Final Project

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DUE MAY 14, 2012

Class on May 14 will consist of Extra Credit presentations and a final wrap-up.


The final project is a 8-10 page research paper, built around taking the theoretical concepts about Internet control brought forward in the course, generating a hypothesis around that idea, and then examining real-world Internet activity to answer that question. The student should develop a framework that endeavors to answer the research question by observation of Internet activity, and then report the results of applying that framework. The most successful projects develop a narrow research question tied to the behavior of a specific online community or set of communities, and then develop a framework consisting of observation within that community or comparison to another similarly-situated community.

In lieu of submitting a paper, you may present your finding using a different medium, such as a podcast, video, or web page. If you do submit a paper, your paper should be 8-10 pages long, double spaced, and use a serif font (e.g. Times New Roman, Cambria, Palatino, etc.). If you submit through another medium, we shall expect a depth and level of analysis equivalent to that of an 8-10 page paper. If you are interested in pursuing something other than a paper, please mention this in your prospectus, due February 26th.

The final project should be integrative - bringing together materials and issues from class and expanding upon them. Ideally, students will identify the topic for Assignment 2 and leverage their time working on the other assignments towards the final project. It will be detrimental to change mid-stream, due to the limited time of the course.

You may work in groups as long as you let us know by March 12.


Your paper should be 8-10 pages long, double spaced, and use a serif font (Times New Roman, Cambria, Palatino, etc.). Please upload your paper as a .doc, a .odt, or a .pdf.

You may use any commonly accepted style to cite your sources (Chicago, MLA, Bluebook, etc.), but please be consistent.


Please include your final project here, including name(s) and title: Final Projects

Submit the final project on or before May 14.

Research questions

Your project should consist of an original documentation and analysis of Internet activity. You should decide upon a set of research questions - a single question is fine. The next step is to define a research frame for your case study. This could be an online community or set of communities, or participants in a web page or online game. Your research may focus on a single Internet project or compare two communities. You might choose to focus on a community that is a sub-unit, or a community that spans more than one URL. For instance: a WoW (World of Warcraft) guild is a sub-unit of WoW, but also exists on two or more platforms: voicechat in-game and a website forum out-of-game. Another possible example is to examine how a policy or law we've discussed has played out in a specific set of contexts (for example, comparing how different countries approach online censorship or react to Wikileaks). The goal in defining this frame is to focus your research.

The next step will be to gather evidence that will help to answer your research question. Finally, you will compile this into a final report that summarizes your research topic, methods and conclusions. We hope that you will be able to weave in one or more of the theories and constructs that have been introduced in the class.

Finding appropriate research questions is often the most complex and time consuming process in research and will normally take many iterations.

Some of the questions you might ask as you search for a more narrow set of questions might include: Research questions

Examples of previous papers


  1. Decide upon a research question set of research questions.
  2. Define a research frame (website, federation of websites, group, community, etc)
  3. Gather evidence
  4. Compile into report that summarizes your topic, methods, and conclusions