PDF version of this assignment.

Final Project Site: http://lindsaythomas.net/engl4590-project/

Another student project like ours: http://english197s2015studentwork.pbworks.com/w/page/96659751/Our%20Project

Due Dates

  • Class Final Project, including your Project Log: Friday, April 22 by 10 pm
  • Individual Digital Methods Essay: Tuesday, April 26 by 10 pm via Blackboard
  • There will be other due dates along the way corresponding to various stages of the project that we will decide on as a class.


The final project in this course is an experiment in collaborative work. We’re going to use the digital methods we’ve been experimenting with all semester to collect and analyze our own literary corpus. A tentative working plan is as follows, with more detailed working plans and tasks to follow as we develop them:

  • The class will collect and/or create a digital corpus for a particular kind or period of literature.
  • Several teams will then be formed in the class, and each team will be charged with particular tasks and with using specific digital methods to study the corpus.
  • The teams will then integrate the results of their approaches in a single project site (created using WordPress) showcasing the class project and its interpretive conclusions.

You will create several “deliverables” throughout this process: you will help to collect and/or create a digital corpus; you will analyze digital tools and methods to analyze that corpus and then help to write up the results on the project site; you will keep a log of the individual contributions you make to the class project; and you will write an essay reflecting on the final project and on role of digital methods in literary studies.

We will all be collaborating together on this project. As the class instructor, my role will be to facilitate the project and to help you out. I will help with class brainstorming about and discussion of the project goals; help divide the class into working teams; coordinate the work of our various teams; help teams and/or the class as a whole to decide on due dates for various parts of the project and therefore help keep everyone on task; and of course help teams and students individually with digital tools and methods.

Details & Requirements

There are three parts to this assignment:

(1) Class Project: This will involve, as outlined above, collecting/creating a digital corpus, analyzing that corpus using digital methods, and then writing up your results on our class project site. While it’s difficult to say right now what exactly the project itself will involve because we will be deciding on that as a class as we develop it, I expect each of you to contribute equally to the class project. You should expect to devote a significant amount of time to the class project during the final month of the semester.

The class project site is due by 10 pm on Friday, April 22.

(2) Project Log: You will use this log to record the individual contributions you make to the class project. You should think of this log as a record of the tasks you have completed to help create our project. Every time you work on something related to the class project – apart from the time you spend working on the project in class – you should create an entry detailing that work in your project log, keeping track of your work as you go. Here’s a sample of what I mean:

  • Friday, April 1: Collected x works for corpus. Filled out corresponding entries in     metadata table.
  • Saturday, April 2: Collected y works for corpus. Filled out corresponding entries in metadata table. 
  • Tuesday, April 12: Met with team and we divided up tasks. I volunteered to help scrub and segment the corpus. Used Lexos’s “scrub” and “cut” features to remove stop words and segment the text into 1,000-word chunks.
  • Thursday, April 21: Edited and finalized our team’s page on our project site. Uploaded screenshots detailing our text analysis work to the project site.

You should also include a “Notes” section at the end of your log that contains any information about your individual and/or team contributions that you think I should know when I evaluate the class project. For example, although I don’t expect this to happen, this would be the place where you might let me know about any unresolved problems within your team that led to imbalances in workload, if any should occur.

You will submit this project log to me via email by 10 pm on Friday, April 22.

(3) Digital Methods Essay: A critical reflection on a specific finding or findings from the class project (a discovery, feature, phenomenon that the project reveals) that you interpret in the context of the place, value, or function of digital methods in literary studies more generally. The essay should not be just a “report” on or “description” of the class project, but rather a reflection or analysis of some finding from the project, and how this finding relates to digital methods in literary studies.

This paper should be 4-5 double-spaced pages (1400-1800 words) long (MLA or Chicago citations/format), and you should incorporate at least 2 course readings into your essay. As with any essay, this essay should have a central point that you should support using specific evidence. This essay is not very long, but its scope and depth of thought should reflect the culmination of your learning about digital methods this semester.

The digital methods paper is due by 10 pm on Tuesday, April 26 via Blackboard.


The final project is worth 45% of your grade in this course. This value is broken down into two parts: the digital methods essay is worth 20% of your total course grade, and the class project is worth 25% of your total course grade.

I will evaluate your essay, as I have done for your close reading paper and your key project analysis, on the specificity, scope, and effectiveness of your analysis. Do you make compelling and original points about the final project and/or about digital methods? Does the scope of your essay reflect the culmination of your learning about digital methods throughout the entire semester? Do you incorporate course readings effectively into your essay? Is your essay organized effectively?

I will evaluate the class project on the scope and extent of the digital methods employed and on the specificity, scope, and effectiveness of the class project site. How have you and your team utilized specific digital methods, and to what ends? Do you communicate your results in a compelling and effective way on the class project site? Although this is a collaborative project, the fact remains that I need to assign each of you an individual grade. Therefore, not everyone in the class may receive the same grade for the final project: I will evaluate each team’s work separately, and I will also take your individual project logs into account when assigning grades.


  • You should organize your essay around one central idea, as opposed to providing a list of claims and observations. Remain aware of the need to make specific claims rather than vague generalizations.

  • Your project log will be very important to how I grade your contributions to the final project. Therefore, you should fill this log out as you work on the final project throughout the last month of the semester, NOT at the end right before it’s due (which will be much harder to do accurately).

Digital Methods/Tools

Text encoding:

Text analysis:

Topic Modeling:

Social network analysis

Data visualization