Thanks for all the emails and visits yesterday – I always enjoy meeting 340 students in person.
Over the last few days a few common questions about the projects have come up so I’d like to respond to them in Q&A fashion below in random order. Please review the questions and answers and also remember that you have some guidelines posted here.
Please remember that your paper needs to be submitted via the Learn@UW Dropbox no later than Sunday 29 June at 11:59 pm CDT. It is worth 60% of your final grade so it is important to be making serious progress right now.
Q: Is there a structure I need to follow?
A: You have flexibility in how you structure your paper but I suggest you include an Introduction (lay some context; outline your research questions/thesis statement and the research process; hint/foreshadow some key findings), 2-3 main components where you discuss the actor, the actor and the region, and your case study, a Conclusion (revisit your research questions/thesis statement and highlight your main findings), and a Works Cited/References section.
Q: I have not written many social sciences papers before — is there a good resource I can draw upon to get some help?
A: Yes – see http://www.writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/process.html. You can also ask for some advice from Kramer and moi (aka Kris). The Writing Center is also a great resource: http://www.writing.wisc.edu/Individual/index.html
Q: What is the best data base for the global actor paper?
A: Review all the links posted here. My favorites are:
- Two excellent social sciences/sciences data bases: Web of Knowledge/Science, and Proquest Research Library
- A very good newspaper database is LexisNexis, which the Library subscribes to.
More importantly, go and speak about this issue with the librarians in a relevant library once you lock in on your actor. The nature of the actor may lead you to different data bases. Health-related actors and issues should be discussed with health librarians in Ebling while an actor like the World Bank or Human Rights Watch should be discussed with librarians at Memorial and actors like Google or Ford or any other firm should be discussed with the librarians in Business. Be sure to experiment with key words, though, as it takes a while to learn how to search effectively.
Q: How many resources/citations do I need?
A: Enough! Certainly more than just the course text and some websites. And enough to help you profile your actor/region in the paper regardless of what paper option you choose. We need to see some learning going on and regional richness profiled. For example, if your global actor is active in Egypt, highlight relevant dimensions of Egypt’s geographies (all the types of geographies profiled in each chapter of the text) and why they matter to the actor in question. Do not only rely on newspaper and magazine articles – you need a few substantial references (e.g., a journal article on how BMW structures its global production network, including a production complex in Bangkok).
Q: I’d like to adjust the focus of my paper at the last minute – is this possible?
A: Yes, as long as it makes sense given the overall nature of the project. You are not held to a particular actor/region – change if you want to, but be wary of changing too late…and it is getting late, as you know. But you are not held to what you proposed in the proposal.
Q: I’ve been facing some research challenges accessing original articles on my actor, and I am concerned about the lack of depth in my paper and an over-reliance on websites (e.g., for a firm or an NGO). Help!
A: Assuming you have recently engaged with a librarian in person, or via email, during the research process, feel free to outline the challenges you faced in the Introduction to your paper. The Introduction is not only a relevant section to outline your paper focus and summarize the broad issues, but it is also a section to discuss the organization of your paper, as well as the research process. Please outline any relevant research challenges you had in the Introduction.
Q: Is there a certain (or perhaps a range) font style/size that we should use?
A: 12 point font, and a readable style of font.
Q: I am using some web-based resources and they have very long URLs to my reference list looks really messy.
A: Use an URL shortener like https://bitly.com/
Q: Can I use ‘first person’ in the paper?
A: Yes this is fine, as long as it is used effectively and appropriately.
Q: What proportion of the paper should a case study make up?
A: On average 40-50% though this can vary by topic. The logic of the case study is to ensure you get into some depth and detail and move from the general to the specific and get your ‘hands dirty.’ I’ve used the analogy of flying at 20,000 feet for the broader overviews of the global actor, but then dropping down to ground level for the case study. And remember to be analytical and not just descriptive when you develop the case study – choose some angle in on it and focus on a key question you want to explore.
Q: Can I have an extension?
A: The deadline is Sunday 29 June at 11:59 pm CDT. Extensions are only permitted when people have major personal or family health (broadly defined) challenges to grapple with.
Q: I don’t use MS Word – how should I load up my paper? Can I email it to you?
A: Papers must be uploaded via the Dropbox on the Learn@UW course site – we have over 110 students in thus course so I practically can’t accept emailed files. The easiest way to convert a file for uploading is to transform it into PDF. PDF files are the most stable, and they also hold all images in their spot on the page.
Q: Subtitles consume space when drafting the paper – is this a problem?
A: No, subtitles usually make the paper much more readable. Don’t fret the length guidelines issue…focus on quality above all else.
Q: Do you want us to cite each sentence separately if it wasn’t our original material, or is a single citation at the end of the paragraph better?
A: At the end of the paragraph unless you need to specify that specific lines/ideas/data came from specific sources and there are multiple references for the content of one para.
Q: Where should I place the graphics?
A: You can place them inside the paper (e.g., a resized image with text to the left or right) or in an Appendix. If you have a lot of large images use an Appendix.
Q: Do you have a preferred citation style?
A: No, just choose a common one and apply it consistently.
Q: I am concerned about accidentally plagiarizing.
A: Please review these resources:
Q: I noted these length guidelines:
- One person, they should be approx. 6-8 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
- Two people, they should be approx. 8-10 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
- Three people, they should be approx. 10-14 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
- Four people, they should be approx. 12-16 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
BUT I am very concerned I won’t meet them – this seems too long for what I know and can communicate about.
A: Don’t worry and fret the details – just write up your paper so it makes sense and do the best you can; we don’t get carried away applying length guidelines in a stupid/irrelevant way. The key thing we want you to do is learn and then demonstrate/communicate what you have learned about the world region you have focused upon (via a look at a global actor active in the region). Don’t pad/fluff to meet these broad length guidelines, OK!
And don’t forget to put your name and page numbers on the paper – we’re always amazed how many people forget this basic step!
CDG TERMINAL 2