HUM 115: Research Project Assignment Sheet Introduction: Students will conduct a semester-long research project in this course in which they identify an issue of importance to them, research that issue using credible resource

HUM 115: Research Project Assignment Sheet


Students will conduct a semester-long research project in this course in which they identify an issue of importance to them, research that issue using credible resources, propose a solution to the issue, and reflect on their thinking process.

The project is split into three parts which will be turned in throughout the semester, culminating in a final essay.

Due Dates:

·       Sun., June 11: Preliminary Proposal Due (10% of course grade)

o   You will submit a proposal in which you discuss the issue, how you will research that issue, your basic argument surrounding that issue and your general plan for completing the project.

·       Sun., July 9: Annotated List of Sources Due (10% of course grade)

o   You will submit at least five sources in a specific format (MLA or APA) and discuss the worth of those sources using the template provided in Moodle.

·       Sun., July 23: Final Project Due (20% of course grade)

o   On this date, you will submit your 1,500-word essay using the template provided in Moodle and including a works cited page at the end.

Part 1: Research Project Proposal

·      Description:

o   For your research project, you will need to choose an issue that is affecting society. This topic can be local, state, national, or world. However, be careful to not choose an issue that you have a strong bias towards. Instead, choose an issue about which you can present a reasonable and interesting argument and on which you can find at least five sources.

o   Below are a few example topics:

§  Health Care (Not Covid-related). Nothing relating to Covid, vaccines, etc. is allowed.

§  Issues with poverty, education, crime. There are so many different topics that are available in each of these areas.

§  A resource or service your community needs

§  How should K-12 education be reformed. (Testing, transportation, nutrition, etc.)

§  Election Fraud

§  Are voter ID laws necessary

§  Police reform

§  Should community college be free?

§  Another issue or problem (Not Covid-related)

§  News media/social media/fake news, etc.

·      Requirements:

o   Proposal Content:

§  Present your issue as a question (i.e. How can we solve issue “A” in community “B”?) and give an overview of the issue. Explain how the issue is affecting society. Discuss the basics of the issue, how it is relevant, why it is important to investigate, what makes it arguable, and any important context that will help introduce readers to the discussion.

§  Then, present your hypothesis. At the end of this project, you will need to propose a solution to help fix this issue. Your hypothesis here would be what you think at this point might be a possible solution to this problem (your solution will serve as your argument for this project). Keep in mind that true critical thinking requires that we investigate all claims, so it is possible that you will arrive at a conclusion contrary to your hypothesis after you have thoroughly researched and evaluated your topic.

o   Proposal Length: Your proposal should be a minimum of 250 words.

·       Grading: Proposals will be graded on a 5-point scale (i.e. 100, 95, 90, 85, etc.) based on content, relevance of issue, depth of question and hypothesis, and language/grammar.

Part 2: Annotated List of Sources

· Description:

o   In order to critically think about your issue/problem, you will need to do research on it. Find 5 reliable and strong sourcesdiscussing your topic. These sources should address the topic you have selected.

§  For instance, if you choose to research health care access in your community, you will need a source providing statistics about how many people in your community have health insurance, or how the cost of insurance in your community compares to the national average, but a few of your sources may address health care access in the U.S. more generally.

o   Once you’ve found your sources, you will cite them in MLAformat using the template provided in Moodle and write a 5-6 sentence paragraph about each in order to summarize the source. In your summaries, include each of these elements:

§  Summarize the source.

§  Evaluate the source’s credibility (explain why it is reliable, focusing on the author and publisher of the piece).

§  Discuss how the source can be used in your final project.

· Source Requirements:

o   The sources you use must be mature, college-level sources. Your best option is to search for peer-reviewed journal articles via Sources like encyclopedias (including Wikipedia) are too basic for this project. Other sources could be reliable news articles or websites ending in .org, .edu, or .gov.

· Grading: This assignment will be graded for formatting (10 points), reliable sources (30 points), correct citation (25 points), and effective paragraph summaries (35 points).

Part 3: Final Research Essay

· Description:

For this final essay, you will write a minimum 1,500-word essay in which you explain and give background information on your issue, present various arguments surrounding the issue, propose a solution to the issue, and reflect on your thinking process. It is strongly recommended that you use the BCC Writing Center to review your paper.

· Requirements:

o   Minimum of 1,500 words

o   Third person voice throughout (no “I” or “you” or “we”, etc.), except in reflection.

o   Minimum of 5 strong sources (found in your annotated list of sources). Proper MLA citation throughout, including both in-text citations and a works cited or references page at the end.

o   Stay objective in your essay (don’t pick sides) until you propose your solution.

o   Respectful and professional tonethroughout

o   Written in correct, standard English with no grammar, punctuation, or spelling errors.

· Parts of the Essay:

The essay should follow this organizational pattern carefully and should use the Final Research Essay template posted in Moodle (note that these are sections, not necessarily paragraphs):

1. IntroductionDiscuss the basics of your topic/issue and how it affects you and/or society. Introduce some of the arguments surrounding the issue and then state your solution in a thesis statement at the end of the paragraph.

2. Research and Background on IssueIn this section, give your reader more detailed background information on your topic and why it is important to address and research. Share relevant research with your reader, citing your sources and using direct quotes, pieces of evidence, statistics, etc., as needed. The goal here is to inform your reader about the issue/topic and what is currently happening within your community.

3. Explanation of Arguments Surrounding your IssueIn this section, explain at least 3 major arguments surrounding your issue and discuss/analyze each argument. Consider these questions:

a.     What do other people argue about this issue or propose as a solution to this issue?

b.    How do different viewpoints/perspectives/worldviews influence others’ arguments about this issue?

c.     What are some strengths and weaknesses of these common arguments?

d.    Do any of these arguments contain logical fallacies? If so, explain.

4. Your ProposalIn this section, explain your proposal to this issue. What should be done to help solve this problem and who should implement the solution? Include evidence and research to back up your solution, using quotes, facts, statistics, and your interview to help show the reader why your solution is the best option.

5. Critical Thinking ReflectionIn this section, reflect on how your thinking changed on your topic/issue throughout the semester. Did your original hypothesis become your actual solution? Why or why not? What did you learn about thinking and investigatingissues and controversies throughout this project? *You may use first person voice in this section*

6. ConclusionIn your final section of the essay, wrap up your thoughts by reiterating the importance of the issue, reminding the reader how your solution can help solve the problem, and reflecting on what else needs to be done.

· Recommended Resources:

o   For MLA citation,visit

o   Writing Center: Take advantage of our writing center on campus by getting feedback on your work from a tutor prior to submitting your essay. Visit the website here:

Rubric: Your final essay grade will be the sum of your scores from the following categories.

Citation, Language, and

Essay uses correct citation, includes an
introduction and conclusion, uses proper grammar and spelling, and is
formatted/organized according to the template.

20 points

Research and Background on

This section is complete, provides
necessary research, and gives the reader valuable and complete information
about the local issue.

20 points

Arguments Surrounding Your

This section remains objective and fair to
other sides of the issue and effectively communicates the major
ideas/solutions surrounding this problem, providing effective research and
examples throughout.

20 points

Your Proposal

This section presents a sound argument with
reasonable evidence that supports a clear solution. The solution is logical
and includes no fallacies. Content is representative, compelling, and
sophisticated. Writer demonstrates clear thinking and makes no unnecessary

20 points

Critical Thinking Reflection

The reflection is relevant, insightful, and
detailed, containing specific examples of how thinking has changed and how
the students’ ideas on the issue have evolved throughout the research

20 points