Research in the humanities

TASK
Research in the humanities focuses on interpreting texts, the artifacts of human culture. Researchers in the humanities rely on close reading and observation as their method of data collection. Often this is done by looking for and recognizing themes in a text and analyzing them. Here are some examples of the kinds of texts that are researched:

primary historical texts: letters, diary entry, essay
political science texts: government document, treatise, essay
literary texts: short story, film, poem
art pieces: sculpture, painting, music

For this assignment, choose one of the texts below. Complete a close reading (observation and thinking to develop an analysis of the text and write a thesis statement that defends your interpretation of the text.  Complete a Content/Form-Response Grid as directed in the textbook, and then use that to structure your essay.

Use your close reading as the foundation for your thesis statement. Your position must be insightful and arguable. In your essay, support your thesis with evidence from the text and from 23 scholarly research sources on your text. You will be limited to only library- based research for this project (UF Databases and the library catalog:https://uflib.ufl.edu/find/databases/). Do not stop searching once you have found two or three research sources; find the most appropriate sources for the assignment.

Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood [short story published in Atwoods book Murder in the Dark, 1983. Publisher Coach House Books]
“How to Write a Poem in a Time of War” by Joy Harjo [a poem with a twist, 2017], accessed from the website Poetry Foundation.
“Yellow Woman and A Beauty of the Spirit” by Leslie Marmon Silko [a narrative essay, 1993], source on pdf.
“Eulogy for Graham Chapman” by John Cleese [eulogy, 1989] from the website FuneralWise.
“It Was a Good Day (Links to an external site.)” (lyrics) by Ice Cube [music video and song, 1993] accessed on YouTube.

For guidance in observation and interpretation (p. 141 & p.172), close reading (p.144), developing a content/form–response grid (p. 154), responding to others’ interpretations (p.159), drafting an interpretive/analytical thesis (p.163), and writing an interpretation of a text (p.165), see chapter 7 in your textbook An Insider’s Guide to Academic Writing.

COMPLETING THE TASK
1. Read the text closely. Youll need to read it multiple times and youll need to actively engage with the text. You can create a content/form-response grid as explained in your textbook (p. 154) or any other method that works well for you. Examine the content of the text as well as its form. Develop why, what, and how questions and think through to an answer.

2. Use your close reading and answer to a question as the foundation for your thesis statement. Your position must be insightful and arguable. Your analysis will make a clear claim supported by evidence from the text and evidence drawn from the interpretation of other scholars. (Some ideas for directions of the texts for thematic analysis are found after the library research instructions below.)

3. In your essay, support your thesis with evidence from the text and from 23 scholarly research sources on your text. You will be limited to only library-based research (no google searches!) for this project and the sources must be scholarly and peer-reviewed. Dont stop searching once you have found two or three research sources; find the most appropriate sources for the assignment.

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