SOCI 325: Final project description

Topic submission February 26
Poster presentations April 7
Peer evaluation April 15

Overview

The final project for this course will be a poster presentation over the last two classes of the semester. The project will have three graded components:

  1. Topic submission (due February 26): Submit a short (no more than 300 words) description of the topic you have chosen and how you plan to represent it. Worth 5% of final grade
  2. Poster presentation (due April 7): Upload your poster (described below) to Teams. These will be put into a “virtual” poster gallery online. Worth 30% of final grade
  3. Poster evaluation (due April 15): Each student will be responsible for the evaluation of four of your classmates’ posters. Worth 5% of final grade

Topics

The posters will present an exploration of a particular episode in the history of science and technology. You should pick one chapter from The Golem: What You Should Know About Science (Collins and Pinch 2012) or The Golem at Large: What You Should Know About Technology (Collins and Pinch 2014) to analyze using the ideas and theories from the course. These books present topics in science and technology, focusing on the social complexities that often go undiscussed when presenting such histories. Both books are available with the links provided through the McGill Library. The relevant chapters are listed below:

Note: if there is a different episode from the history of science or technology you are familiar with and want to analyze instead of those listed, you may ask the instructor for permission to do so.

Note: there will be a limit of 15 students per chapter/topic.

Your topic submission should specify (1) which chapter or topic you plan to analyze, (2) which themes (see below) you plan to utilize, and (3) a brief account of how you plan to approach the topic.

Posters

The main portion of your final project will be a poster in the style of an academic poster session. Your poster should present your analysis succinctly on an 11 by 17–inch (tabloid-size) document. You can use any software you want to design the poster—common choices are Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Slides, and Adobe Photoshop. You may design your poster in a number of ways, but it must include:

  1. A headline (main point) related to your analysis.
  2. A short text summary explaining what the poster is showing (secondary point).
  3. An analysis of the topic, using at least two of the course themes.
  4. Graphic objects/pictures/clip art/shapes that support the content and/or help your viewers understand how to read the poster (arrows, circles, squares, etc).
  5. References to at least four of the class readings to support your analysis. You should use in-text references and include a separate section with your reference list.

Recall that the course themes, as presented on the syllabus and in class, are (1) scientific outcomes are social, (2) scientific research is social, (3) science and power, and (4) the history of science is a social history. For more information on the themes see the slides from Jan 7 and Jan 21.

Layout and design will be an important part of the poster. That design is up to you, but you should focus on having a clean, legible layout. Check the University of Texas at Austin’s undergraduate poster design templates page for specific advice. (I will provide examples from previous years’ submissions as well.)

Submission details

  • Posters are due on Teams by 11:59pm on 7.
  • Posters should be in PDF format.
  • Posters should be A3 / tabloid sized (297x420mm / 11x17in). They may be in portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) orientation.

Peer evaluation

You will be responsible for providing peer evaluations of four of your classmates’ posters (determined randomly ahead of time). To do so you will find your assigned posters in an online poster gallery, and you will fill out a provided with a rubric that evaluates each poster and presentation on the following criteria:

Each student’s final project mark will be determined from the aggregate of their peers’ evaluations of their poster.

References

Collins, Harry M., and Trevor J. Pinch. 2012. The Golem: What You Should Know About Science. Canto Classics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
———. 2014. The Golem at large: what you should know about technology. Canto classics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.