Research Assignment

Part 1 due Friday, April 28

Part 2 due Tuesday, May 2

Part 3 due Thursday, May 4

Typed and E-mailed

This assignment has three parts. In the first part, you will explain how your proposed area of research is related to the proposed area of research of other people in your research group. In the second part you will write a few paragraphs that trace the development of a major aspect of the problem that you have selected to write about. In the third part most of you will write a one-paragraph personal narrative that describes your experience with the problem. You will be required to present all of your written assignments to your research group.

Part 1

Before you do Part1 you will join a research group. Everyone in your research group will learn in some detail about one of the determinants of community health covered in Portrait of Promise. As you do Part 1 you and the other people in your group should focus on a specific part of your group's topic. For example, if there is a research group on education, one person in the group might focus on CSUs and UCs, one person might focus on community colleges, one person might focus on Santa Clara County schools, one person might focus on an issue in a particular school district, and one person might focus on an issue in another school district. Before you do the written assignment you will need to discuss your topic with your research group. Your written assignment for Part 1 will be to explain how your topic is related to but different from the topics of all of the other people in your research group. It will be easiest if you compare and contrast research questions that will guide you in Part 2.

Part 2

In Part 2 you will provide the following information:

  1. Your current research question (which will be different from the research questions of everyone else in the class). Your research question will ask whether a particular group or government should change or create a specific rule, law, policy, or program in order to solve a specific problem for a specific group of people.
  2. One or more paragraphs that trace the history of the development of a major aspect of the problem or the development of previous solutions to the problem.
  3. Sources. Give the author if available, the title, the publisher, the publication date, and the URL.

You should create a separate document for notes for your research. You will not turn this in, but this will save you time. In the separate document you should take notes that record important information and you should indicate in the notes where you got information.

As you find sources you should identify an aspect of the problem you are writing about. You should write one or more paragraphs about how that aspect has developed. For example, you can write about previous attempts to solve the problem, changes in the situations of the group that is most affected by the problem, or ways in which the problem has become more or less severe.

It might be good for you to start with a timeline, but do not turn in the timeline. Example timeline:

  • 1960: California Master Plan for Education (state support, low tuition)
  • 2005-6: UC tuition
  • 2008-12: Budget cuts, tuition increases
  • 2012-3: Proposition 30

Part 3

In this part of the research assignment most of you will write a one-paragraph personal narrative about how you have experienced the problem that you have identified. Most likely the narrative will begin with a short description of your relationship to the problem when you first became aware of it. In your narrative you should also describe how you tried to solve or cope with the problem. Note that you might not have a direct relationship to the problem. In some cases it will be ok if your personal narrative focuses on people you are in contact with who directly experience the problem as long as you state your relationship to the other people. Check with me if you have not had a direct relationship with the problem.

Those of you who are writing about English education will eventually have argumentative essays that will have substantially longer personal narratives than people with other topics. For this assignment you should instead write an outline of your personal narrative. Each point in your outline should represent a paragraph. Remember that personal narratives should be in chronological order and that you should have paragraph breaks when there is a shift in time, location, or to another character.

For those of you who cannot think of your relationship to the problem you should see me to discuss what you should do for this part of the assignment.

Hopefully the three parts of this research assignment will correspond to points in an outline that you will turn in the week after the research assignment is due.

Back to Top