Final Paper

Guidelines

General purpose and expectations
Format of the paper (minimum): abstract (1-2s), acknowledgement (1), main text (about 5 single-spaced pages), reference list (two new paper and two new electronic publications)
Abstract
Acknowledgement
Protecting privacy of people you are writing about
Format of your references
Posting on Publishing Web for Students' Final Papers
Seeing Publishing Web for Students' Final Papers (check if your paper has been published OK at http://ematusov.eds.udel.edu/final.paper.pub )

WB01158_.GIF (255 bytes) General purpose and expectations

The individual final paper is continuation of group project in regard to the learning goals.   The purposes of the final paper are to learn how to:

investigate an issue/dilemma on issues of cognition and instruction,
articulate dilemma and alternatives that you consider;
discuss pros and cons and whose who may be proponents and opponents of the alternatives using examples;
find what other people think on the issue (paper and electronic references);
make your personal suggestions to the dilemma can be resolved and why; and
learn how to articulate your ideas for publication.

I think these skills are very important for your future career. Also, by sharing frustration and problems together, I believe you'll provide a lot of guidance for each other.

Choose one of the topics we discussed in the course (or tailor your own) of your interest. The topic should be a dilemma (i.e., to do things one way or another). It should imply having researchers and educators as your potential audience. It should be problematic for you and other researchers/educators (why bother to do something that it is clear?).

Develop your pro- and contra- arguments and provide evidence/examples for your claims based on your own or somebody else’s observations and experience and literature references. Discuss what you take to be the practical implication of the cognitive and instructional principles in different educational settings. You may also want to interview the participants of the observations if you need/want to do that. I want to encourage you to use our webtalk discussions and the project of critical analysis of EDST390 for your research paper. The topics for the group project and its evaluation will be discussed in class meetings and laid out midway through the term.

Here are my suggestions for the paper:

Start your paper by clearly describing what topic area you are going to be discussing in the paper and provide the reason why this selected area is of special interest to you. There can be several integrated lines of interest in the paper.
Provide arguments both for and against your perspective in theorizing or studying the topic area that you chose for the paper.
Support your arguments using evidence. You may include as evidence for your claims both your own observations and empirical research findings. However, you must indicate clearly where your evidence comes from.
Distinguish your speculations from claims made by others in the readings or other sources (e.g., Internet, other classes, web discussions, non-group members of the class). However, do try to include both.
Incorporate at least three new paper reference (e.g., journal paper, book, book chapter, reading from another class, etc. – besides our class reading list) and three electronic reference (Internet webpage, not from our class web) per group participant in your paper. Provide list of references for the materials, which you referred to in the paper at the end of the paper and put references in the appropriate place in the text. The guidelines for the reference format you can find on our web at http://ematusov.eds.udel.edu/EDST820.99S/final.htm#references .
Be sure to include a discussion on the practical implications of the discussed issues for education in general. You may focus on either positive or negative implications or both.
Write 100-200-word abstract (what the paper is about and what the structure it has).

Warning.gif (151 bytes) I want you to publish your final paper on the Internet. This web, unlike our class, is NOT covered by a password and assessable for general public. In this class you are going to learn to become more and more public in your work – this seems to be very valuable skill in your future career. I know that some of you may feel uncomfortable to expose your writing to the entire world. However, it is not so scary as it may feel at the beginning and it is fun. However, if it is become a big anxiety problem for you or the paper has personal information, you can use a pseudonym as the last resort (just let me know about the pseudonym). In my teaching experience, out of about 200 students only two chose to use pseudonyms.

Warning.gif (151 bytes) Feel free to submit me a draft of your final paper for my feedback before publishing it on the web. If you decide to do that try to do it as early as possible.

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WB01542_.gif (729 bytes) Abstract

Abstract should involve a paragraph or two describing what is the paper about, what the main dilemma it discusses, what is your main conclusion or suggestion, and who may be benefit from reading the paper. It can include acknowledgements at the end.

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WB01062_.GIF (249 bytes) Acknowledgments

You are encouraged to read each other's papers and to provide feedback and comments for one another. This process is extremely valuable for your own learning and is a wonderful way to be helpful and participate in others' learning. It is helpful (for crediting other people) that you include acknowledgments for those who read and commented on your paper as well as for the participants in your research (in the case when you decided to expand group project). Acknowledgements should be included at the end of your abstract as a new paragraph.

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WB00969_.GIF (261 bytes) Protecting privacy of people you are writing about

Please, keep in mind that your final papers are not confidential and should be addressed to the general public. You must take responsibility for protecting privacy of the involved fellow students whom you may discuss in the paper. Protecting privacy and the well-being of the community you studied (and its individual members) must be your highest priority as a researcher. I suggest to use four privacy protection rules:

  1. Try not to use people's and institutions' real names as much as possible (use pseudonyms);
  2. If you have to use people's names or people's direct quotes (usage of direct quote is very illustrative), show the participants of your research how you used their names and quotes in your text (do not forget to provide the context of the usage) and ask the people for permission to use their names and quotes. You must either go along with their suggestions to change the text, or modify the text to cover the people's identity, or drop the controversial fragment out of the paper;
  3. Even if you do not use people's names or direct quotes but they may recognize themselves in your paper (and others may recognize them), try to describe the participants in a way that they would agree with your descriptions and interpretations. The rule of thumb is that your descriptions and interpretations of events and people's behavior should be respectful toward the people you studied;
  4. If you have doubts or somebody raises doubts about the accuracy of your description and/or interpretation of the depicted events (there is nothing wrong if this happens because clarification of the occurred events is a part of any research), it is essential to consult with the participants and ask them for the feedback.

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WB00955_.GIF (255 bytes) Format of your references

You should provide both paper (e.g., books, chapters, journal articles) and electronic (i.e., WWW sites) references in the text of your paper and a reference list at the end of the paper. The purpose of providing references is:

  1. Learn how to find what other people think on the issue of your interest.
  2. Learn how to ground your discussion of the issue in discussions of other people.
  3. Provide your reader an opportunity to investigate the referred sources by themselves.
  4. Credit other people for contributing to your thinking.

The reference format can vary but it should include:

Red Arrow.gif (101 bytes)In-text referencing can follow a direct quote or your paraphrase or support for your point of others people's ideas. Referencing should be at the end of the quote, paraphrasing or your point supported by other author's ideas and include in parentheses the following info:

Red Arrow.gif (101 bytes)Reference list should be at the end of your paper separated by a subtitle (e.g., "References," "Bibliography" -- do not forget to separate the subtitles and reference entries with two Enters/Returns, otherwise the text would lamp together)

  • author(s) (if the author is unknown, put "unknown"),
  • year of the publication (skip if the date in unknown),
  • title of the publication in quotation marks (or title of the WebPages for an electronic publication),
  • issue number for journal,
  • page number for journal articles and chapters,
  • editor names and title of the book for book chapters in quotation marks (e.g., In K. Smith and N. Black (Eds.), "Humanistic schooling."),
  • place of publishing for books,
  • full address of the WWW site for an electronic reference (e.g., http://www.schooling_123.edu/discipline.htm) (try to be exact in copying the referred WWW address because otherwise it doesn't turn into hyperlink and a reader can't find it on the Internet).
  • publisher for books and book chapters.
  • Warning.gif (151 bytes) Each reference entry should be separated with two Enters/Returns in order to avoid lumping text entries together.

    Warning.gif (151 bytes) It is also appropriate to refer to personal communication, class WebTalk, or class presentation. In these cases make reference only in the body of your text and do not put in the reference list. The format should include author(s), approximate date of exposure, and type of exposure (e.g., personal communication, class presentation).

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