This class page is for the Research Project in the PSCI 2603 course (American Government for majors); however, it has basic research steps and tools that are useful for any research you do. If you find you need more help, use the Ask Us services. Library reference staff members can be reached in person and through phone and email. You may also contact the Subject Librarian for the Political Science Department, Brea Henson.
From your course syllabus:
YOUR RESEARCH SUMMARY AND POSTER PRESENTATION
Something new this semester! I am asking you to select a topic from three that I will provide, find some sources on the topic, and then make a poster that displays your information. I hope you enjoy this assignment. Don’t know how to get started? Don’t worry! That is our job—to teach you all about it. I hope you enjoy it.
STEP #1: Select your topic.
I have selected three topics from which you will choose one: Human Trafficking, Voting Rights in Texas, and Gun Laws in the United States. If you are like most students, the hardest part will be selecting just one. As you probably already know, each of these topics is incredibly interesting and important.
STEP #2: A Research Assignment.
What I am asking you to do is assume that your professor knows nothing about your topic (not true, of course, as I hope you know!). Your assignment is to find three scholarly articles to recommend to her. The goal of this assignment is to introduce you to college-level research and the skills involved in selecting high quality academic sources.
What to Submit: You will prepare a one page report that includes the following: 1) an introductory paragraph; and 2) Citations for each of your three articles plus a brief summary of why each article is a good choice in helping your professor grasp the topic.
First, that introductory paragraph: please explain why you picked the topic and how you found your sources. Consider these questions when writing your paragraph:
Why did you pick this topic over the other topics?
What library resource or database did you use to find the sources?
What search terms did you use to find the sources?
How did you revise your search to narrow your results?
Next, provide a list of the citations in alphabetical order by author’s last name. Following each citation, write a short summary about the facts, insights, and value the source provides on your topic. Consider these questions when writing your summary:
What does the source discuss related to the topic?
Why is this discussion important?
Finally, after your summaries, provide a short conclusion that discusses what you learned about the topic from the resources you selected. Remember, you may submit only one printed page, and the font you use cannot be smaller than Times Roman 11. Your work is to be submitted in hard copy. Points will be deducted for papers submitted late and for papers that do not meet the standards of good writing.
More details about this assignments will be provided by Ms. Henson on Monday, October 21st during class.
STEP #3: Prepare your academic poster.
From time to time, I attend conferences or other events where students present their work in the form of a research poster. As a political science major, you will probably be asked to prepare a poster for one of your advanced classes. My thinking, then, is that you will benefit from knowing how to design an academic poster. You will take what you learned from the research assignment and turn it into a poster. On December 2, you will share your poster with the class. (There may be prizes, incidentally.)
You will need to have your poster printed at Design Works in the Union. Your poster should be printed in color on 12”x18” paper. The poster does not need to be mounted or laminated. It should cost less than $1.00 to print. If you end up without printing credit, I will be glad to pay for your poster. Please do not wait until the last minute to print your poster. Design Works requires at least a “three day turnaround” on print or shop jobs can be expected during [their] busier times. From their Student Pricing page.
Still want more help with this project? We will be showing you examples of some academic posters, including one prepared by our teaching assistant for a class she was taking. Then, following your test on November 13th, you will have the opportunity to meet with Brea Henson in Willis Library, room 250H. She will introduce you to poster design and provide even more details about this assignment and, of course, assistance on the project.