THE RESEARCH REPORT – OVERVIEW
This assignment is an analytic research paper. This means that it is an exercise in analysing and
evaluating specific aspects of science and technology as human activities, using the conceptual
tools that you learned in the course. It is not an argumentative essay, where you formulate a
thesis statement in the introduction, and then articulate an argument to support it. The
purpose of this assignment is not to take a stance on some scientific or technological issue—as
for example whether GMOs are or are not the solution to world’s hunger, or whether nuclear
energy should be or should not be the energy of the future—and to convince the reader of the
validity of your stance. The purpose is to apply the ideas that we discussed so far in the course
to examine and interpret how scientists, engineers, journalists, activists, corporations, patients,
consumers, and other actors deal with such controversial issues.
The Research Report will have the character of a quest: you will start by asking an interesting
question, and you will collect, examine, and organize information and ideas from a range of
sources, looking for an answer. You will conclude with an evaluation of your findings. You may
end up finding a complete and satisfactory answer, a partial answer, or no answer at all. If you
found a satisfactory answer, explain what the answer is and why you think it is a satisfactory
answer. If you did not find an answer, explain why. Conclude by suggesting an outcome of your
research. What are the consequences of the answer your found? Does the answer suggest that
STS2411 INTRODUCTION TO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STUDIES FALL 2017
For class use only. Do not circulate.
more questions need to be asked? Some action needs to be taken? Or is answering your
question still a work in progress? What could or should be the next move?
Like anybody else, you will have prejudices and expectations before starting the research. It is
impossible to be completely unbiased when collecting and organizing information. But one of
the aims of this assignment is to train your ability to recognize and question your hidden
standpoints. Do not force your expectations onto your findings. Be prepared to rethink and
revise your preconceptions according to the information that you will find.
FORMAT OF THE PAPER
The report will be typewritten, about 8 pages long (cover page, notes, list of sources, and
illustrations excluded), 12 pt font, double spaced, standard margins, no blank spaces. Print it
single-sided on plain paper. Write your name, student number, the course name (STS2411
Introduction to STS), and the title of the report on the cover page. The title may be simply your
research question, or a title of your choice that suggests the question or an highlight of your
Write in clear and correct English. Use a dictionary to ensure that your words convey your
meaning precisely and are spelled correctly. Form sentences that are complete, logical, and
clear. Proofread your work to avoid mistakes, obscurities, and nonsense.