Course Outline MA(IL) 806

Mr. Easton

Summer 2006


The purpose of this course is to provide you with an opportunity to develop topics and methods that help you in designing a strategy that will be useful for approaching your required project.  In particular we will discuss the approaches to topics that are used in the social sciences and stress the structure and nature of arguments that can be helpful in developing your projects.  The key feature of the course will be an incremental project.  Each week will include a five (or more) page increment to a single essay that progressively will develop the themes presented in lecture and discussion.

The references below illustrate some of the books that have been written.  There is no text for the course.

Silverman, D. Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook H62 S55 2000
Friedman S. and S. Steinberg. Writing and Thinking in the Social Sciences H 62 F727
Berry, R. The Research Project LB 2369 B38 2000
Hart, C.  Doing a Literature Review H 62 H2566 1998

Grading will be based on the progressive essay (50%), classroom participation (25%), and the completed essay (25%).

I.  General Approaches to Preparing a Project: A User's Guide to Formal Success
    a. Introduction and Outline
    b. Getting to know you and your interests
    c. Writing in the social sciences
    d. Expositions versus criticism
    e. Choosing your topic versus knowing your area of interest
    f. Work on the 'homework' essay

II. Practicing the Forms of Exposition: Practice Makes Perfect
    a. Review
    b. Discussion of the homework
    c. The Role of Theory
    d. Representing and presenting data
    e. Manipulating data
    f. Developing your homework

III.  Spicing Up Your Project:  Boring is Not Required for Completion
    a. Review
    b. A classroom example
    c. Spicing up your essay
    d. Pitfalls
    e. Developing your homework

IV. Knowing When to Quit: You are Writing a Project not a Book
    a. Review
    b. Discussion of homework
    c. Choosing an advisor