Write your Portfolio Proposal ( you are free to pick any topic)
Remember, your Dialectical Portfolio will consist of three separate essays (Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis), which are all described in the syllabus and contract.
These essays should deal with a common theme, but each essay should deal with that theme from a different perspective.
Your proposal should include:
TITLE: The title should provide a fairly clear idea of what your project is about.
RESEARCH QUESTION: An essay is the investigation of a problem. This research problem or question provides the focus for each essay, as well as the entire portfolio. What is it that you wish to investigate? Can you specify crisply the question (or problem) that each respective essay sets out to address? You should aim to state a single research question, which you may then choose to flesh out through a number of sub-questions. Bear in mind that an essay should be a well-contained, tightly-focused and coherent piece of work that examines an issue in some depth.
POTENTIAL COMPETING ANSWERS TO THE RESEARCH QUESTION: This project consists of three essays, each of which must address the same topic and research question from different angles. Each essay will answer the research question in a different way, and these answers are the respective theses of each essay. Therefore, you will need to answer your research question a different way in each essay. Here is a an example of what I mean, using a deliberately silly example topic:
Topic: The Moral Status of Cats
Research Question: Are cats good?
Thesis Essay: Cats are great, because….
Antithesis Essay: Cats are horrible, because…
Synthesis Essay: Cats are neither great nor horrible. In fact, they are quite complicated, because…
The point is that you want to address the same topic/question from three separate angles. Usually, these three separate angles break down roughly as
For this part of your proposal, describe three possible, competing answers to the thesis question you are addressing.
AUDIENCE: Who do you imagine is the audience for this portfolio, and why would that audience care about it? Who does (or who would) disagree with each of your theses, and how will you address those who might disagree with you?
RATIONALE: Having identified the question or problem you wish to address through your research project, you need to say something about how/why this question has arisen. For some students, the research project emerges out of a theoretical interest, and for others it emerges out of issues of practice. Whatever the case, you should signal briefly why you have chosen the question that you have, and what contribution you think the completed research project might make to our understanding of the world. In other words, tell me why you care, and why you think anyone else should care.