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Format for Research Reports

Transliteracies research reports focus on one or more of the “Objects for Study” in the project’s Research Clearinghouse. Reports are relatively brief documents designed to give a broad, multi-disciplinary audience a quick, efficient grasp of the object of study, its context, and its possible relevance for the issues important to the Transliteracies Project.

The standard report format is as follows:

  1. Summary: 200 words or less.
  2. Description: Description of the object for study (accompanied by appropriate images, screenshots, etc.). The description is designed to be as objective and efficient as possible, in the manner of who / what / where / when / how / why. It may include brief excerpts quoted from home pages, mission statements, introductions to articles, and so on.
  3. Research Context: Identification and quick description of the relevant, contemporary field of research, together with a suggestion of why this object for study might be of current interest to the field.
  4. Technical Analysis: Synopsis of main technical specifications, methods, or approaches. “Technical” has varying meanings depending on the nature of the object for study. A report on a hardware invention, software innovation, or new technical protocol (e.g., the early codex book, woodcuts, lithography, e-ink, interface technology or design, search technology, XML, text-encoding, etc.) might include a hardware, software, or usage description as appropriate. A report on a social-science, humanities, or art work might include a description of theoretical approach, evidentiary method, etc. (evidentiary method, for example, is one of the innovations of William St. Clair’s 2004 book on The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period). A report on an artistic form (e.g., ode, ballad, emblem, electronic poem, new media art installation) might include a description of such features as structure, versification, typography, layout, graphic design, software platform, database design, etc.
  5. Evaluation of Opportunities/Limitations for the Transliteracies Topic: Speculative commentary on what the object for study might offer to the Tranliteracies goal of understanding and “improving” present-day online reading practices. What are the Transliteracies research opportunities or directions suggested by this object of study? What are the limitations or problems of such an approach?
  6. Resources for Further Study: Short bibliography of works or links.
  7. Optional: Point(s) for Expansion: Links or cross-references to related items in Objects for Study or other related issues that a fuller article might research.

Research reports should be sent to the Transliteracies administrative research assistant (Lisa Swanstrom) for copy-editing, formatting, and posting to the site (with a cc: to Project Director Alan Liu). [Contact info]

  ayliu, 01.10.06

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