do you expect your findings to line up with what is already known about the topic you chose? Do you expect them to be different? In either case, make sure to explain why. You can back this up using materials and concepts from class, personal experiences, or other sources you find helpful. You may also use this section to talk about some of the limitations your project may have from gathering data from only three people. You can also talk about how the project may be expanded in the future. Ultimately, this section should give me a clear understanding of the topic you will be pursuing in your project and that you have a general understanding of the findings that may come from it. The “Urban Youth and Photovoice” book may also be a great resource to see how the method may be used and applied to this project. So make sure to use it if you get confused. In addition, I will be uploading some sample proposals from previous courses to help orient you if you get confused. They may be a little different in terms of the “methods” sections, but overall, they capture the same level of engagement. Formatting: Make sure to turn in your papers with Times New Roman 12-point font, and with one (1) inch margins all around, and DOUBLE-SPACED, throughout. Make sure each section you write has a heading that corresponds to the ones provided here (i.e. Section A: Identifying the Topics; Section B: Literature Review; Section C….). Make sure to include a title page that follows the appropriate citation format (see next paragraph). This page should include the prospective title of your project, your full name, course number, semester and year, and professor’s last name, where appropriate. Also, make sure to number your pages. Use the citation style of the American Sociological Association (ASA) to format your references and in-text citations. You can find an extensive ASA guide from Trinity University here: (http://lib.trinity.edu/research/citing/ASA_Style_Citations_4.pdf ), or a quick convenient guide from the American Sociological Association itself at the following link: (http://www.asanet.org/documents/teaching/pdfs/Quick_Tips_for_ASA_Style.pdf) Upload papers in the “Visual Research Proposal” Submission Link in the “PhotoVoice Youth Programming – Fall 2015 Peña-Talamantes 6 Project” page on your Blackboard site by 11:59pm (Eastern Time) on Friday, October 16
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