Portfolio 2 Guidelines
To begin Portfolio 2, you will need to explore a variety of issues and then narrow down your choices to the issue with which you would like to work. The issue you choose should be one that interests you and one that is currently debated in the public eye in the U.S. (this does not mean your issue has to deal only with concerns in the U.S., however). You might choose an issue with which you have some previous experience or one you wish to know more about through research. Whatever influences you to make your decision, however, must also lead you to choose an issue that is complex—that is, there must be more than “two sides” to the debate.
Your first goal in the Topic Proposal is to establish a clear rationale for why the issue you ultimately choose is important to you and why people in current U.S. society need to know more about it. The second goal in the Topic Proposal is to define the voices in the conversation about your issue (i.e. explain the people who are talking/writing about your issue). This is important because the way people write about, talk about, or interact with any given issue will influence the shape that issue takes in the public eye.
Once you have gained more experience with the conversations going on about and around your issue, you will decide on a general focus and direction for your research, and you will begin reading articles on your issue to become familiar with the conversations and debate(s) that surround it. The direction you take will be guided by a clear research question, the genesis of which is your third goal in the Topic Proposal.
Requirements: The audience for your Topic Proposal is our class. Your Topic Proposal should be typed, double-spaced in a 12-point font, and 300-500 words in length.
Grading: The Topic Proposal is worth 15% of your grade for Portfolio 2. It will be graded on a +/- scale. The most effective topic proposal will clearly define your issue and describe who is currently involved in debates about the issue and what their concerns are. It should also consist of an explanation for why you chose to write about the issue and why you feel it is important to current society. Lastly, your Topic Proposal should include a narrow and debatable research question to help you maintain a specific focus within your research and topic.