research outline

For class use only. Do not circulate.
This assignment is designed to give you the opportunity to
• deepen your knowledge of some topics and issues related to the themes of our course
beyond the specific topics covered by our readings and class discussions
• demonstrate your ability to apply course concepts beyond the limits of course content
• strengthen your ability to identify and assess sources of information
• develop the critical skills that are necessary to give meaning to information about the
relationships between science, technology, and society by using knowledge from the
course to analyze and evaluate it
• sharpen your ability to express yourself in writing with clarity and precision
This is not the usual argumentative essay, in which you state a thesis and look for arguments to
support is. It is a research project: you start with an open question and look for an answer to it
with an open mind. You must be reflexive on your own preconceptions, expectations, and
biases, and be willing to critically review them in the light of what you will find through careful
examination of reliable sources.
Select a topic from the set presented below and formulate your research question. Be mindful
of the underlying assumptions that frame your question, and take note of your expectations
regarding the answer. Conduct your research, carefully assessing and vetting your sources.
Write a report about your research findings following the scheme outlined below. Reflect on
the research process and what you have learned from it.
The research process must be firmly grounded in the course and must add to it, demonstrating
your knowledge and understanding of course content as well as your ability to fruitfully put it to
use. Your research question must stem from course readings and discussions. You must analyze
and assess sources, information, and ideas using the conceptual tools that you are acquiring
through your participation in the course. You must consider how your independent research
complements and enriches your learning experience in the course.
The paper will consist of a cover page, a report (about 6-8 pages), and a list of works cited.
Write it in 12 pt font, double-spaced, with standard margins. Do not justify the lines of text at
the right margin. Do not subdivide the report into sections separated by blanks or headings.
Start the list of works cited on a separate page with the heading “Works Cited”, following the
MLA rules. Number all the pages except the cover page.
Check the deadline for this assignment in the Course Schedule. Submit your paper as a Word
XML (.docx format) file in the relative Turnitin module in the course website no later than the
For class use only. Do not circulate.
Use the MLA style throughout the paper.1 This is the default style in our course. If you wish to
apply the APA style or the Chicago style instead, you may do so. Declare your chosen style in a
visible place on the cover page, and apply it consistently throughout the paper.
If you use direct quotations, limit them to less than 10% of the paper. Be sure to apply the MLA
rules (or your chosen style’s rules) for formatting and referencing direct quotations.
Write in clear and correct English. Follow the Writing Advice file posted in the course website.
Use a dictionary. Proofread your work.
Keep all notes, photocopies, and any other material you used for this assignment until after the
final grades for this course have been recorded. You may be requested to submit this material.
Select one of the following broad topics and, after some preliminary exploration, choose a
specific example to focus on. Formulate a clear and specific research question about your
chosen example, and look for an answer using your own research and any part of the course
material that may be relevant.
1. Who are the experts that provide or provided guidance for making policy decisions on a
matter of public concern, and why or why should they be trusted? Examples of possible
matters or issues are:
a. Canada’s Food Guide and official dietary advice
b. energy policy in Ontario (that is, what sources of power should we use now and
in the future, coal, gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, other?)
c. cannabis legalization and regulation in Canada
d. sex education in public schools in Ontario
e. an issue of your choice
2. Examine one specific case in which a form of artificial intelligence (AI), expert systems,
neural networks, algorithms, machine learning, big data, or other, has been used to
replace or complement human expertise in a specific field or activity. Possible examples
from which you can draw your specific case are (but are not limited to) medical
practices, industrial automation, car diagnostics and repair, self-driving cars, smart
1 All the necessary information about the MLA style can be found in the slide presentation, “On Referencing” and
in the “Citing Your Work: Citation Styles” page of the York Library website at, also accessible through the “Citing Your Work” icon in the library
website main page. You can find general information and advice about citing your sources in the “Pulling It
Together” section of SPARK, at, also accessible from the Moodle dashboard (top-right
For class use only. Do not circulate.
homes, education technologies, social media, marketing and advertising, and financial
analysis and trading. What were the motivations, and what have been the results?
3. Who are the weapon experts? Scientists and engineers have always contributed to the
construction of arsenals of conventional, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and
other kinds of military devices. They also participate in the definition of national and
international military strategies as scientific and technical advisors. Select one of specific
example of a military technology developed in a specific country, and investigate the
identities, roles, and motivations of the technological and scientific experts who gave
major contributions to its design, construction, and use.
On the cover page of your paper, write
• your full name and student number
• the name of the course
• the name of the assignment, Research Project
• the title of your project
• If you are using a referencing style other than MLA, your chosen referencing style
• the following Academic Integrity Statement (copy and paste it from here) with your
signature and date2
I fully understand the requirements for this assignment. All the content of this paper is in my
own words, except where I used (and properly attributed) direct quotations, and it expresses
my understanding of the information I found through my research, course readings, and class
activities. All the sources of information are properly attributed.
Signature ____________________________________________ Date _________________
Length, format, and structure
The report will be about 1500-2000 words (about 6-8 pages), notes and illustrations excluded.
typewritten in 12 pt font, double-spaced, with standard margins, with no blank spaces within
Your full compliance with Academic Integrity is expected. Read the section on Academic Integrity and Honesty in
the Course Outline and take the Academic Integrity tutorial in SPARK. Remember: using a source without
acknowledging it is an act of plagiarism. Pretending that the work of someone else is your own is also plagiarism. If
you are not sure how to be academically honest at any point, consult with me.
For class use only. Do not circulate.
the text. Do not justify the lines at the right margin. Do not subdivide the report into sections
using headings or blanks. Indent the first line of every paragraph by 1.27 cm (0.5 inch) from the
left margin.
Write in clear and correct English. Use a dictionary to ensure that your words convey your
meaning precisely and are spelled correctly. Form sentences that are complete, logical, and
easy to read. Coordinate verbs with subjects, and adjectives and pronouns with their nouns.
Avoid redundancies and empty statements. Proofread your work to avoid mistakes and
nonsense. Follow the advice in the file, “Writing Advice” posted in the course website.
Organize the report into introduction, body, and conclusion (but do not separate these parts
with headings or blank lines.)
If you used direct quotations, be sure to format them properly and integrate them in your
discussion. In other terms, do not pad your paper with “floating quotations”. Use direct
quotations with discernment, when there is a reason to refer directly to the specific words of a
source, and keep them to no more than 10% of your paper.
Avoid fluff and go straight to the point: state clearly and explicitly your topic and research
Articulate how your topic and question relate to the course. Be specific. It is not enough to
state, for instance, that the question is related to technology and expertise. What specific
aspects of technology and expertise are involved? Explain how your research question fits in
the topics and themes of the course, what its significance is, and how it is relevant to our
understanding of the relations of expertise, technology, and society. Make explicit references to
the relevant parts of the course material. Give a brief but bright preview of the answer you
found through your research. Add any comment that may help the reader to appreciate your
work for this project.
Avoid empty generalities and grand statements that you would not be able to substantiate, as
for example, “Humanity has always been driven to discover the secrets of nature through
science,” or “Technology has come a long way and will continue forever to advance and
improve our lives.”
Report what you found with your research.
Discuss any aspect of your sources that is relevant to answering your question.
Do not go over the sources serially but organize information and ideas according to the
understanding that you have formed through your examination of the sources and participation
For class use only. Do not circulate.
in the course. Articulate the logical relations between pieces of information and ideas, following
a coherent thread and showing the reader how you reached your conclusions.
Draw connections with course material whenever it is appropriate. Use the concepts and terms
that you are learning in the course, and make explicit references to people, events, and ideas
discussed in course readings and class discussions.
Do not slip into unsubstantiated clichés about scientists, science, and technology. Back up your
conclusions with a thoughtful argument and reliable evidence.
Conclude with a discussion of the meaning of your findings.
What is the main result of your research? How does your research expand on the course
content? Again, be specific and make explicit references to the relevant parts of the course
Why were you interested in your research question? What were your expectations at the
beginning of the project? How did the process of research, analysis, and interpretation affect
your views?
Finally, what is a relevant aspect of your question or a related question that remain
unanswered and deserve more research?
Complete the assignment with a list of the sources that you used for the project, alphabetically
ordered and fully referenced in MLA style (or your chosen style).
Use at least five independent sources, that is, sources that are not course readings. Course
readings, lectures, and class discussions must constitute the background to your research, and
you may also use them as sources and as resources to find other sources. A good paper will
reference at least two course readings in addition to the five required independent sources.
No more than two of your sources can be web sources, that is, websites, blogs, online news
reports or online magazine articles, or other content that has been produced only to be
published on the web. Scholarly journal articles that are accessible online and books in digital
format do not count as web sources.
No more that two of your sources can be popular sources. See below for the definition of
“popular” and “scholarly” sources.
Research takes time: start early. Be advised that the early phase of a research project is often
intimidating and may feel overwhelming, but it is always exploratory and tentative. As you
persist and gather knowledge about the topic, you will increase your understanding and gain
For class use only. Do not circulate.
confidence. Examine and assess a variety of sources, and choose carefully those that are most
reliable and most helpful to answer your research question. Try to obtain sources that offer
different points of view for you to consider. The quality of your paper depends in large measure
on the quality and range of your sources.
To assess your sources and to write the bibliographical references correctly, look for the
following information:3
− What kind of work is the source you are examining?
o Is it a book, a chapter in a book, an article in a scholarly journal, a newspaper or
magazine article, a web-published document, or other?
o If it is an article in a journal or magazine, what is the title of the journal or
magazine? What kind of journal or magazine is it?
o If it is a chapter from a book, what is the book? If it is an essay in an edited book,
who are the editors, and what is the book about? Who are the editors?
o If it is a web document (text, video, audio, multimedia), what is the website?
Who published it, when, and for what purposes? Are there interests at play that
may affect the information provided, as, for instance, in the case of a business
marketing a product, or a political group promoting a cause?
− When was this work produced and published? Is the information still up to date? If it is old,
is it of historical interest to your project?
− Who is the author (or authors, if there is more than one)?
o What is the full name of the author (or full names of the authors)?
o What makes the author(s) competent to write about the subject?
o If the source is attributed to an organization, what organization is it? What is its
− What is the purpose of the publication?
o Is it written for education, entertainment, to promote an agenda, or to sell a
o Are there interests at play that may affect the information provided, as, for
instance, in the case of a business marketing a product, or a political group
promoting a cause?
− What kind of audience is the work addressed to? Is it a scholarly or a popular source?
(About the distinction between scholarly and popular sources, see below.)
− Is it a primary or a secondary source?
− If it is a secondary source, on what other sources of information it is based? (About the
distinction between primary and secondary, see below.)
− How is this specific source relevant and useful to your project?
3 An aid to assess sources of information is the PARCA test, Purpose, Authority, Relevance, Currency, and Accuracy,
which is part of SPARK. SPARK also contains advice on research strategies. You can find the links in the course
For class use only. Do not circulate.
− From what point of view does it look at the topic (from the point of view of STS
scholarship, historical, philosophical, or sociological scholarship, of today’s working
scientists, as science popularization, to support some agenda, to market a product, to
advocate for a policy, or other)?
− Are there other sources that could be more relevant and useful, or help you to view the
topic from a different perspective?
Popular and scholarly sources
A source is scholarly (or academic) if it is written mostly for academics in a given field of studies.
It is popular if it is written for the general public.4
Typical popular sources are newspaper articles, magazine articles, and popular-press books,
YouTube videos, podcasts, websites, blogs, TV shows, movies, radio programs, documentaries,
or other. If you use this kind of sources, be sure to assess their reliability, relevance, and
usefulness very carefully. Check out the author or authors, their credentials, and their
purposes. Be aware that often popular web sources are not based on competent research or indepth examination of issues, but are superficial pieces cobbled together copying from other
web sources. They can be incompetent and misleading. One clue to determine if a piece of
writing is creditable is to check if it properly cites its sources. Another way to assess a source is
to inquire what its purpose is. Is it pushing an agenda or trying to sell you something? Beware
of all the various forms of advertising, marketing, and promotions disguised as information,
which are very common on the web.
Typical scholarly sources are articles in peer-reviewed journals and scholarly-press books. These
sources are generally more informative and reliable than popular sources, but they are
somewhat harder to find and to read. Academic-press books are published by university
presses or specialized publishers. Peer-reviewed articles are written by experts and have been
vetted by other experts. The easiest way to find scholarly sources is to search the online library
catalogue and databases. In addition to multidisciplinary databases (as, for instance, JStor,
ProQuest, Scholar’s Portal, Web of Science, Expanded Academic ASAP), specialized databases
are available as e-resources through the library. The STS contact librarian at York University
Library, Minglu Wang, provides some useful links in her webpage, which you can access from
the Library Resources panel on the left-hand side of the course website. Especially useful for
this project is the History of Science, Technology and Medicine database. You will find the link
in the course website. I also posted a list of academic journals on the history of science, which
you may find helpful.
4 A helpful summary of the differences between scholarly and popular sources is provided by the York University
Library, in the “Finding Journal Articles at York Libraries” section, at
For class use only. Do not circulate.
Not all sources fall into the categories of scholarly and popular. Many works are written for
special uses and special audiences, such as government reports, working papers, lecture notes,
correspondence, and so on.
Primary and secondary sources
A primary source is one that gives you direct evidence of the events, people, or ideas that you
want to study. For instance, a scientist’s writings (notebooks, papers, and letters) are primary
sources of her life and work. A secondary source is one that provides information in an indirect
and processed form. For example, biographies and history books are secondary sources.
In this case, too, the distinction may not always be obvious or neat. The scientist recollecting
her research after many years, for example, will filter the events through memory and some
conscious or unconscious interpretation. The primary-secondary distinction depends on how
much the source is removed from the subject matter; therefore, it is in many cases a matter of
degree. It may depend on how you use the source more than on the source itself.
• When discussing a controversial issue, do not assume a prejudiced attitude. Your task is
not to cheer for one side of the controversy or dismiss another side on the basis of your
prejudices, but to analyze the issue with equanimity from all sides, with the aim of
increasing your understanding.
• Keep an open mind and be ready to be surprised. Carefully examine all points of view
and revise your beliefs in the light of new knowledge.
• Assign value-judgment terms, such as “true”, “right”, “rational”, “objective”, “scientific”,
or “false”, “wrong”, “irrational”, “subjective”, “pseudoscientific”, and so on, only if you
are ready to explain what you mean and support it with a strong argument.
• Be strategically selective with the information to report. Do not try to include everything
you read about. Choose the details and examples that are relevant to your line of
argument, and leave out those that are irrelevant. Give more emphasis to what matters
most and less emphasis to what is secondary.
• With the information you decide to include, be as accurate, precise, and clear as the
information allows.
• Be precise with temporal information. Do not write “back in the day”, “in earlier time”,
“back then”, but give clearer indicators of the period you are referring to.
• Be accurate with names and sequences of events. Use the appropriate verb tenses to
avoid confusion: the past tense for things that belong in the past, the present tense for
For class use only. Do not circulate.
present occurrences, and the future tense for future predictions. Be clear on who did
what, when, and where.
• Do not overuse the passive voice. Be explicit on who does what.
• Write in singular first person, “I/me/my/mine” when expressing your own views,
describing something you did, or reflecting on your learning experience.
• Spell names correctly.
• When you are naming a person for the first time, use the full name, writing the first
name, middle name or initial, and last name in this order. When naming that person
again, use the last name only. Exceptions to this rule are historical figures who did not
have a last name, as for example Aristotle, or are universally known by their first name
only, as for example Galileo.
• When you are using only one chapter of a book, reference only the chapter, not the
entire book.
• Apply the MLA style or your chosen style throughout the assignment. Use the style rules
for references as well as for titles.
• Do not capitalize words at random. There are specific rules for capitalization. Review
and follow them. In ambiguous cases, make your choice and stick to it consistently
throughout the paper.
• Use punctuation correctly to structure your sentences. Most importantly, remember
that a complete and independent sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a
period, a colon, or a semicolon. Commas signify brief pauses between certain parts of a
sentence. Do not break sentences up with unnecessary periods, and do not use commas
to join independent sentences. Do not place a comma between a subject and its verb.
Use two commas, one at the beginning and the other at the end, to set off parenthetical
• Be mindful of basic grammar, especially
o ensure that every verb has a subject, and coordinate every verb with its subject
o form possessives and plurals correctly
o ensure that every pronoun has a clear referent, and coordinate every pronoun to
its noun
• Read and apply the advice in “Writing Advice”.

Calculate your order
Pages (275 words)
Standard price: $0.00
Client Reviews
Our Guarantees
100% Confidentiality
Information about customers is confidential and never disclosed to third parties.
Original Writing
We complete all papers from scratch. You can get a plagiarism report.
Timely Delivery
No missed deadlines – 97% of assignments are completed in time.
Money Back
If you're confident that a writer didn't follow your order details, ask for a refund.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:
Power up Your Academic Success with the
Team of Professionals. We’ve Got Your Back.
Power up Your Study Success with Experts We’ve Got Your Back.