Research Project Assignment
This week might be a good
time for you to look around for a research topic that will be
interesting to you. Since there won't be any duplication of research
topics, when you find one that you like you'll want to get dibs
on it right away. The way you do that is to
me an email with your proposed topic. (Please send the email to my private
NSCC email, not through the Angel email system.)
an email back from me saying that topic would be a good one (or not),
and asking for a list of the books (with authors, titles, and publishers)
you plan to use in your researches.
me an email with four things listed on it (your name, topic title, your
proposed books, and the date you'll post your completed paper to the class.
gotten an email back from me asking you to find more or different books
for your research, or
gotten an email from me saying that yes, your topic, sources and date
has been approved.
I write you that note formally OKing that topic, sources, and date,
then from that point on your topic has been OKed and you've got dibs
on it (but not before that point).
you post a note to the classroom telling your classmates what research
project you will be working on in the coming weeks.
That entire process needs to
be completed before 6pm on the last day of week four (before the
end of week three if you're in the summer session).
From that point
on you've got dibs on that topic.
I'll then ask you to post a version
of that same note to the classroom also, just so everyone can
see what everyone else is planning to do their research on. People
may be interested in each other's topics, and may even be able
to help point each other to resources that they happen across
in their own research.
So here's the
Hunt and discover a topic or thinker
that sounds like it could be interesting to you, research that
topic or thinker, then post a short written report to the whole
class (in the Research Projects forum) on what you have learned about that
topic. The report can be as short as you like, even one page
if you can cover your material in that short space, but the maximum
length you can have for the presentation is approximately five
pages (at approximately 250 words per page), or roughly 6-7 screens.
Here are a few
possible topic areas:
You may choose to research:
- a philosophical principle in the
world of bioethics (e.g., benevolence, autonomy, etc)
- one of the main thinkers in the
world of bioethics (e.g., Daniel Callahan, Albert Jonsen, etc),
focusing on the ideas of that thinker
- the origins and underlying concepts
in one of the central bioethics documents (e.g., the Hippocratic
oath, the first AMA statement of ethics, the Nuremberg Code,
the WHO human subjects research document, various human rights
- bioethics as seen from within
one of the world's spiritual traditions (e.g., Buddhism, Christianity,
- a specific school of bioethics
(feminist bioethics, virtue ethics, multicultural bioethics, etc)
- a specific problem or issue
in bioethics (research ethics, reproductive technologies, DNR orders,
embryonic stem cell research,
- bioethics within a certain area
of concern (psychological research, vaccines, among military
- analyze a specific case in bioethics
- or any number of etc etc other
The requirement is that your project
be in some way related to bioethics. That's a very broad range
of concerns, so the main way for you to tell whether the topic
you're thinking about is related to bioethics or not is to just
This project is not just to do
a book report; it is expected that you will use at least three
or four sources in your research.
You may wish to work together
with another person or two, perhaps creating a kind of online "panel," or
perhaps each of you presenting different viewpoints on the same general
theme, or whatever. Working with another person
or two can be fun and fruitful.
How to get ideas
for your project
You might get ideas about various
topics by going to the bioethics section of a bookstore -- the
UW bookstore has a good section -- or library and just browsing
through the books there, or by paging through some medical ethics/bioethics
textbooks, or by browsing around some of the websites I've linked
to various parts of the class website, including the Online Resources page
of our website (there's some great stuff out there). Exploring these things
may reveal something
sparks an interest in you.
Let yourself get creative here,
and find something that sounds like it might actually capture
your interest. Your idea needs to be OK'd by me prior to your
starting on it, though, so propose the idea to me early so I
can say yea or nay. You need to get it OK'd by me (via private email) before
the end of week four (or earlier), and then it needs to be finished
and posted to
the online classroom before the end of week
eight. (If you're taking the course in the summer
session, though, your project needs to be OK'd before the end
of week three, and posted before the end of week six.) You may want to underline those dates
and circle them in red to remind yourself.
You'll definitely want to get
these assignments completed on time -- both getting it OKed and posting
the completed project
paper -- because there are onerous consequences to one's grade if any part
of this assignment is completed after the deadlines.
here to see more important project details
This paper has no minimum length.
I want folks to think in terms of “How
can I best communicate to the class what I’ve learned about this topic,” rather
than "How am I going to fill up three pages (or whatever). So you can
make your paper as short as you like as long as it does the job of telling
your classmates what you’ve learned about the topic you chose.
is a maximum length, though: 1500 words. It can be less than that but no
more. You can put footnotes and bibliographic materials on top of that,
have no more than 1500 words max.
Your paper should be directly addressed
to your fellow classmates. English instructors and writing coaches tell
us that it's important, when writing
anything, to have in mind who our audience is. Your audience in this
paper is your fellow students, the ones in this class who have read and discussed
the same books, case studies, codes and lectures you've been reading.
the paper should be directly addressed to them.
It's also important that,
in writing your paper, reference be made to at least some matters we've
discussed already this quarter. These references
will hopefully be made in a way that will illuminate the ideas you're
about in your paper.
this helps clarify your writing assignment.
Then after your research project
has been presented to the class, you will then need to write
a self-evaluation of your project. See the web page on
research project self evaluations that has the guidelines for how
to do that and when to post it.
I hope your research becomes an
interesting and learningful (?)
project for you.