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The following “Neighborhood Research Paper” assignment has been used in LIF 101 for Social Science and Humanities students, but could be adapted to give students the chance to practice disciplinary thinking in a variety of fields. The main objectives of the assignment are

  1. to give students the chance to engage with guided secondary and primary source research by using key resources on campus, especially the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives and the Library;
  2. to help students practice fundamental writing and critical thinking skills (summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting, synthesis, analysis);
  3. to give students a chance to conduct preliminary ethnographic research (i.e. field notes, interviews) in their own neighborhoods in order to de-familiarize environments that may have become familiar to them;
  4. to introduce students to disciplinary mindsets through focused inquiries that align with the role they adopt for the assignment.

This is a high-stakes assignment made up of lower stakes tasks that unfold over five weeks. It is worth 25% of the total course grade.


This resource is part of the First Year Seminar Curricular Resources.

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