Prompt: Research Wikis




Research Wikis (300 Points)

Research plan post (10 points) due: Thursday 3/31/11 on blog

Research paper prospectus (40 points) due: 4/5/11 and 4/7/11 in conferences

Rough draft (50 points) due: Thursday, 4/14/11, in class for peer review session

Final draft (200 points) due: Tuesday, 4/26/11 in class  (turn in all drafts, research plan, prospectus and your workshop notes with your final draft)

Purpose:  Traditional research papers, by strict definition, begin with a clearly stated claim (thesis) and then set forth a series of arguments supporting the thesis, using information based on outside research. They are typically addressed to an audience of one (the instructor), are bound in time and place, and have little impact outside of the classroom.
By re-envisioning the research unit of our class to culminate in a Wikipedia entry, I hope that we’ll learn:

  • How to make a term paper a larger experience, rather than a limited academic exercise.
  • How to provide authentic peer review.
  • How to connect and engage in an external community.
  • How to make a term paper that will benefit a wider community.
  • How to think more deeply about the process by which we create knowledge.


  • Wiki: An online medium that can typically be edited with anyone who has access to it. Almost always involves collaboration.
  • Wikipedia: “an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language.” 7.5 articles in over 250 languages – 2 million articles in English

The first thing you’ll need to do is go to the Wikipedia website and create an account. This is relatively simple, and requires that you provide a username and password. Once you have an account, go to the following link and complete the editing tutorial:


  • Each group will be required to hand in the final draft (hard copy) of their Wikipedia entry, with a link to the page. This entry should be organized along the same model as other entries, and provide comprehensive information and adequate citation.
    • Word count requirement: 1500-2000 words
    • At least 2 relevant images
  • Each group member will be required to hand in a reflective essay that addresses the experience, and also details their individual duties within the group.
    • Word count requirement: 1000 words
  • MLA Format for all work that is handed in
  • Works Cited (does not count toward page length)


Research Plan (10 points)
Due: Thursday, 3/31/2011, posted on blog
Purpose  The research plan should state your research question and provide an outline for how you will go about conducting your research. Length = one page.

  1. State your general research topic and propose a few questions.
  2. Write a few sentences describing why your question is important to you and whom you envision as your audience. Why should this question be important to them?
  3. Within the group, what jobs have you been delegated? What will your responsibility to the group wiki be?
  4. Outline what steps you have or will take to find appropriate sources. For tips in this area, you can consult  A Writer’s Reference, pages 318-332 (section R1, conducting research).
  5. Describe a timetable you could utilize to keep yourself on track with various due dates associated with this assignment. What should you have completed by what date? Try to make a schedule that you can stick to while keeping in mind other assignments.
  6. Add any questions or comments you might have.


Research Prospectus (15 points)

Due: 4/5/2011 and 4/7/2011, in group conferences
Purpose:  The research prospectus should give a summary of your wiki entry and provide an annotated bibliography of the sources you plan to use. It should demonstrate that you have a clear research plan, have delegated duties, and have a vision for how you’d like to see the article appear. Length = one page (per group)

  1. A summary of your topic: In one long paragraph, summarize the topic you plan to discuss in your wiki entry. You may provide important details, but try not to weigh it down with facts and figures. Think of it as the trailer for your main attraction – the final entry. What kind of information that relates to your topic is already available through Wikipedia? How is your entry going to contribute to the community?
  2. An annotated bibliography: List the sources you plan to use. For each source, provide an annotation stating the source’s main idea and a few supporting points. Each annotation should also include a quote from the source.
  3. Outline (optional): If it is helpful for you, you might think about including a rough outline of how you plan to carry our your argument.



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