Due Friday, March 22

Your final project will combine data analysis and “traditional” humanities methodologies in order to levy an argument about a humanities research question.

In order to do this, you’ll select a dataset and (with my help) learn to analyze, visualize, and ask questions of it. Your finished project will contain the following components:

  • At least three data visualizations.
  • At least one map.
  • At least one of the following: an image gallery, a timeline, or a digital story.
  • A narrative of about 3,500 words that makes an argument and explicates the visualizations that support it.
  • An “About” page that thoroughly documents your sources, their processing, and their presentation.
  • A bibliography.

The project will be presented on a website that you build.

Since this will probably be an unfamiliar kind of assignment for you, I’ve prepared milestones for you to “hit” throughout the quarter. As long as you make the milestones, you will complete your project on time.

Some notes on the final project

While the components of the final project may initially seem intimidating, this class is structured in such a way that you will learn to execute each element of the project in sequence. The project milestones are carefully timed so that as long as you hit each milestone, you will complete the project on time, your own anxiety notwithstanding.

In practice, there is a fair amount of flexibility with the project guidelines. If another configuration of the project guidelines makes sense for you, I’m happy to discuss it, as long as the revised project meets the same learning goals.

When you’re writing a final paper, the question of how to divide up your paper, while important and difficult, is at least confined to paragraphs and sentences. This project, however, because it’s presented on the web, will require you to make choices about how (and whether) to divide your argument into pages and sections. Choose the configuration of content that makes the most sense for what you’re trying to accomplish. As with every element of the project, I’m happy to talk it over with you.

A few words on the “argument” part of the final project: Some students find that their projects work best when they make one argument, sustained over the various data visualizations and components of the project. However, many students find that it’s easier to make several different arguments about the same topic, each illustrated by a data visualization. For this project, either approach is acceptable.