Assignment: Weekly Writing 3

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017
Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017
You are expected to submit your own writing. If you use outside resources (including our course texts) you must cite those sources.


In this weekly writing, you will propose an experimental procedure for testing a piece of conventional wisdom. Your writing will follow the form derived partly from an executive summary for a grant proposal to a funding agency. While this may sound a bit dry, the format will force you to think carefully about the work you are proposing and why it is worthwhile.


Your writing must include five parts:

This is the claim you are testing. Briefly describe the claim, and give some background on its origin (if you can find any). We will come up with a set of potential claims to test as a class. You may select any claim from this list, whether you suggested it or not. If you have a different claim you would like to test, propose it to me in person or via email and I will almost certainly approve it.
Experimental Procedure
Give a high-level description of the experiment(s) you will run to test the claim. This does not have to include details like the number of samples or analysis procedures; focus on controlling for outside factors so you can be certain you really are testing the claim you identified.
Threats to Validity
Describe any factors that may lead you to draw an incorrect conclusion. How might you control for these issues, or at least minimize their likelihood? No study is perfect, so your discussion here should identify at least two potential threats.
Intellectual Merit
What makes this a challenging and important problem? This section comes directly from the NSF Grant Proposal Guidelines. See a discussion of this piece below. Note that a strong submission will describe intellectual merit throughout the entire proposal, not just in this section.
Broader Impact
What impact will your work have? Does this depend on any particular outcome, or will your work be impactful regardless of the conclusions of your study? This piece also comes from the NSF Grant Proposal Guidelines. Note that a strong submission will describe broader impacts throughout the entire proposal, not just in this section.

For a more detailed discussion of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact, see the NSF Grant Proposal Guide: Part III Section A.


Your final written work should be 1.5–3 pages of text in an 11pt serif font (e.g. Times New Roman) with 1.5 line spacing and one inch margins. You should include a title (be creative), your name, and the subtitle “Weekly Writing 3” on the first page of your writing.

As with all work for this course, you are required to cite your sources. You may use the course texts, but I encourage you to find additional sources. Use a citation format you are comfortable with, such as Chicago, MLA, or APA. Please include both inline references and a list of references at the end of the document; this will make it clear what sources you used and which ideas come from others’ work. Your bibliography does not count toward the page limit. If you have questions about how or whether to cite a source, please contact me or make an appointment during office hours.

Submitting Your Work

Your writing assignment is due next Tuesday. You only need to submit an electronic version of your writing. Plase email it to me with the subject [TUT 100] Weekly Writing 3. Include your writing as an attachment, or link to a Sharepoint or Google document that gives me permission to provide comments on your writing. I must receive your email before class on the due date.