Research Project

Basic Instructions

Due Date and Getting Feedback

All research projects will be accepted on a rolling basis, and you can submit as many revisions as you can until the last day of classes. I encourage you to show me your work from an early stage and receive constant feedback. I will normally return your draft within a week.

File Format

Unless you have my permission to use an alternative format, the final version of your project should be in Microsoft Word or PDF. Please be sure that your file name begins as YourLastName_YourFirstName_CourseTitle. After this string, you may add anything you like.


You may collaborate with another classmate on any of the projects listed below. You may not collaborate with more than one person. The fundamental requirement is that you and your partner contribute equally to the project. Other requirements will have be decided on a case by case basis. Please come see me as soon as you and your partner agree to collaborate. You have time until Week 8 to decide whether you want to collaborate with someone.

Project Options

Choose one project from below. You may switch between research paper and annotated bibliography anytime. But if you choose to do a practice-based project, which is approved case-by-case, you need to see me first before changing your project.

1. Research Paper

Your paper must engage with contemporary philosophical literature on a topic relevant to the course. Such topic can be about a historical figure or movement as long as contemporary philosophers are discussing it (think, for example, of Kant scholars discussing a problem in Kant’s philosophy).

The maximum length of your research paper is 3000 words, excluding notes and references, and it must have a title and an abstract of not over 150 words. These requirements follow the paper submission guidelines for the meetings of American Philosophical Association. Your references should follow APA (American Psychological Association) or the Chicago Manual of Style.

2. Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography must be on those topics that are relevant to the course and on which there is substantive philosophical literature in the last 50 years (since 1970).

The length of your annotated bibliography must be between 3000 and 5000 words, and it must have a title and a short, accessible introduction of the topics covered. A useful guideline for annotated bibliographies is found here. Your references should follow APA (American Psychological Association) or the Chicago Manual of Style. Note that if your annotations are 100 words long on average, you will need to have at least 30 entries to meet the required length.

3. Practice-Based Project

A practice-based project is any project other than the ones listed above. Before you start, you need to talk to me to get my approval. The final format of the project should be a portfolio of your products accompanied by a statement or reflection of 1000 words. Below are some generic examples:

  • A nontraditional course syllabus. Design a 15-week course on the same general theme of the course you are taking from me but with readings that are less canonical or neglected. Your statement/reflection should include your rationale for the choice of readings.
  • A followup course syllabus. Imagine the course you are taking from me is the first of a two-semester sequence. Design the second semester of the course with well-chosen readings. Your statement/reflection should include your rationale for the choice of readings.
  • An artwork. Produce an artwork(s) relevant to the topics discussed in the course. Artworks can be in any medium as long as you can adequately present them in your portfolio. Your statement/reflection should include a clear and cogent explanation of the relationship between your artworks (including their concept, if any, and the process of production) and the specific ideas you studied in this course.