After exploring academic articles and some areas of research within the intersecting topics of Geography & Identity, now its time to give ourselves a road map for the larger Research Essay.
Choose TWO different topics within the field of Cultural Geography. Try to pick things youre interested in or that are relevant to your life. These could be areas of exploration (I want to know more about the minority groups on the island of Mindanao. Id like to see how downtown urban core communities evolve over time.) or questions youre wondering about and genuinely dont know the answer to (Why are there so many German speakers in rural southern Missouri? How does language use in East Africa influence local identities?). The key component here is genuine curiosity. Youll be spending time with these topics/questions, so choose carefully. Dont feel like you have to have fully formed arguments at this point. Were fine for the moment with lines of inquiry, things were curious about.
Do you have your topics formulated? Good. Great. Now narrow them. Narrow them again. Keep narrowing your topics until you get down to one or two central questions or ideas for each. Spend time on some initial research. Make sure your topics are complex, researchable, and interesting to you (this will come through in the writing). Cultural Geography encompasses a lot, so you only have yourself to blame if the topics dont interest you. Well spend some time honing topic to make sure theyre appropriate for the assignment. By the end of thinking, researching, and narrowing, you should have two initial theses/research questions that would be productive for the Research Essay.
This assignment largely consists of the thinking and planning stages for the Research Essay. While this may not seem as outwardly productive, planning your project and topic is vital to building a smooth paper. It would be extremely difficult to complete such a large research and writing project without organization and planning. Take this assignment seriously and youll have a much easier time later in the quarter.
After formulating TWO possible topics, write the following responses for BOTH:
1. Write out your initial topic. Distill your critical idea down to a sentence or two. You could have something as specific as an organized thesis statement, or you could simply have an area you’d like to explore. (This can always change later. You’re not bound by it.)
2. Write a paragraph (150-200 words) that serves as an initial abstract. While you dont have to have a solid argument at this point, what do you think could be argued about this topic? Whats interesting to you about this subject? What dont you know that youd like to explore? Based on your initial findings, what is the research like on this topic? How can you try to add something new?
3. Build a research plan (in 100-150 words). Where can you find appropriate sources? What do you need those sources to do? (Support particular points, lay out the background, argue against, etc.). What specific aspects of this topic do you think you could adequately address given the length/time/source requirements? Write out a rough schedule encompassing the planning, research, reorganizing, and writing stages.
I have attached examples of topics used in the past but you MUST NOT use any, please come up with original topics.