Week 1
 Week 2
 Week 3
 Week 4
 Week 5
 Week 6
 Week 7
 Week 8
 Week 9



Research Project

Assignment: Write a 3-4 page (750 - 1,000 word) report in which you explain the following research concepts with reference to the sources you studied. Be sure to explain the relevance of these ideas to your framework/belief-system. Submit this report using the Composition Submission form: (Due Monday 2.7) .


Research Concepts
Self-Interest is Central Faith is the Focus
We Are All Parts of a Greater Whole
Reality is Relative Knowledge is Negligible


a. Make it Your Own: This report is designed to allow you to explore some of the basic ideas of your own philosophical belief system. You are encouraged to adapt this study to best fit your own ideas. The result is not intended as a mere book report (e.g. "so-and-so said this and so-and-so said that"). It is intended as a platform from which you can make some discoveries about the philosophical literature on the issues that relate to you and to employ some synthesis of your own. Use the sources as raw material and evidence to support your own claims. Use synthesis to put together diverse sources into a coherent story of your own. You are telling the story of your own belief system here (part of it anyway). This is a highly personal task, but you are using publicly available sources to do so. Avoid trying to be comprehensive (i.e. covering everything you read). It is much better to be selective and to draw emphasis on the points that you find most important. Be sure to say why those points are important. Try to write in a way that makes your readers care about what you have to say about this.

b. Reference and cite your sources. A key difference between researched findings and sheer opinion is that in research we provide evidence in support of our claims and directions to our readers so they may find and check the sources themselves. This is why there are standards for making and citing references. This makes your thinking public and verifiable. Explanation for doing so can be found in the Documentation and Referencing sections of Writing Philosophy Papers: A Student Guide. Go read this resource and learn how to cite sources, then make sure to use that knowledge appropriately in posting your work in Task#3 & 4.

c. Write think purposefully. In writing up your research as described in Task #3, the challenge is to move beyond the flat and direct statement of your opinion to the more complex processes of analysis, synthesis, comparison, and contrast. Do all of your sources agree on some key pointometh? If so, what does that tell you? Do they differ on any points? Explain the differences. Do they refer to other sources of agreement and controversy? This list of reserach questions goes on a long way. Here, I intend to press you into a part of this process. This is not a mere exercise in proving to me that you read the texts. Reading and reporting is not sufficient. You need to make something out of this -- something that accurately depicts what is there, but also is directed by your reasoning and your purposes. Use these sources to be persuasive and informative in favor of your view. Connect your own beliefs with what you read here and make us see those connections with clarity and support. I strongly suggest that you re-read the sources. You will find that in philosophy, it is seldom sufficient to read a text once. These are powerful texts that are full of meaning. After all, some people view movies like Star Wars numerous times and find something new in them each time. Do you ever watch movies or listen to songs more than once? If so, you find that your appreciation of some things increases with repeated exposure. This is true of philosophical texts. Read them again.

d. Discuss With Peers - Read and reply to the posts of folks in other groups. Look for issues and ideas that are relevant to yours. Ask questions about matters that are not clear to you. Answer questions and posts from other folks. A successful task will result in active discussion. Take part in it.

e. Catch-up and Reorganize: I recognize that some of you started the course late, some of you have been busy meeting the challenges of the technology, and most of you live busy lives with little slack. I am stretching some of the material and dropping some so that you will all have more time to concentrate your efforts and get in synch. Please take this opportunity to get your InterQuest business in order.

Subject: How well did you understand the concepts and points in this page? (Select the closest appropriate option from the three buttons below):

Very Well

Not Sure

Not at all

If you selected "not sure" or "not at all", please note below some specific words or ideas that are unclear to you.

Your email
Your name