Money makes the research world go around
Researchers need $$$ to do their research. And philanthropists (people who want to give away money) look for good causes to sponsor. To be successful, researchers have to convince people that their research is important, and that it has merit (value) in order to get funding. Often, they appeal to a philanthropist, a person who wants to give away money for an important cause.
For this assignment, you will put together a proposal for space research that interests you. Your funding ‘angel’ is an extremely rich person with a deep interest in space science and space exploration…..but not much real knowledge.
The philanthropist is interested in all of the following areas. Your proposal needs to address research in ONE of them*:
- Technologies that have and are advancing understanding of the universe and solar system (e.g. telescopes, spectroscopes, robotic devices, etc.)
- Understanding of major components of the universe and solar system (e.g. galaxies, star clusters, planets, etc.)
- Astronomical phenomena with reference to the Earth/moon system
- Implications of space travel
*Refer to the ‘prescribed learning outcomes’ handout for more detail. Download Space exploration - learning outcomes
However, the philanthropist, as a generalist, wants to see not only the depth of your understanding of the single area of knowledge you are focusing on, but also the breadth of your knowledge. This person wants to see your ability to connect your proposal to the big continuum that is ‘space science and space exploration.’ You need to show that you are not a ‘one trick pony.’ You have to show that you are the real deal, that you can link your area of interest to all of the areas of interest that intrigue your funding ‘angel’, including the traditional perspectives of First Nations people in BC.
- First of all, select an area of interest. You can focus on one of two areas:
- a really interesting technological development that advances understanding of the universe and solar system, and you want to be a part of
- a major area of knowledge about the characteristics of the universe and solar system that you want to develop theories on and understanding about
- Establish your knowledge base
- Where does your interest lie in the history of the space research ‘continuum?’
- Where is the research is now? Is it brand new and cutting edge? Is it the kind of research that develops brand new technologies and theories? Or is it the next logical step in developing efficiency or extending an existing theory?
- Where is the research going? What’s new?
- Work on connections – your success depends on creating a ‘big picture’ for your philanthropist, on connecting your area of research to varied aspects of space science (see the ‘prescribed learning outcomes sheet). You don’t have to connect to everything, but make it good! How can your creatively ‘pitch’ your research while at the same time connecting with the philanthropist?
- It’s the wild, wild west out there in Google-land. Choose your resources carefully. If you consult someone’s blog, make sure that the owner of the blog has credibility.
- Leave a trail of breadcrumbs – organize your research. Consider using two column notes as you do your research. It looks like this:
Notes - ‘cut and paste’ info, paraphrased info, and links to sources
|Your ideas, comments, questions & connections|
Make the left column wide (like I have shown). You probably won’t have too much to say in the right column as you are doing your research, so make that column narrow.
Each time you use a source, cut and paste the link in the left column.
Put QUOTATION MARKS around information that you cut and paste from sources. This is the honest way of quoting a source, and will keep you from being accused of plagiarism.
- Make your bibliography as you work.
- Open a page in Word, and give it the title ‘Bibliography.’
- Each time you use a new source, use citation machine (citationmachine.com) immediately. Create the citation, then copy and paste it into your bibliography.
- Once you have finished your research, go back to the bibliography and do the following:
- Alphabetize the entries.
- Insert a ‘hanging indent’ for each entry (control – T).
- Double space the page.
STARTING POINTS FOR RESEARCH:
- Check out Airspace Blog: behind the scenes at the National Air and Space Museum. This blog is written by Dr. Roger D. Launius, senior curator of the Space History Division of the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. (Note: the curator is the person who decides what to exhibit at a museum or a gallery.)
The entry called ‘Ten events of great Significance in Space Exploration during the twenty-first century’ gives Dr. Lanius’ opinion on…you guessed it…10 significant events in space exploration from 2000-2010. You can access the site here.
This is a good starting place for info on the latest in space technology. And the blog is searchable, so you can find info about lots of different topics. Of course, it’s just a starting place!
Click here for the main page of the Air and Space Museum if you are interested.
- NASA also has a great site. (NASA stands for ‘National Aeronautics and Space Administration, by the way.’) Click here for the site.
This is how it describes itself: "Launched in October 1998, this site strives to be a real-time, living encyclopedia of robotic exploration of our solar system. Our goal is to provide the public, students and teachers with reliable, accurate, up-to-date planet and mission information and create a complete historical record of deep space exploration."
Again, this is a fantastic place to start as you decide what you want to ‘pitch’ in this assignment.
- Space.com is a monetized site. You can find it here. The site describes itself as follows: "Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists."
It’s exciting and interesting. Beware of the advertising.
- Once you know what you are researching, remember to use the school data bases located on Best’s library site. You can access the databases here.
EBSCO is easy to read. It has good information, but is less scholarly than Academic Search Premier. Both offer reliable information. You can access them without a password at school. If you are at home and need the password, e-mail your teacher-librarian – firstname.lastname@example.org.