For this activity students are asked to imagine that they are organizing a party, specifically a scholarly party. Groups are given a starting article that they evaluate and use as a jumping off point for choosing a theme for their party and finding more sources. Their theme acts as an early version of a research question. Following citations backwards and forwards groups invite other scholars who would have relevant things to say about their theme.
This assignment is designed to help students develop a thoughtful research topic. Students go through a series of steps, questions, and background reading to help them better understand and refine a research topic.