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What is a web project and how is it done?

A web project, like any other scholarly project, relies on intelligent research and analysis of primary and secondary texts and has at its core a well-organized and well-documented argument.  In other words, it is no different, in terms of intellectual content, from any other kind of research paper.  What makes it different is its use of the Internet, which allows the text to be supplemented and enhanced by additional textual and visual (and even aural) materials.

The work can be divided into four stages: research, writing, hypermedia enhancement, and revision.


RESEARCH

You will need to combine Web research with traditional library research.  Although you may be able to find some or even a lot of reliable materials on the Web, few peer reviewed materials are available online.  Therefore you must be prepared to use traditional print sources (books and journals) in addition to the Web, unquestionably the primary source for images and other correlated materials.

Questions about library research may be addressed to Pollack Library reference librarians, who are generally very willing to help if you don’t ask them at a busy time. The library subscribes to many bibliographical databases, though the most useful for your purposes is probably the MLA bibliography.

WRITING

Writing the text for a web research project is no different from writing a standard research paper. Starting from a strong thesis statement, you must construct a well-organized argument, referring to specific sources, and end with a persuasive conclusion. The basic principles for writing a research paper are outlined in most writing handbooks.

In the process of developing your argument, plan to work through several drafts. If you wish me to review a draft and provide you with feedback, you must give it to me at least two weeks before the assignment is due.

HYPERMEDIA ENHANCEMENT

This stage consists of adding images and other multimedia features to your document. During the research process, you will probably find images that you want to include in your project, online and outside resources that you want to create links to in the body of your text, and online resources that you will list in your bibliography. Careful documentation of these resources during the research process will simplify the later addition of these materials to your Web project.

Developing a Web project in is no more difficult than using Microsoft WORD.  If you’ve never done it, you may wish to take one of the MIS workshops in web-page design with Microsoft Front Page (the university’s page design program of choice).

REVISION

Revision should be a constant process, as you continually rethink and restructure your work. It is crucial to allow time at the end for a final revision. Frequently review your project in browser mode. Are there formatting problems? Do all the links and images work? Most importantly, reread your essay. Has the argument been altered by the addition of multimedia materials? Do you need to make any changes? Make sure that your project is the best that it can be before you turn in the disk.

GRADING

The grade will derive from an average of two separate grades given to:

1. Content: the strength, coherence, and development of your thesis

2. Aesthetics: the overall design and execution of the web page.

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