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Design Your Own Creative Prospectus

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Introduction

  • Design your own creative prospectus design using the outline below.
  • Write out your creative prospectus design in a word processor.

You’ve now had a chance to see examples of how one student, Tara D. Schurz, developed a Creative Project Prospectus. You should have worked through the design process, making decisions at important points and then comparing your decisions with those Tara made.

Once again, it’s your turn.

In this exercise you will be asked to pick your own problem for a Creative Project Prospectus and to take it through the basic design process. This will include defining the creative project topic, determining which current option for a Creative Project that it fits into, conducting a preliminary search of the literature, exploring alternative options for doing the project, and selecting a particular strategy to follow. You will be going through the stages we have experienced before, except that this time you will not have the expert’s solution for comparison.

Once again, you are asked to do this design as an individual, rather than as a group. Feel free to discuss and brainstorm with others, but the solution you come up with should be your own, and you should work the exercise on your own.

The first step, of course, is picking the project or object for study. It will probably be in the area of education, most likely in an area of your field that you have studied and found engaging.

Some people have argued the it does not make much difference whether the topic you choose is the one you will actually use for the masters degree or not, because either way you will learn how to do a prospectus. I totally disagree. I want this proposal to be something you are doing “for real” and what you intend to actually do for your masters Creative Project. If it turns out that you have to change later, “c’est la vie” (That’s life!), but at least you will have given it your best work.

The more real the problem you can work on, the better. Once again, if you or others helping you (e.g. a class you teach at school, now or during the next school year) can actually take the study through to completion, so much the better.

The following considerations are meant to guide you along the path you choose.

Please note: There is another document that gives step by step statement of elements required for a full proposal. While the expectations go beyond that expected for the prospectus of this exercise, reading it over may make it easier for you to see what to do here.

Stating the goals. The most important feature of this step is to be clear on what you want to accomplish. As you get clear on your project topic, your direction will become clear. As with Tara’s project, there were several categories that the project could be done under.

It may help you to review the document, “Types of Creative Projects that may be acceptable for the M.Ed. Degree.”

If you are not clear on the differences refer back to Tara’s proposal to review here decision to go with the kind of project that she did (Product Development). Also, where possible, draw upon the insights from the course texts: Engaging Teachers and Practical Research.

Step 1: State the Goals of the Work

  • What is it that you want to accomplish?
  • What type of Creative Project will it be?

Step 2: Gather Information

It is useful to go through the kind of steps you've seen in Guided Design: (1) locate relevant sources; (2) read and assimilate them; and (3) summarize findings.

As you complete this step, try to get some coverage of the topic, possibly from a trip to a university or district library, search of the ERIC system, or access to the Pioneer on-line database. Use the sources at hand who may be knowledgeable, local people who know what's gone on before. If an ongoing program has a file of newspaper clippings relevant to their operation (one of my favorite sources of information), use that. Use your ingenuity to obtain this information.

Consider the types of reports used in the two Guided Design studies you've just seen. What would be comparable for the project you're undertaking?

Consider the focus for the literature review. For an internship, it may involve obtaining background information on the organization you will be working with. For a product development project (like Tara’s) it may involve researching some process that will be required to complete the work (like Rapid Prototyping in Tara’s case). If you were doing Action Research (closely akin to the Teacher Research described in Bisplinghoff & Allen), it would involve searching library sources for more information on the topic of interest (as we did earlier in Research Design 1 Assignment).

Go ahead now and gather information. You may do some brainstorming about sources and then some searching, prior to completing this step. When you're ready, type up your sources searched and a summary of your findings.

Step 3: Construct a Research Design

This is the creative part of the assignment. Having identified a problem or program for study, and having gathered information to help you, at this point you need to think through the steps needed to actually conduct a study. (The closer you can make this to your own reality, the better). Your solution should include:

  • A look at alternative solutions (brainstorming).
  • A specifying of constraints (as realistically as possible, drawing upon possible district resources, maybe through a proposal or with an existing program).
  • A research design you think will work

Step 4: Evaluate and improve as you go

There are certainly ways that you can evaluate your own Creative Project and revise as you go. Formative evaluation, pilot testing or the techniques of Rapid Prototyping – constantly comparing your results with the way you got them – should be employed.

Good luck. This is the second core experience for the research class. Give it your best shot, and you can count on receiving feedback from your instructor or TA on your solution.

Reflection:

Take some time now to go back over your solution and consider what the strengths and weaknesses are. What will be the limitations on what you find? Where did you have to make cuts (due to budget or other constraints) that you might have liked to have left in? Is there a funding agency that might help provide resources? Can you think of a publishing outlet - e.g. article in the local newspaper, local, state or national organization that might be interested in publishing your results? Can you see ways that you might involve your classes - at whatever level you teach at - in conducting the study? This should be a moment to reflect on what you've done.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . factpetersen. (2007, August 06). Design Your Own Creative Prospectus. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/education/research-for-the-classroom-teacher/unit-9/design-your-own-creative-prospectus.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License