Bostonography Final Project Workshop
In the past few weeks you have produced two ideas for final projects. We have several goals for today’s workshop, but most important is moving you from those two ideas to one workable project.
1. “Speed data-ing” 11:50-12:35
We will begin with a full class discussion. For this exercise, you should determine which of your two ideas you think is the best one (don’t worry, you may still switch a bit later). Each person will have exactly 60 seconds to pitch their idea to the class (I will be keeping time). When it’s your turn, begin with your name, give us an “elevator pitch” for your project, and end with your name again.
Those listening also have a job to do. As your classmates are pitching their ideas, you should be listening for ideas that overlap with yours, considering potential collaborations. Don’t just keep these in your head: write down their names and ideas. This is why you should say your name at the beginning and end of your pitch, for the benefit of colleagues who might want to follow up with you.
2. Team Formation 12:35-12:50
Once everyone has pitched their ideas, there will be 10-15 minutes of time for discussion and team formation. Do not be shy here. We are eager to see you working together to build more ambitious projects, so find likeminded colleagues and put your heads together.
3. Project Refinement 12:50-1:20
If you have decided to work in a team, then you can come together to answer the questions below. If you will be working individually, you should find a partner. In conversation either in your group or with your partner, you should answer the following questions as specifically and detailedly as you possibly can. You should also answer them in writing, either by hand or on the computer. It is important that you commit these answers to actual prose, as they will form the building blocks for the Blue Sky Proposal and Contract you will submit later this week.
Where will you find the specific data this project will use? Has it been identified and explored, at least provisionally?
What questions will the project use the data to ask (and hopefully answer)? There should be one big, central question and likely several smaller, related questions.
How does this project fit into a larger framework? What might the “blue sky” version of this project look like, were time and money no object?
Who, specifically, will care about this project’s findings? In other words, what impact could it have? What are the stakes?
Do you have the skills that will be required to perform the analysis you need for this project? Is there anything you will need to learn in order to complete the work?
For those in groups, this should be a conversation that helps move you toward a compelling project. You will not help your partner by simply accepting everything they say. You should take the role of reporter here: ask followup questions, and be skeptical. If there’s some aspect of the project that seems unworkable or under-considered, press your partner to clarify or rethink.