Teaching Youth & Activism- Semester long project: Research paper on youth activism

This seminar asks students to collect data on and write about a youth social movement. There are four assignments that help to structure the project. The assigns are designed to help students with three of the major tasks associated with a long research paper: identifying a case, think about data that they can use to answer specific questions, identify relevant research, and combine these elements together into a final paper.

Additional material are available here.

A link to a word version of this post is available here

Assignment 1: Case proposal

Youth movements are movements that are focused on young people’s issues, where the majority of participants are young people, or where the movement organization is youth-directed. One of the first steps in any research project is the identification of case or data source for analysis. For this assignment, you will accomplish four tasks: you will (1) identify your case, (2) explain how it is youth-oriented, (3) identify one or two aspects of it that are interesting to you, and (4) describe a two or three specific places that you know about for collecting data.

 Assignment 2: Research Proposal

After selecting a case, the next step in the research process is to specify your research question, identify the data you will use, and explain how it will answer your research question. For this assignment you will accomplish 4 tasks. You will (1) identify two answerable research questions about your case, (2) identify at least two sources of data, (3) explain why this data is good for answering your research question, and (4) propose a timeline for conducting data analysis. If you are going to use interviews, you should describe who you will interview, if you are going to use newspaper data, you should identify which newspapers, the time frame, and provide 4 or 5 exemplar articles, and if you are going to use surveys, you should provide an outline of who you will survey and the major questions you will include.

 Assignment 3: Theory Proposal

After selecting a case and making methodological decisions, a researcher must investigate the existing data on their topic. For this assignment, you will restate your research topic and conceptual interest, and identify four academic journal articles. Your paper should identify one or two major concepts from class, define them, explain how they are related to youth movements or youth participation, and then summarize four articles that are related to this (these) concept(s).

Assignment 4: Research Paper

The final assignment for this course will be a research paper on one aspect of a youth movement or youth oriented movement. The paper includes several parts: an introduction to your case, an explanation of your methods, a description of your data as well as how you conducted your analysis, the results from your analysis, and a thorough engagement with one aspect of the social movement literature.


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