-- Computer Ethics
Term Paper Specifications
(last updated 3/29/2006)
Your research paper plays an important role in what you learn from this
course and in how I evaluate your performance. Apart from
contributing to the overall goals of the course, I expect the term
paper to help you think more carefully and critically, and to give you
an opportunity to hone your writing skills. I'm framing the paper
in terms of three deliverables: a project proposal, a detailed outline,
and a final draft.
It is important that you choose a topic that interests you. If
you select such a topic, you will end up with a stronger paper and you
will have more fun in the process. The challenge in selecting a
topic is hitting the sweet-spot between too general of a topic about
which you can say nothing in 5 pages, and too narrow a topic about
which you can say nothing. I encourage you to discuss prospective
ideas with me during office hours. Try to formulate a question
about your topic of interest. The question should not have an
obvious answer but should be something about which you can begin to
answer after some research.
Your proposal should consist of a title,
a centering question, a description or elaboration of the
question, a justification or
motivation for why the question is worth asking and answering, and a reference list including at least
five (5) non-web sources that you might use. (You are not locked
into those particular resources. I just want you to base your
proposal on access to real sources. Altogether including
reference list, you should use no more
than two pages for the proposal.
Your second deliverable shall consist of a detailed outline and an annotated bibliography. This
deliverable should conclude the lion's share of your research. At
least 95% of your reading and thinking should be done. The
outline should be detailed to the paragraph level at a minimum.
If you have never done a detailed outline, talk to me about its nature
so that you will have the proper level of information. Your
detailed outline should be about three (3) pages single-spaced (not including bibliography).
The annotated bibliography should include the sources you ended up
using together with a summary paragraph or three describing each source
and how you used it.
From your detailed outline, it should be a simple matter of writing the
paper. This should almost be a mechanical exercise. You are
limited to five (5) pages (not including references) formatted at 11pt
font double-spaced with 1.25" margins on all four sides. If you
find yourself tempted to pad your paper (having submitted a
satisfactory detailed outline), it probably means that you are not
writing all the ideas that you identified in your outline.
Indeed, I expect that you will be challenged to communicate your ideas
within the page limit. Make every word count!
3/24/2006: Project Proposal
4/13/2006: Detailed Outline
4/24/2006: Final Draft
Each deliverable is due at 5pm on the respective date. All
deliverables will be submitted via Eureka. You must submit pdf
files for each deliverable.
Your proposal, outline, and final draft will be weighted at 20%, 40%
and 40% respectively. For the proposal, I'll be looking for
compliance with the specifications. For the detailed outline, in
addition to the requirements, I'll be looking for a conceptually
coherent organization of your outline. Your final draft will be
graded according to clarity, conciseness, and compliance with