First things first: I would like for you to format your Contexts Project Proposal as a Memo. If you’re unfamiliar with what that should look like, see this Sample Memo from Purdue OWL (Links to an external site.), and click around the rest of the Memo menu items on the lefthand side of the screen if you want to know more. The most important elements are the subheadings, as I will ask you to explain multiple aspects of your proposed research topic– subheadings are especially useful in scholarly articles, and if you like using them here, you’re welcome to use them in the CP, too!
And before I go into the Proposal itself, a very important reminder: the Contexts Project is about the issue itself: X specific thing about our food system can reliably be linked to Y environmental problem. The topic you’re proposing here should be as narrow as possible on both of these points (ex: “unmanaged manure from livestock agriculture leeches into the water systems and causes eutrophication, or algal blooms” is excellent, narrow, and specific. “Cattle farming enhances greenhouse gas emissions” is still too broad, and will need to be narrowed further: what part or what element of cattle farming? how does that lead to which greenhouse gas emissions?)
This is an informative research paper, not an argument for solutions. If you find scholarly sources that discuss both the problem and the solutions, that’s great! Just remember that you’ll want to set the “solution” information aside, and come back to it for the Advocacy Project.
In a proposal of at least 750+ words, please include:
- An Introduction that summarizes the most important information you’ve found about the issue that you’re interested in researching for your CP
- 2-3 sections that provide clear, specific, and relevant information and context about a) the food system practice(s) you want to focus on, b) the environmental issue that those practices cause, and c) relevant historical, social, cultural, geographical, legislative, economic, or political context that has shaped that issue as it is today. What you name these sections is up to you, but this is your chance to move beyond the Introduction to the more in-depth information that you’ve found in your sources; and to that end, I expect that these 2-3 sections will include quotes and parenthetical citations that match the Works Cited page (see below!)
- A section that considers who the stakeholders are or might be: who does this issue affect most? Who has a hand in the systems and processes that make this issue what it is? The point of this is not to find a person, entity, or community to blame. Rather, the purpose is to think about these issues as they relate to the real world, and to identify potential partners in the solution (which will come in handy for the AP!), or those communities who have little power in the matter, but bear the brunt of the issue all the same. Of course, what this particular section looks like will depend on your topic, and this can be one of the shorter sections in the Proposal.
- A Works Cited page that lists at least four sources you’ve used for information in this Proposal. At least TWO of those sources must be scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles. You do NOT have to annotate these sources for this assignment.
With any luck, this assignment will give you an excellent head start on your Rough Draft for next Friday (4/24). Keep in mind: this quarter, there will only be one Rough Draft before the Final Draft is due; gathering as much information as you can now, and proposing a topic that you’re pretty sure you’re interested in and can find lots of good information about, will be a huge benefit to you over the next couple of weeks.