Download the Major Project Overview (.pdf)
For the Major Project we will assume that you are attending a conference and that you will be contributing a formal paper in your field and presenting it to an audience. For the sake of realism, I’d like you to choose an actual conference open to undergraduate students. If you have a particular conference in mind, feel free to use that conference. Otherwise, I would suggest taking a look at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM or the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. The deadlines for their most recent upcoming conferences are past, but they’ll serve as a frame of reference, and as a possible opportunity for next year. For other conference possibilities, talk to faculty within your major.
If you choose the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM, please see both their Abstract Submission Guidelines and their Oral Presentation Guidelines. If you choose the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, please see both their Abstract Guidelines and their information on Oral Presentations.
While the topic of your paper is up to you, your paper should take one of four forms:
- Primary research paper: Author gathers data and conducts experiments to confirm or disprove a hypothesis. The classic IMRAD model.
- Secondary research paper: Author gathers research and data from the work of others, then reinterprets to confirm or disprove a hypothesis. Old data may be interpreted in light of new findings and/or using new analytical methods.
- Review of Literature: Author summarizes and discusses the most important publications within a sub-discipline. Competing theories are discussed and trends noted.
- Lay article: An expert realm of a discipline or sub-discipline is interpreted for a lay audience. Complex concepts are broken down and explained through a review of important developments, examples, and interpretation.
While the Major Project will culminate in a formal written paper to use for your presentation, the Project as a whole is divided into a series of assignments with various due dates. For specific information on each assignment, please see its assignment guidelines. The assignments and their due dates are:
- Project Memo (Due 10:00 PM, March 4)
- Project Proposal (Due 10:00 PM, March 11)
- Project Progress Report #1 (Due 10:00 PM, April 1)
- Project Annotated Bibliography (Due 10:00 PM, April 5)
- Project Progress Report #2 (Due, 10:00 PM, April 15)
- Project Presentation (Ready to present by April 18)
- Project Paper (Peer-review draft due 10:00 PM, April 11; Instructor-review draft due 10:00 PM, April 20 to ensure comments for revision; otherwise 10:00 PM, April 22)
Elements of this assignment are modeled upon Dr. Madeleine Sorapure’s Spring 2003 Writing for Science and Technology course that was taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara.