Researching Images

Dr. Howe
Assignment 4: Research Project

Project Overview:
Based on the observations, inferences, and analyses developed in your personal narrative, this project asks you to delve more deeply into the history, context, and effect of the influential image you have chosen. Gather both secondary (background, critical) and primary (interview, observation) research to craft a research essay illuminating the significance of your image. Over the course of several weeks, you'll keep an interview journal in which you record how friends, family members, and random interviewees interact with your influential image. This information, supplemented by background research into the image, should be presented to your readers in a well-organized, completely documented essay with a thesis. You should have at least five interviews (see below) and two secondary sources (see below) in your final research essay. This assignment is designed to test your ability to conduct and document meaningful research while deepening your familiarity with skills already developed. 6-8 pages.

Interview Journal/Primary Source Data:
Your interview journal should contain your interview questions and your notes about your interviewees' responses to each of those questions. You may give your interviewees a hard copy of your questions, conduct the interviews over email, orideallyspeak with your interviewees in person. Each interview question should be designed to elicit information that will help you understand the image and its effect more clearly. Draw your interview questions from personal experience with the image (for instance, "What is the first thing you notice in this image?"; "In two words, describe this image"; "Is this image familiar to you, and if so, can you describe your familiarity with it?"; and so on) and the background research you conduct (for instance, "This image played an important role in changing Americans' perception of the war—how does this image make you see the war?"; "The photographer committed suicide 2 years after taking this photo. Why do you think he might have done so?"; or, "When this photograph first came out, people thought it was ethically irresponsible. What do you think?"). You should have at least FIVE interviews to incorporate into your essay.

Background Research:
This essay may draw on newspaper articles, magazine articles, scholarly journal articles, and books/book chapters. Your research can be directly related to the image as a photograph or the photographer, but it should also take into consideration a larger contextual issue. For instance, you might want to research related topics that are not directly about the photograph or the photographer; for instance, what was important about the Lamaze method of childbirth in the 1970s ("Moment of Life")? What was the response by American feminists toward the act of female circumcision in Africa ("Female Circumcision")? You should have at least TWO SOURCES beyond your interviews and your image itself. One must be a newspaper, magazine, or scholarly article, and one must be a book or book chapter.

Due Date Schedule:
Working Background Research Due (copies)
2 Interviews Due (copies)
5 (Additional Three) Interviews Due (copies)
Working Outline of Your Essay (Workshopping)
Draft Due (Workshopping)
Revised Draft 2 Due (Workshopping)
Revised Draft 3 Due (Workshopping) Individual Conferences
Final Essay Due

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