The Beginning, Middle and Final stages

of preparing, submitting and assessing

a Classroom Term Project

Seth Ward











Beginning Stages: Develop the question you’d like to research, and see what resources are available

Sometimes it’s best to select a book which addresses the broad topic you are interested in, and note several items the author writes about and your response to them. A guide to research projects adapted from the Penguin Handbook by L.  Faigley, used by UW’s English 1010 may help organize your project, and to make a timeline of tasks needed. You might find ideas about starting, or exercises that will help structure your idea at my termproject website.


                                    Think of topic ideas.

                                    Do a little research, identify books and articles and other resources.

                                    Think of the context in which your idea is significant.

Submit: Initial Idea




Middle Stages: initial research, formulation of conceptual framework and the significance of the project.

Instructor experience suggests that it is important to assess progress in the middle of a term project, through student/instructor conferences, classroom discussion groups, and a written progress report. Peer discussion groups may or may not be structured “Task Forces” based on common themes. A progress report, conferences and groups help articulate your goals and interests, facilitate feedback and assist with research.

Do:      Do more research.

            Use relevant material from at least one book, and try to find some of the “primary sources.”

            Identify other resources; be prepared to discuss the different approaches of each resource to your issue.

Identify central research questions and interesting issues; formulate a working thesis and a sense of why this is important.

Submit a progress report

This could be the “Research Preparation Exercise” with abstract, brief annotated bibliography discussing about five resources (including one book), and main points.

Meet with a peer group and/or with instructor



Final preparation stages: more research; peer and professor advising and assisting; preparation of a draft.

You now know more about the directions in which you need to go to develop your project, and have identified additional resources you need to consult. Begin writing your final draft.

Do: Meet with peers, group (“Task Force”) and/or professor

            Write your draft

            Have your draft reviewed by a peer or several peers. GET FEEDBACK

            Peer review another paper or papers. (GIVE FEEDBACK)

            Analyze the review(s) you received. Sometimes the reviews are helpful—sometimes they may indicate you did not successfully communicate with the reviewer but not much more. 

Suggested styles and rubrics for peer reviews abound, but you may well know how best to work with a classmate or peer.


A report including your peer review of a classmate’s paper (or a report about the review you gave), a report about the review of your own paper, and an assessment of the review process and results.





Do: Revise draft as needed

Your class may require a one page summary (200-300 words) or a web page on your project with one or two images, main points, critical details etc. for oral presentation.  The summary should lay out the background and context, summarize your findings, and discuss their significance. Know whether there is “electronic submission,” “paper submission” or both.



1.      paste one page summary into the Ecompanion response box in the appropriate section, and attach a copy to the response.

2.      do the same in the dropbox basket.



Read the summary of your paper.

Frequently Asked Questions about Submission, Peer Review, and Peer Assessment




Each “Task Force”/Peer Presentation Group will have the responsibility to moderate the presentations of another group. This involves (a) introducing the students and their topics, (b) preparing responses and questions for discussion, (c) assessing whether there are common themes and achievements in the papers presented. Read about Peer Assessment to get more guidance.


Do:      Read papers of classmates

            Moderate and discuss classmates’ oral presentations. Prepare questions for them about the significance of their findings.

            Post comments in the Online Discussion Section

            Respond orally and online to classmates.

            Assess classmates’ papers.




Online: Online discussion is intrinsic to this process. We do not have enough class time to fully discuss the papers.

Assessment exercise: identify a group of classmate papers, compare and contrast them, and assess two you found to be the best of the group (your own can be contrasted and compared but not included in the assessment of which is best).