The project for the semester.

The final project is a written analysis of approximately 1,500-2,500 words. The project replaces a final exam, and is designed to give you a chance to analyze a set of data that you have chosen, reflecting (hopefully) your own research interests. This could be a first step to writing your ABP. This can be, and probably makes the most sense to be, textual or numeric data from something you are already studying. Which data you choose, what question you investigate, and how you analyze the data is your choice, but you must justify the choice.


Your draft will be no longer than two pages long. The draft should be submitted in class on the due date, and should tell:

  • Who are the group members?
  • What are the skills of each group member?
  • What will be the sources of information? Where does the data come from?
  • Is there anything specific to your data?
  • What kind of R tools would be helpful in the analysis of your data? Why? (Find three tools or libraries)


Your content should include the following:

  • Cover Sheet A title, your names, and an abstract with no more than 200 words.

  • Introduction An expanded version of your abstract, which introduces the question, states the rationale for trying to answer it, briefly describes your data, identifies the methods you apply to the data, and summarizes the findings.

  • Motivation Why have you chosen to analyze this topic? Is there a compelling social reason? Does it contribute to scholarship? This can include a literature review (but dont overdo it). Description of your data. You are free to choose any data you wish, of any size, although you must include a justification for the choice of data, and acknowledge the source. You will need to document any format conversions or pre-processing steps you have applied to the data prior to analysis. Someone else should be able to reproduce your analysis from the raw data. You should also present some basic summary statistics about the data, prior to analysis.

  • Description of your methods. What techniques will you apply to analyze the data? Is there a precedent (in previous scholarly literature) for applying such methods to data similar to yours? Defend why the application of the methods is appropriate.

  • Results Apply the methods, present the findings. Be sure to be explicit about any steps taken.

  • Conclusions What conclusions on the question can we draw from the results?


There is no rigid set of guidelines, but you should use an APA manual of style compatible referencing system (parenthetical references rather than footnotes). Tables should be formatted rather than consisting of pasted output from a software. Think of trying to look (roughly) as if you were formatting a journal article.