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Research Paper Alternatives

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annotated bibliography

literature review

bibliographic essay

identify a primary and a secondary source relevant to a specific event or person

write an entry for a dictionary or encyclopedia

evaluate and edit an article in Wikipedia

for a given topic, compare & contrast one or more of the following:

  • a reference book and journal article
  • an article and a book
  • a popular article and a scholarly article
  • disciplinary approaches (e.g. psychology and sociology)

creative projects

  • video
  • photography
  • performance
  • painting/drawing/prints
  • fiction/poetry
  • creative non-fiction
  • music/sound recording
  • web site

grant proposal or research funding request

  • identify appropriate agency/funding source
  • conduct literature review
  • assess current state of the field
  • identify next steps

poster sessions

  • students take turns presenting their findings and "making the rounds"


  • program with abstracts
  • panels organized by broad topic areas
  • brief oral presentations
  • question and answer period

curate an exhibit (actual or virtual)

  • research objects in an given collection
  • decide what to display
  • write labels and/or wall text
  • write catalog entries and/or essays
  • create metadata

recommend the purchase of an object (work of art, book, manuscript, etc.)

  • research an existing collection
  • study current auction catalogs and market conditions
  • justify recommendation

stage a debate

  • teams research and argue opposing viewpoints

write a rebuttal

  • read an article and identify a viewpoint that is not represented -- research the topic and argue from that perspective

predict the outcome of an election or auction

project the impact of new or proposed policies or legislation

develop a communications strategy for a political campaign or activist organization

analyze key journals and decide where to submit an article

  • editorial board
  • submission guidelines
  • circulation/distribution
  • indexing/aggregating sources
  • trends in content

propose a new topic for the course

  • suggest readings
  • relate new topic to others in the course

consult data/statistical sources to support an argument

track reports/uses of scientific research in the popular press

collect original data and compare findings to results in relevant literature

Last updated:
August 25, 2012