15 Jan 2010 [ Prev | Next ]

P2 Presubmission

Advance work for an academic research paper that explores some aspect of game culture and theory. (What is a college research paper?)

Your presubmission report is a single word processor file, about 2-3 pages, uploaded to Turnitin.com, that includes the following, numbered sections:

  1. Preliminary title and thesis paragraph. (What's a thesis statement? What else should be in the thesis paragraph?)
  2. Specific details from one or several games that you want to focus on. If I've never played the game you select, what do I, your teacher, need to know about it?
    • "Gender in in Lara Croft" (too vague.)
    • "Changes in the design of Lara's body" (still pretty general)
    • "Lara makes non-verbal grunts as she moves, which contributes to her presentation as an active heroine; yet once the cutscene ends, she will never carry out an independent action, which contributes to a male-centered control fantasy." (Okay, that's pretty specific.)
  3. Quotes from at least three academic sources, including at least two different "opposing view" quotes.
    • Seek out academics who disagree with each other, so that you know the topic you've chosen is worth debate.
    • Your goal is not to make every opinion other than your own look stupid; instead, you should engage respectfully with opinions that challenge your own. The more rational and well-supported the opinion, the more respect it deserves, even if you don't agree with it.)
  4. Sample body paragraph, demonstrating your ability to integrate just a few words from your outside source, into a sentence that helps you to make your own original point. (Please see "Integrating Academic Sources" to make sure you know the difference between quoting long passages from outside sources and then summarizing them to prove you understand them, and quoting a few words from a source in order to support an original point.)
  5. MLA-style Works Cited list (details will be in your freshman comp or STW handbook)
  6. Informal assessment of your progress on the creative presentation that complements your academic research project.  Please don't read your paper into a microphone. Use your talents, whatever they are, to demonstrate the results of your intellectual investigation of a topic that's worth debating. Your creative component might be:
    • A video lecture in which you engage the class in a discussion about your chosen topic.
    • A narrrated playthrough of an important event in a game. Can you freeze-frame and zoom in on important details, and interview the participants about why the event was significant?
    • I used to joke that your presentation could include interpretive dance if you want. In Fall 2009, some students in my literature class did, in fact, dance several different potential interpretations of important scenes from the literary works.  Their presentation was fantastic, because they didn't simply summarize the plot, they carefully chose two or three different but valid ways to interpret each scene, and that made the class think about which interpretation they preferred, and why. (I wish I had a video of their work! Obviously, if you choose this option, you'll need to record it and share it, at least with in the class.)
    • You could design your own game, and make a video with paper cutouts on Popsicle sticks, or LEGOS, or sock puppets. The game proposal should serve the academic point you want to make, rather than demonstrate your ability to follow industry trends, or your confidence that the world is full of fools and that one day you will crush them all.



I've closed out the discussion on the "My Research Story" page, and invite you to use this page to continue reflecting on and discussing your progress.

This is becoming more and more frustrating as the dealine gets closer. Im sure thats why it is becoming so frustrating but I have been going through a lot of articles and online libraries to look for sources. I have found some good sources that will greatly help me do this.I feel like there are a lot of articles that are close but just dont seem to give me exactly what I need. I have started taking different and smaller pieces from the articles I found and tried to piece them together to help my paper.

I know exactly how you feel Keith! Dr. Jerz can probably attest to my frantic-ness earlier today when I pelted him with questions and asked for help. I think there is just so much out there that it's overwhelming. I've been frustrated by the fact that there is a lot of general reasearch, but not much about the specific games that I want to discuss. I had an easy time picking a specific thesis, but was let down when the research pertaining to that topic was not perfectly specific. I think I'm going to focus more on a genre which should help I hope. I think I just need to plow through and hopefully things will fall into place as I go.

I actually had fun researching for my topic. There's tons of academic articles and studies on my topic so I had to spend a lot of time weeding through them to see which ones would benefit me the most. Dr. Jez, how would I go about citing a youtube video if I decided to include information mentioned in the video. It's accurate information.

Jessie, treat a YouTube video as you would any other file on the internet. YouTube is the location where the file is visible, but unless the video were something that the YouTube company created (a demo or editorial or whatever), don't treat YouTube as if it were the author or publisher.

Here is a list from the Purdue OWL page on the new MLA style.

* Author and/or editor names (if available)
* Article name in quotation marks (if applicable)
* Title of the Website, project, or book in italics. (Remember that some Print publications have Web publications with slightly different names. They may, for example, include the additional information or otherwise modified information, like domain names [e.g. .com or .net].)
* Any version numbers available, including revisions, posting dates, volumes, or issue numbers.
* Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
* Take note of any page numbers (if available).
* Date you accessed the material.
* URL (if required, or for your own personal reference).


While the URL is now officially optional in MLA style, the guidelines indicate that professors can require it. If the URL does not require a log-in, and it's reasonably short, I do want so see it.

Strictly speaking, a time index is not necessary, but it would be helpful to put it in the body of your paper.

Keith and Beth Anne: no question about it, writing a research paper is an involved process that involves lots of head-scratching and maybe backing out of some dead ends. The sooner I see your first attempt, the more helpful I can be.

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