It was great to see so many of you during my office hours on Wednesday! Thanks for visiting – I always enjoy meeting 340 students in person.
Over the last two weeks 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 and grading rubric posted here:
Please remember that your paper needs to be submitted via the Learn@UW Dropbox no later than Wednesday 30 October @ 5:00 pm CST). It is worth 60% of your final grade so it is important to be making serious progress right now.
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 Samantha and moi (aka Kris). The Writing Center is also a great resource and you can make individual appointments here: http://www.writing.wisc.edu/Individual/index.html
Q: I’ve reviewed some example city profiles in the Cities journal and the overview component seem quite comprehensive. How comprehensive should my overview be?
A: If you examined the overview component of the published papers, you will see they range widely and deal with issues like history, demographic change, spatial structure, economic development, social and cultural transitions, urban governance, and so on. However even these overviews are selective as you can’t do everything in a profile. I would choose enough complementary themes so that if a friend read it on a flight to the city, they would learn, broadly, about the nature of the city. And when you choose overview issues, you should reflect on what your case study will be and use the overview to help get our case study nicely set up. For example, if you are studying religious festivals in a Spanish city, then your overview component should include historical issues and social-cultural coverage as it will provide very useful context. Or if you are studying transport issues in Chinese cities, then make sure your overview component does a good job of profiling the growth and spatial structure of the city, as well as demographic and economic development issues.
Q: What is the best data base for the city paper?
A: The Web of Knowledge/Science. Be sure to experiment with key words, though, as it takes a while to learn how to search effectively. The librarians in Geography and Memorial can help you identify resources on your city and the thematic case study too.
Q: What is the best data base for the global actor paper?
A: Review all the links provided here http://worldregions.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/guidelines-fall-2013-research-papers/. 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: Can I choose a small NGO or firm for my global actor?
A: Yes you can, but just be careful to not rely on the website of the firm/NGO too much for information. It is in their interest to profile themselves in a promotional way.
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 city/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. And in the city profile, it obviously makes sense to discuss some combination of economic, historic, political, environmental, etc., geographies in the city in question and the region/nation the city is located in.
Q: Do I need an abstract for a cities paper?
Q: I’d like to change the nature of my case study at the last minute – is this possible?
A: Yes, as long as it makes sense given the overall nature of the project.
Q: I’ve been facing some research challenges accessing original articles on my actor/city, 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. 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 city/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: Given that this deadline was known since the start of term, extensions are only permitted when people have major personal or family health (broadly defined) challenges to grapple with.
Q: I don’t use 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 180 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 more readable. Don’t fret the length guidelines issue…focus on quality above all else.
Q: Do you want our papers (I’m doing a city profile) to be typed in a double column format like the example articles from the magazine were or does it matter?
A: You do not need to mimic the Cities format – a regular style paper is fine.
Q: For the city profile, do we need an appendix?
A: Not unless you want to place some large graphics, or a large number of graphics, in one.
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:
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