Child Development 290 (01)
Seminar in Culminating Experience
Fall, 2008 - Hembree

 

Research Journal 

Keeping a research journal will help you as you read and reflect on course material and your research topic. In this course, you will make at least 10 journal  entries on nearly a weekly basis. Each journal assignment begins with a response to questions, or engagement in a particular activity (e.g., interview a potential sponsor) with a reflection on that activity. You should also use your journal to reflect directly on your reading and your thesis/project ideas as your topic develops. 

The assignments are designed to prompt some reflection and discussion for class that day, so please do the assignments on the day they are assigned. You may use a spiral notebook or a Word file for your journal entries. I will collect your journals twice during the semester, checking them for completeness.

Assignment #1 (9/9) - Exploring ideas 

Where do good ideas for projects and theses come from? What interests you and why? How might your interests and professional experience translate into an interesting thesis or project? At this point, do you think you will do a project or a thesis? Why?

 

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Assignment #2 (9/16) - Your topic and initial search

Write a brief description of your idea or topic. What are some search terms that you will use as you begin your library research? What do you already know about your topic and what is it you hope to find in your research?

 

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Assignment #3 - (9/23) - Library research and evaluation of sources

How has your topic become refined by your initial search? In general, what would you characterize as the most difficult problem connected with researching this topic/subject? How would you characterize the sources connected to this topic/subject (general quality, helpfulness, bias)?  Are there any types of sources or kind of materials that you need and cannot find? What is the next step? 

 

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Assignment #4 (9/30)  - Writing

How is the writing that you will undertake in writing your thesis different from other kinds of writing you do? What are some of the challenges you see in writing your thesis and how will you work to manage those challenges?

What are some common errors in your own writing? What do you think someone else would/will say in reviewing your written work? (Now review your article summary for those problems and fix them! :-))

 

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Assignment #5 (10/7) - Sponsor Interview I

Meet with your sponsor or potential sponsor and interview him/her about your thesis/project idea and his/her view of the process. Start with the questions below and feel free to add your own. Take notes during the interview and report the sponsor's responses in your journal, then reflect upon the sponsor's answers as they relate to your own needs/style and your topic.

Before approaching your sponsor, have a paragraph written about your ideas for your culminating project. The more succinct and specific you can be,  the more helpful the interview will be with respect to developing ideas about your thesis/project.

1) Research Interests:

What are your current research projects? What other research interests do you have? What topics do you feel comfortable sponsoring? With what research methods do you feel comfortable? Do you feel comfortable sponsoring both theses and projects?

2) Work style:

How would you describe your style in working with your MA students? How would your students describe you as a sponsor? How regularly would we meet and for how long? 

3) Expectations:

What could I expect from you as a sponsor? What do you see as my responsibility in this process? What is your availability during breaks, especially summer?

4) My thesis/topic:

(Describe your topic and idea) What areas of the literature do I need to review for my topic? Do you have any advice for me as I begin my thesis/project?

5) Any other question(s) that you find to be useful...

JOURNALS DUE IN CLASS 10/14 (send file via email or bring your notebook to class)

 

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Assignment #6 (10/21) - Practical/Analytical considerations

Brainstorm some ideas for implementing your project or collecting data for your thesis. If you are doing a project, how will you develop and evaluate your project materials? If you are doing a thesis, what measures/materials will you use, what will your data look like and how will you analyze it? What additional steps must you take to design your method? 

 

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Assignment #7 (10/28) - Feedback and writing/research problem

In reviewing your partner's draft, do you have any insights about the job your sponsor has in reviewing what you write? What can your sponsor do to help you with your writing? What resources do you think you need to develop your writing skills?

How has your research, reading, and writing on your topic changed and refined your topic? If you have a thesis, what is your research question and how does the research support that question?  If you are working on a project, what practical problem do you want to solve by disseminating research? 

 

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Assignment #8 (11/11) - What's next?

What kinds of challenges do you expect to face as you begin work with your sponsor and in a more independent way? What practical steps must you take to overcome any challenges? What steps can you take to ensure that you have the support you need to finish your thesis/project? 

 

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Assignment #9 (11/18) -Sponsor Interview II

Do ONE of the following:

1) Interview another potential sponsor (using the sponsor interview questions above). 

2) Interview your sponsor for a second time (develop additional questions that have come up as you do your research. In addition, discuss some ideas for implementing your project or collecting data for your thesis).

3) Interview a potential second reader using the following questions:

Research Interests:

What are your current research projects? What other research interests do you have? What topics do you feel comfortable serving as a second reader for? 

2) Work style:

How would you describe your style in working with your MA students as a second reader? What do you see as your role as a second reader? How involved would you be throughout the process?

3) Expectations:

What can I expect from you as a second reader? What do you see as my responsibility in this process? What is your availability during breaks, especially summer?

4) My thesis/topic:

(Describe your topic and idea) What areas of the literature do I need to review for my topic? Do you have any advice for me as I begin my thesis/project?

5) Any other question(s)...

 

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Assignment #10 - (12/2) - Petition

Discuss what you've learned through writing your petition. How has your research or project idea developed and what additional steps must you take to ensure that you are ready to begin working on your project in earnest? What additional information do you need and how will you obtain it? Design a realistic timeline for finishing your thesis/project (part of your lit review assignment....)

ALSO: Be sure to develop questions for the student panel!

JOURNALS DUE IN CLASS on 12/2 (send file via email or bring your notebook to class)

 

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Send problems, comments or suggestions to: hembrees@csus.edu. Updated: August 20, 2008