Midterm Project and Paper

The goal of the midterm project is that you will gain a holistic experience by conducting a small research project that employs the digital methods you have learned in the first half of the course. You have freedom to choose a favorite topic as long as it meets the following two requirements:

  1. Your project must employ ArcGIS and have a spatial dimension in its analysis.
  2. Your project must be China-related. You are strongly encouraged–but not required–to develop a project on topics we have discussed so far on middle-period Chinese history, because a) the background readings and discussions we have had in the past weeks have provided you with the necessary context to ask meaningful questions and b) the China Biographical Database gives you access to a wealth of data for answering your questions. A project on other periods and aspects of Chinese studies is acceptable with prior consultation with me.

A good midterm project strikes a balance between significance and feasibility. This requires that your project ask a question that is both meaningful in the scholarly context and also manageable given available datasets and your time commitment.

You will share your findings with the class in a short presentation and report them in a short essay. The presentation should be about 7 to 10 minutes long. The essay is expected to be 3 to 5 pages in length, typed in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and proofread for errors of grammar and spelling. Submit your essay as a Microsoft Word document. Include citations in Chicago/Turabian format.

Important Dates:

  • March 7 (Tuesday): Project Tutorial. You are expected to have developed preliminary ideas about your project and explored the possible data sources. In class, we will discuss your ideas and work together to have your datasets prepared for analysis.
  • March 9 (Thursday): Project Presentation due. You will give a 7- to 10-minute presentation to report the findings of your project. Your presentation should be enriched by PowerPoint slides. Submit your slides before class to the Moodle dropbox: Midterm Project Slides. Your presentation must include the following components:
    • What is the question you are asking? How does it fit into the broader scholarly context on China/Chinese history?
    • What data do you use for answering this question?
    • What is your answer to the question?
  • March 26 (Sunday): Midterm Paper due. You will feedback from me and your classmates on your project during the presentation. After the presentation, you have a week (not counting the Spring Recess) to revise and improve your project and write up a short 3- to 5-page essay discussing your findings. Submit your essay by 5 p.m., March 26 to the Moodle dropbox: Midterm Paper. Also compress all your supporting documents into one zipped file and submit it here: Midterm Paper: Supporting FilesAssignmentThese supporting files include, for example, your data files (such as those in .tab, .xlsx, or other formats) and map package files (.mpk). You may include–as necessary per the nature of your project–other supporting files of your choice.