Scholarly conversation in the field of transgender studies

Research Paper

You may do this assignment by yourself, or you may do it with your research team. It’s your choice. If you do it as a research team, please submit only one paper.

If you decide to work independently, the first page of your paper should include a footnote that reads something like this: “I would like to thank [name of your former collaborator], who I worked with in developing earlier versions of this research.”

If you are going to work independently, please let me know by email by Thursday, April 7. I need this information in order to set up online submissions on Canvas.

Format • 12 point serif font (e.g. Times New Roman). Double spaced. Include your name(s). • 1250–1900 words. • Please use MLA or APA guidelines to cite sources and produce your reference page:

MLA http://wiki.ubc.ca/images/f/fc/Mlastyle2017.pdf https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and _style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html

APA https://guides.library.ubc.ca/apacitationstyle https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_style_introducti on.html

N.B. Look at and USE these citation resources. Choose either MLA or APA and follow it EXACTLY, right down to the punctuation. Good scholars follow standard citation practices, and they do so consistently. Papers that fail to do so will lose 5%.

Assignment

This assignment provides you with an opportunity to join the scholarly conversation in the field of transgender studies. It builds directly from the research proposal and presentation you have already done, completing the program of research you have been working on over the past few weeks. As with your proposal, give your research paper a title which includes a major abstraction and refers to your research site. It can be the same title as on your proposal, or you may revise it if necessary. In your introductory paragraphs, remember to include everything listed below. (Please especially note the last bullet in this list.)

• Your main concern/focus and relevant abstraction(s) (particularly “prestige” abstractions). • The current state of knowledge, as reported by other researchers. • A knowledge deficit (the limits of existing knowledge), as you understand it (based on the research articles you have consulted). • Your research question(s) that will address this knowledge deficit. • The method you will use to carry out your research. • The research site (or sites) where you will pursue your research question. • Your major research claim or claims. What has your research found out that isn’t covered by your state of knowledge? • A statement about your subject position as a researcher. For more about this, see the section called “Researcher Subject Position” below.

Structure of your paper: To some degree, you need to determine a structure appropriate to your paper (particularly the body). Keep in mind that that we have encountered some structural diversity in the scholarship we’ve read. What sort of structure seems best suited to the kind of research you are doing? Whathttp://wiki.ubc.ca/images/f/fc/Mlastyle2017.pdfhttps://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.htmlhttps://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.htmlhttps://guides.library.ubc.ca/apacitationstylehttps://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_style_introduction.htmlhttps://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_style_introduction.html

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will work best to report your results? • If you wish, and it works for your topic, you may use the IMRD structure outlined in Section 13D (pp. 300–304 in the print edition) of Academic Writing. • If you have used open and axial coding to analyze your research sites, it may be helpful to organize the body of your paper by the themes you have identified, using the themes themselves as headers.

Throughout your paper, remember to include: • A mix of abstractions and details that allows your reader to see the reasoning behind your analysis and discussion. Be sure to return to your opening abstractions from time to time. In your concluding paragraphs, remember to: • Confirm the main point of the essay, and the knowledge deficit it has addressed. • Return readers to the most important abstractions (the ones which began the essay). • Try to refer to the paper’s own limitations. • Try to gesture towards the future, towards knowledge-creation that is still to come.

Finally: • Do not highlight your abstractions. • Do not include the summaries you wrote for the annotated bibliography. • All sources, including your research sites (data sources), need to be included in the

bibliography. There are lots of good instructions on how to cite many different kinds of sources in the citation resources I’ve linked you to above.

• In MLA style the list of sources is called Works Cited. In APA style it’s called References. This is what you type at the top of your list. (There are no other options: i.e., “Sources” is wrong; “Bibliography” is wrong; etc.) In both cases, this list begins on a new page.

• Although APA style calls for an abstract, I do not require you to write one if you choose APA. That said, you may write an abstract if you wish, but it should not be included in your word count. MLA style does not require abstracts.

• The Works Cited or Reference list is organized in alphabetical order, arranged by the last name of the author (or, in cases of multiple authorship, the last name of the first author). If there is no author, alphabetize using the title.

• Do not bullet or number the bibliography entries. Neither MLA nor APA allows this. • Each item in the Works Cited or Reference list uses hanging indents. For instructions on

creating hanging indents look here: In MS Word: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65UQSU0cLAU&t=4s In Google Docs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-LqNpLnryQ

Researcher Subject Position While research generally strives to be rigorous, even “objective,” as you know by now researchers sometimes reflect on their own history and experience in their work. In doing so, they are trying to account for the ways that these personal characteristics may shape their work. As you know, transgender studies endeavours to centre transgender experience; further, historical research about transgender experience has tended to reproduce cisnormative assumptions about trans people. For these reasons, it can be important for those doing research in this area to acknowledge their positionality. Your research paper, then, should include a statement about your subject position. It could range from being very brief to quite detailed, depending on what seems appropriate to your research context and project. While I have no rules about how you should do this, areas to consider might be your race or ethnicity, your gender/gender identity, your sexuality, your socio-economic status, your

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65UQSU0cLAU&t=4shttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-LqNpLnryQ

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education level, your relative level of ability/disability, and so on. There may be other aspects of your experience not listed here which you think are important. Ultimately, what you include in this statement is up to you. (Also, you do not have to include everything about yourself. This about your research and what it makes sense to mention relative to it.) If you are working with a co-researcher, you can decide to either

• write a combined account of your subject positions, if you have similar life experiences (e.g. “Both researchers in this project are straight, cisgender Taiwanese women who…”); OR

• each write a statement, if you have very different life experiences (e.g. “James is a queer and non-binary settler of colour who…. Rachel is a first-generation immigrant of Scottish and Dutch descent who identifies as a cisgender lesbian, and…”).

For help with this, you should review Academic Writing, section 13E (pp. 305–311 in the print edition). In addition, you may find it useful to consider one transgender researcher’s advice to cisgender researchers:

Researcher/practitioner self-disclosure. Positionality disclosures provide needed context[…]. Specifically, […] I suggest that cis researchers […] should disclose that they are cis, and recognize that this affords them privilege and influences their work. My hope is that this will promote reflection and sensitivity to this issue, both in themselves and in the research community more broadly.1

Finally, below are some statements about positioning from two research articles. These may provide useful models and opportunities for you to reflect on your subject position, but do not copy them in whole or in part, simply inserting your own information. Rather, you and your partner (if you have one) should reflect on who you are and write your own statement.

As with all qualitative research, it was important to place myself within the context of this study (Merriam, 2009). I identify as a White, gay, cisgender man who has advocated alongside queer college students. In attempt to bracket (Creswell, 2007) my experience as an advocate for queer students and to accurately represent participant meanings and experiences, a colleague who is a Ph.D. candidate and familiar with qualitative analysis provided assistance with analysis through peer review. This peer review contributed to researcher reflexivity (Merriam, 2009) and was my attempt to bracket my positionality as a queer advocate by allowing the participant stories to arise naturally from the data (Creswell, 2007).

Pryor, J.T. (2015). Out in the Classroom: Transgender Student Experiences at a Large Public University. Journal of College Student Development 56(5) (2015), 444.

Qualitative research methods appreciate that the researcher’s identity and relationships with participants influence data collection and analysis. As such, it may be best for researchers “to own one’s positionality and attempt to account for it” rather than to force an air of detachment (Merriam and Tisdell, 2015). Therefore, I believe it is pertinent to disclose that I am a transgender woman and a member of the group of people whose experiences and values are the subject of this work. As such, I have strong opinions about the study topic and interview questions.

I have been personally affected by denials of insurance coverage for transition-related care, and lack the resources necessary to pursue formal voice training sessions with a speech therapist. Based on these experiences, I initiated the study with a specific technology solution in mind. I have been disappointed by currently available apps for voice training, as the few

1. Ahmed, A.A. (2018). Trans Competent Interaction Design: A Qualitative Study on Voice, Identity, and

Technology. Interacting with Computers 30(1), 67.

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that exist are highly priced and limited in functionality. Despite my inclination that this idea is worth pursuing, I recognize that my own perspective (as a relatively privileged trans woman working in academia) is limited. My goal was to explore this particular topic with other trans people through semi-structured interviewing. Other potential applications were not discussed at length with participants.

It is possible that my beliefs influenced the direction the conversations took and the thoughts that participants chose to share. Despite this, I gave precedence to the participants, who had strong opinions and important lived experiences of their own to share. My position may also have affected the data analysis and interpretation, in that I could have been drawn to feelings and values that I shared with participants, without giving equal weight to those that did not resonate with my experience.

Ahmed, A.A. (2018). Trans Competent Interaction Design: A Qualitative Study on Voice, Identity, and Technology. Interacting with Computers 30(1), 57-58.

  • Class Conference Presentation
    • To some degree, you need to determine a structure appropriate to your paper (particularly the body). Keep in mind that that we have encountered some structural diversity in the scholarship we’ve read. What sort of structure seems best suited to the ki…
    • If you wish, and it works for your topic, you may use the IMRD structure outlined in Section 13D (pp. 300–304 in the print edition) of Academic Writing.
    • If you have used open and axial coding to analyze your research sites, it may be helpful to organize the body of your paper by the themes you have identified, using the themes themselves as headers.

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