Fall prospectus

Fall Quarter 2010 Prospectus
Winter Quarter 2011 Research Paper
Spring Quarter 2011 Applied Project

Sustainability From the Inside Out


We are going to spend the next three quarters, as a learning community, exploring concepts in sustainability and personal leadership. We will examine and experiment with sustainability topics in the areas of food, consumption, spending, transportation, energy, and climate change both locally and globally. As a part of this process, we want you to pose a genuine, interesting problem or question about an issue that you deem appropriate to the program. This problem or question will require a good amount of library research and your own analytical skills to answer so should be a question that can sustain your passion and interest for three quarters. In answering this question, you will begin to acquire the skills that are at the heart of an Evergreen education: articulating your own learning and communicating effectively.

During fall quarter, you will develop a prospectus, which is described below. Winter quarter, you will write a 15-page paper and present your findings in an interactive poster session, a powerpoint presentation, or some other sort of public presentation. The quality of your final research paper will depend on the quality of your initial question. You could deepen your understanding of a topic we will cover, or explore a topic that you feel we won’t have time to discuss. The arena of choice is large, but here are some ideas to get you going:

    • What is involved in developing a sustainable food system for a community?
    • How might yoga be used in elementary schools to help with student learning and health?
    • Investigate a viable alternative fuel source for transportation. What are the costs and benefits of implementing and relying on them?
    • What is the relationship between inner peace, morphogenetic fields and social change? How is this being implemented in community projects globally?

These broad questions would need to be narrowed down to a size appropriate to a 15- page paper. Whatever your choice, it should be driven by your own sense of wonder and curiosity.

Fall Quarter: the Prospectus

A “prospectus” is an incisive and revealing analytic summary of your proposed research project. The prospectus first states the question that your project will attempt to answer or explore, then shows why it is an important or worthy question in the context of current knowledge and your own intellectual purposes. Then it describes what you will do to answer or explore that question, explaining how and why each step fits into your analytic research design. The prospectus concludes with a preview of your thesis or argument that you have reached after completing your research, and a tentative outline of the paper that will result. An annotated bibliography of the most important source materials must also be included.
The goal of the prospectus is to show that a) it is possible for you to do a substantial piece of research on this topic, b) your research will answer or seriously explore the question you have formulated, and c) it can do this within the time available to you. Obviously you can only do a good prospectus when you have actually done a significant share of the research involved for the paper. You must be able to show specifically that the basic components you need for a logical analysis are available. The best way to do this is by actually drawing on some of your sources to illustrate how they will serve your needs.
Thus, the prospectus is in part an intellectual justification for, and in part a mini-version of, your research paper. That means your question must be fairly fully-conceptualized, explored, and refined. Only then can the research tasks be implemented, the paper be drafted and crafted provocatively and effectively, and a poster presentation be organized, rehearsed, and shared during winter quarter

Your prospectus should have the sections described below and contain as many thoughts as you can muster, expressed as clearly as possible; the seeds of your final paper will be in this document. Each section should be labeled. Talk with us about your project throughout this process.

• TOPIC: Provide a brief synopsis of the specific topic and/or problem you are addressing. Also indicate why you think this topic is important.
• QUESTION: State your central question as succinctly as you can. Remember that the question sets the agenda for the whole project, so its wording must in some way imply the range of issues you want to explore.
• SIGNIFICANCE OF THE QUESTION: Speculate on how your question relates to the major themes, issues, and questions raised in our program.
• THESIS: You should hypothesize the answer to your question. This thesis statement should be stated in one sentence and may change as your research progresses.
• OUTLINE: This section should be a preliminary outline for your paper. The outline should tell the reader what you will do and how you will do it, what points you will demonstrate and how.
• BOOK REVIEW: Guidelines for this will be given out in class.
• ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY: List all of the sources you have targeted for your paper so far. You will need to cite at least seven peer-reviewed journal articles, three scholarly books and a variety of other sources. Web sites must have been approved by LII.org which is the Librarians’ Internet Index.
You will need to provide an annotation of the sources, describing why or how they appear to be useful or relevant to your project. The main point is to evaluate how authoritative your sources are. Use the APA style guide to help you http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/.
Wikipedia is not acceptable as a scholarly source.
More information about annotated bibliographies will be given later in the quarter.

Evaluation criteria
1. How appropriate is the topic in terms of the assignment?
2. To what extent is the evidence/information relevant, scholarly, and complete?
3. To what extent does the prospectus reveal evidence of editing and proofreading?
4. How effective has the writer been in handling the process of writing the prospectus (meeting deadlines, keeping up with the research, attending writing workshops etc.)?

Winter Quarter: the research paper

We will give you more details about this during winter quarter. Basically, after posing an interesting problem or question in your fall quarter prospectus, you will analyze your research and prepare a 15-page paper. Your paper will have seven sections: 1) cover sheet, 2) table of contents, 3) abstract, 4) introduction, 5) literature review, 6) discussion/argument, 7) conclusions and 8) annotated bibliography. Your bibliography should follow APA style guidelines and have at least ten different sources.

In addition to the paper, our program will culminate at the end of Winter quarter with an interactive poster session in which each student will create a visual exhibition of their major research project. This will be an opportunity for you to share your work with the wider program community and engage in dialogue with your peers. However you design your poster session (electronically, 2-D, 3-D, etc), you will need to articulately and meaningfully anchor your poster in your research. We will give you more details winter quarter.

Spring Quarter: application of your research

You will have the chance to work globally or locally applying what you have learned fall and winter to a project of your choice. These projects could include research, field studies, or extensive community service locally or abroad. Details will follow during winter and spring quarters.

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