Term Paper Proposal


  • Due: October 3rd
  • Format:
    • Email to instructor & TA
    • Subject line: Term paper proposal
    • Must be received before class on due date
  • Grading Criteria:
    • Writing
    • Completeness
    • Quality of references
    • Quality of argument

For your term paper, you will research an issue about computing and society that you are initially undecided about. In your paper, you will take a position on that issue and support that position. Your paper should be approximately ten pages long.

For your proposal, send an email to the instructor and TA with the subject line "Term paper proposal." In your email:

  1. Identify the issue you have chosen
  2. Explain why you are interested in the issue
  3. Explain why you are undecided about the issue
  4. Identify a few initial information sources you will examine to begin to research the issue. List at least three refereed sources--either journal articles or conference papers.

Make sure to pick a topic that others have written about. You are being graded on how well you research the issue and cite the literature about it. If there's little to cite, you will have trouble with this assignment.

Please do NOT write about sharing music and other files online, without special permission of the instructor. In the past, people have had difficulty with this topic. We'll discuss this in class. Also, please do not write about privacy implications of RFID tags. Lots of people have written about this topic in the past, and there are some old term papers circulating on campus. Your term paper will be compared to an archive of term papers handed in over past terms.

A refereed source is something that has gone through peer review--like a journal article or most conference papers. Books and journalistic articles do not count. For each reference you provide, please provide the full, correct reference in APA format, and include the URL where it can be found, if it is available online.

The instructor and TA will send you comments on your proposal. In some cases, we will ask students to choose another topic and submit a new proposal. Revised proposals should be submitted as soon as possible; by the due date of term paper outlines at the absolute latest.

Either before or after these proposals are due, you may email the professor or TA to make an appointment to discuss your topic. Or find us after class. We would love to talk with you about it!