Final project pre-proposal

Posted: September 23, 2009 in Assignments
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Starting next week, we’re putting together pieces towards your final project for this class. Please check the class schedule to see when things are due.

The first part is a project pre-proposal. In the pre-proposal, which you will write on your blog, you need to explain as much as you know about what you want to do for your final project. I’ll help you narrow it and focus it.

Keep in mind that the final project should be an original research project about the impact of social media (or a social medium) in a context of your choice (e.g. government, personal relationships, interface design, etc.).

I advise you to set up a meeting with me to discuss your project idea, after you submit your pre-proposal, but before you submit your proposal.

Here is how to think about a research project. You need to determine the following:

Interest Area

What is your broad area of interest, or the context that you want to study? Is it government, usability, environmentalism, etc.?

Focus Area

What about the interest area? What about government? Narrow it down to a small, focused part of the interest area.


What is the problem you want to solve with your research? Identify the problem. The problem should be relevant and important – worthy of your time and effort.

Research Question

What is the specific question you hope to answer in your research? This should be a simple, elegant, clear question. It can be descriptive:

What are the … [main user behaviors on Twitter]?

How do … [people come up with ideas to post on blogs]?

Or it can ask about the relationship between two or more variables:

Is there a relationship between A and B?

What is the relationship between A and B?

If A happens, is B more likely to happen, too?

Plan of Action

What do you need to do to answer your research question? You will need to become familiar with existing research in your focus area. What do you need to read? Literature about what topics?

What research method(s) should you use to answer your research question? A survey? Focus groups? Something else? Why is this research method appropriate?

Please do your best to answer these questions in your project pre-proposal. Then, set up a time to meet with me and discuss your ideas, so we can draft a proposal.


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