ASIC 200 – Major Research Project Assignment

(another post specific for students of ASIC 200)

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(pdf is also available)

Major research assignment is due on April 28th by 4pm. Your assignment (both written and creative components) can be handed in at the Michael Smith Building in my mail slot (on the third floor, by the receptionist). Note that if your creative component is too big, you can also leave by the receptionist. Note that 4pm is pretty strict – as in the reception area locks down at that time. You can also hand your assignment in earlier at the same coordinates.

ASIC 200 Global Issues in the Arts and Sciences

The Major Research Project Assignment

A Reminder from the Course Outline:

The major research project will provide students with the opportunity to compose a project that links a global issue with a local or regional manifestation of that issue. The project will describe the global issue under investigation, analyze the possible local or regional impact of this issue, evaluate the implications for local or regional governments, institutions, and civil society actors, and develop a program proposal to address or respond to this issue and its effects. This assignment is to be based largely around written content of 10 double spaced pages in length. Students must develop their projects in consultation with the instructors.

The objective of this assignment is to introduce students to the role of community engagement and activism in addressing social problems, provide an opportunity to explore the relationship between global issues and local issues, engage relevant actors in the local or regional community, and enable students to explore the relationship between global and local issues and the graphic and creative arts.

Assignment Philosophy (Or: Why Dr. Ng and Dr. Sens Are Making Me Do This)

In the spirit of the well-known phrase “think globally, act locally” we wanted students to have the opportunity to explore a global issue of their choice and the impact that issue was having (or might have) on the Lower Mainland or in British Columbia. We also wanted students to explore how they might make a difference in local efforts to mitigate or adapt to the global issue in question. That is what this assignment is all about. It is about designing a response to the local manifestations of a global issue. It is also about developing the research, writing, and public engagement skills required of being an active citizen.

Getting Started (Or: Where Do I Start?)

First, you need to pick a global issue, one that has some local impact (either current or expected). Your next step is to find peer reviewed scientific and scholarly research on this issue and at least some written work on the local aspects of the issue. Then you need to do some reading and start thinking about an argument for your project!

Mechanics and Structure (Or: What is the Assignment Supposed to Look Like?)

The research assignment is a research paper typically expected of students in the social sciences and humanities. The assignment should be no longer than ten double spaced 12 point font pages in length. You must adhere to standard rules of formal English and follow the bibliographic and footnote/endnote rules under the Turabian citation system (for this system, go to here).

The research assignment should be structured as follows (yes, you can use these subheadings in your paper!):

Introduction (one page)

The first page of the paper should feature an introduction to the topic and why it is significant in a global context. The argument of your paper and a brief description of your policy proposals (your recommendations for local mitigation and adaptation strategies) should be placed at the end of this introduction, consistent with accepted social science practice. You must write your argument in one or two sentences (this is often called a “thesis sentence”). Your thesis sentence should answer the question: “how will this global issue affect us here in Vancouver or in B.C.?” After the thesis sentence you should include a brief description of your policy proposals. These are your recommendations as to how we can best respond to the issue you have chosen. What should be done about the problem locally? The rest of your assignment should support your thesis statement and your policy recommendations.

The Global Problem (two pages)

Here, you should describe the nature of the global issue you have chosen. Why is it important? What impact is this issue having today and what impact will it have in the future?

The Local Problem (three pages)

This section should outline how the global issue you have chosen is significant in a local context. How is the issue having a local impact (or how will it have a local impact in the future)? You should discuss what options exist to prevent, mitigate, or adapt to these local impacts. You should discuss what local community actors in government or civil society are relevant in the local mitigation and adaptation process. You may find that local government or community actors are already responding to the issue. Are their responses adequate? Does more need to be done?

Recommendations (three pages)

In this section, you should offer your own recommendations on what should be done in response to the local impact of the global issue you have chosen. What should be done? What options do you favour of? Why? You are required to develop a community engagement strategy in this part of your project. In order for your project recommendations to be implemented, what government agencies, local businesses, and community groups will have to be involved? You do not have to actually go out and contact these agencies and groups (although if you wish to that would be very interesting!). You just need to identify them and indicate their role in your prospective recommendations.

Conclusion/Executive Summary (one page)

In your conclusion, summarize your project in a way that your basic arguments and recommendations can be read quickly. In other words, if you had five minutes with the Mayor or the Premier, how would you summarize your argument and your recommendations?

Creative Component

The project must also include some form of audio or visual media in order to develop a link between the content of the research project and the graphic or creative arts aspects of public engagement, outreach, and visibility/awareness. Examples might include publicity or promotional materials such as posters or advertisements, web-based elements, creative writing, graphic art, sculpture, podcasts, video, etc. have fun with this, but remember: it has to advance public awareness and the goals of your project.

Evaluation criteria (Or: How Will I be Graded?)

The “teaching team” will grade the assignments, with the primary responsibility for assigning grades resting with Dr. Ng and Dr. Sens. Here are some of the criteria we will have in mind while grading:

– Does the project have a clear argument and set of policy proposals?

– Does the project describe the local impact or implication of the global issue in an accurate and convincing way?

– Does the project have a clear community engagement strategy?

– Does the project have an effective graphic or creative arts component for the purposes of developing public engagement, outreach, and visibility/awareness?

– Is the project well composed and written?

– Does the project have a strong research base composed of peer-reviewed science and arts scholarship?

– Does the graphic or creative arts component of the project provide an effective publicity or awareness campaign for the project and its goals?

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