Thinking about your term project

As discussed in class, you're free to do a traditional "research paper" if you want: that is, a paper based on summarizing and synthesizing what others have written on some topic. If there's an application or a result or an argument or a trend that you're especially interested in, by all means pursue it for your term project.

But it might be more fun -- and more educational -- to do a piece of original research based on the analysis of an accessible collection of text or speech. This can be easier to do than you think. Some examples:

There's a discussion of a range of research methods here, and a tour of some possible digital data sources here. Both discussions are necessarily incomplete, so if you're curious about something that isn't covered, bring it up in class.

The first step towards defining your project is to write a short description of what you'd like to do, why you'd like to do it, and how you'll go about it. One or more background references would be useful, and some concrete examples.

You're free to change your mind later on. The point is to get started thinking about it-- your thoughts, duly committed to digital text, are due Wednesday 2/19.