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Honors Projects

PJHS Honors English

Anthropological Research or Creative Writing

Project Proposal

Projects due (ready for presentation) May 1, 2015

PJHS eighth grade English honor students are required to complete a 30-hour project during the year. The focus can be creative writing or cultural anthropological research. The writing option can be  a play, a movie, a book, a series of short stories, a blog, etc. The research project can include ethnographic, qualitative, and quantitative research. Those are big terms that simply mean, in this case, looking at cultural practices from all angles.

#1 Deadline October 20-- 5 hours logged. Time Log including, date, times, and what was accomplished required.

#2 Deadline January 5--15 hours total logged. Time Log including, date, times, and what was accomplished required.

#3 Deadline March 30--25 hours total logged. Time Log including, date, times, and what was accomplished required.

#4 Deadline May 1, 2015--30 hours total logged. Time Log including, date, times, and what was accomplished required.

Project Requirements Overview:

1.Time Log--You must keep a log over the year AS you put in the hours. The log should include, date, time spent, and what was accomplished during the time. Time logged at the end of the process will not count. Chunked time (example, three entries, 10 hours each) is questionable at best, and does not meet the criteria of investing in a project over extended time.

2.Project Product--Requires a "product" (book, new skill, movie, progress analysis journal, etc.) AND a visual means of sharing the project process with the class such as a power point, a website, etc. (posters do not work well).

3.Fieldwork--You will be completing “fieldwork” which means actively participating in the research. In other words, this is a research project that can not be done exclusively at the computer. This option allows you to investigate and and/or learn something new.

4.Vary the research “tools” you use (limit to approximately 5 hours in each category). Examples:

  •    interview experts; interview participants

  •    keep a learning journal

  •    visit venues (take notes)

  •    learn a new skill (analyze while learning)

  •    create a Presentation (power point type option) on Google Drive

  •    compile information

  •    develop a website

  •    read a book on the topic

  •    compare/contrast movie/DVD with real-time observations

  •    create survey; create graphs for statistics

5. The presentations will be given in class after May 1st. Time logs are due that day, and you should be ready to present any day after that. If you need to make special arrangements for demonstrations or materials, you can ask for a specific day towards the beginning of the projects. Projects should take under 10 minutes. You will be graded on presentation and content.

6.Question Driven Research--One objective is to formulate research questions that lead you to more questions. Researching a topic and sharing “historical” or "how to" information does not go far enough. Research to answer who, what, when, where, how--but the most important questions are deeper. Ask “why,” “what if,” and include “open-ended” questions.

Sample probing questions for Interior Design Project. Include definitions, historical background, history, requirements, cost, etc., then, ask deeper questions that investigate the cultural/psychological/motivational aspects such as:

1)Is there a "type" of person who is interested in interior design?

2)What are the industry personality stereotypes (if any)?

3)What is its value to survival, society, culture?

4)To what degree is natural ability (innate skills vs developed skills) required?

5)Explore the style spectrum. What does design style say about personality? Why?

6)How does interior design differ across cultural and geographic boundaries? Why?

Sample probing questions for Creative Writing Proposal that includes writing autobiographical stories about life experiences (like Jerry Spinelli did in "Knots").

  1. What is a way I can capture the the beautiful and ugly moments in my life?

  2. How can I write my stories in a way people can relate to them?

  3. How can I write about my memories vividly and with intelligence?

  4. How can I put detail and voice into my stories?

  5. How can I write truthfully without exaggeration, but still make my stories entertaining

Sample probing questions for Disneyland topic. Background research would include things such as geographic locations (and why), detailed history/growth, etc.
  1. What makes Disneyland so popular?

  2. Why do people keep going back?

  3. What is it's value to survival, society, culture?

  4. What was Walt Disney's vision/objective?

  5. Is there a "type" of person who enjoys Disneyland?

  6. Explore the controversies (accidents, money vacuum, media frenzy, values ingrained, replace learning vacations, etc.)

  7. Explore the benefits (family bonding, exploring fantasy, enrichment, historical education, etc.

Project Proposals 

A proposal is a plan or suggestion, especially a formal or written one, put forward for consideration. Your proposal should be concise but comprehensive in that it includes what you want to research, how you are going to research, and your objectives. The tools should be specific (as far as you know at this point).


Bona Fide Beauty

In my project, I would like to explore the revering and exploitation of female beauty. I will include an airbrushing

demonstration, promote a day of no make-up, interview two plastic surgeons and women who “go under the knife,” If possible I will talk to religious scholars, national beauty experts, teenagers and adults--investigating their perception of beauty, how it is used, and why.

Makeup and Morality

I would like to research the use of makeup in a religious context. I plan to use ethnographic methods to explore the conflict between the use of makeup and Christian  morality. My focus will include the idea of using  makeup to perfect the outward appearance as a marker of spiritual perfection, the use of “permanent makeup” or tattooing in a culture where tattooing is prohibited, and use of potentially unsafe or immoral products (such as those tested on animals) in the context of a religious prohibitions focused on maintaining bodily and spiritual purity.

Economy Trumps Religion: LDS Fathers Feeding the Family

My project includes making a qualitative study of fathers in dual income families, exploring attitudes towards and involvement in what has traditionally been regarded as the ‘women’s work’ of feeding the family.  I will conduct interviews with fathers regarding their involvement with and attitudes towards grocery shopping, cooking, and child-feeding. I will also get feedback from their wives. Questions will cover such things as attitudes, coping skills, willingness, perception, self-esteem and outcome.

Rational Resistance: Assessing the Role of Narratives, Evaluations, and Rubrics in Secondary Education.

I want to evaluate the effectiveness of current Secondary English curriculum in retaining potential high school dropouts. My ethnographic research will include observations of high school classrooms, as well as interviews and focus groups with students, former dropouts, teachers, and administrators.

  • First rule of project presentation: Do not bore the audience. Choose something you are interested in. No droning. 
  • A power point is not a project. Do not pick a subject, go online to research the basics then slap it into a power point. 
  • NEVER cut and paste anything into your power point. There should be no words or phrases or concepts in your presentation that you do not know.
  • If I can find what you put into your power point online and create a power point on it in a few hours, it does not meet criteria for a 30 hour project.
  • DO NOT tell us what we already know (ie, itemize equipment used in specific sport; common historical background, etc.)
  • Do not use a blog site for a website. The idea behind creating a website is to actually create one. 

Common Questions:
Question:  If I write a book for the 30 hour project do I have to present it for the class?
--If you choose to write for your 30 hour project, you will turn the finished project in to me, and present some aspect of it to the class. The presentation is also up to you, but an effective presentation would include an oral presentation and/or a Presentation power point on Google Drive explaining aspects of the project such as how you came up with the idea (brainstorming), what you did to prepare (research, prewriting), how you moved through the editing process, what didn't work, what you learned, and what you would do it different if you had it to do over. You should also plan to read the intro to the book and one or two other excerpts aloud to the class. 

Question: Can I read a specific series or genre for the project?
--There is no reading option. However, if you are researching your novel, or a specific subject, you can count some of this reading. This reading can NOT also be counted on your weekly or term reading logs. 

Question: Can I pick something I'm already doing or interested in, like horseback riding, or football?
--The simple answer is no. The objective is to learn something new, to expand your intellectual and academic knowledge. If you are learning a new skill, you can count five hours of learning the skill. 


2.  Powerpoint--Heather S. (google drive)

3.  Movie--Emily P.

4. Haley--Website and Running

5. Website--Katrina and Cassidy