Language Research Paper
Strictly “pilot research” on some topic discussed in class and/or in the readings. It may be a theoretical elaboration on the real-life experience you narrate in the first paper, or it may be on an unrelated topic. Scholarly apparatus is required. What does this all mean? Topic Choosing: It would behoove you to choose a topic that is based in and expands upon one of the topics/lectures/themes from the course. This will help with selecting papers for references/citations. 1. Linguistic Phenomenon – This will likely be the most common paper topic. You should acquire data somehow (audio/visual recordings of conversations, interviews of specific speakers/populations, corpus, literary text, informal text [think emails/text messages], etc.). You are welcome to work with the language(s) and dialect(s) of your choice, just be sure to explain and translate when necessary. A language “phenomenon” is a quirk or oddity in the language that is not immediately obvious. Your job is to isolate this phenomenon, describe how/why/where it occurs, and to make an argument as to its significance and pragmatic meaning. 2. Language Experiment – Conduct your own language experiment using the resources that you have. This could be a language survey given to native and/or non-native speakers, a discourse-based experiment, a test of some kind, or some other variant. Be sure to work on multiple drafts of the experiment before issuing it so that the experiment definitely reflects the research question you have in mind. Based on the results of this experiment, write a research report that discusses the hypothesis, thesis, and original findings. 3. Expansion of Paper #1 – This is not mutually exclusive from the topics above. If this is the route you choose, be sure to incorporate actual data (see above) that expands upon the topic in your first paper. Keep in mind that what you write in your expansion should be entirely new; no copying and pasting from the previous paper. You should have plenty to work with considering you will now have articles/theories to cite and authentic language samples to analyze. 4. Other – if your topic does not fit into these categories, please run it past Brandon or Trevor to see if it is suitable for this paper. Scholarly Apparatus: This refers to using citations. Since this is not a “writing intensive” or “W” course, we are not picky about the particular style, be it APA or MLA. That being said, we have a slight preference for APA, as this is most common in the humanities. Citing sources is necessary in this paper in order to 1) provide suitable background for the academic framework you support the arguments you make. Correctly citing sources is not strictly an exercise in academic writing; it is also necessary to avoid plagiarism. Grading: (see rubric) Formatting: Let’s say 12-point Times New Roman (or similar) font. Note: Paper must be between 1750-2500 words (about 7-10 pages). Papers in excess of 2500 words will be shredded (not really). Word count does not include your language data, but it does include all other components. When papers are too short, the total paper grade is reduced by a mathematical formula whereby 10% too short = 10% off, etc.
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