Preliminary Analysis

In your preliminary analysis you will investigate the broader context of the social movement you’ve chosen for study. This will require some research and a lot of thinking. It will include the following components:

A social movement summary – 350-400 words

Where is this movement emerging and at what scale or level? Is it growing, stable, happening in waves, or waning in size? Why has it occurred? What has happened that prevents most people from living their normal lives? Are there service agencies attempting to address this problem? Why have them been ineffective? 

An analysis of the movement’s type and tactics – 250-300 words

Do you see this movement as fundamental reform (advocating for incremental changes in the current system), revolutionary (seeking to restructure social or economic foundations), or conservative (working to preserve existing social order against change, or returning to an earlier social structure)? What tactics* does it employ? How do those tactics align with the movement’s type?

*Tactics of protest can include a range of methods of both active and passive non-compliance, and for our purposes will need to involve some level of social disruption to scale (i.e. one person holding a sign on a street corner will not be sufficient for this project). For a great list of nonviolent and noncompliance tactics see methods of nonviolent intervention from the Albert Einstein Institute

A summary of the movement’s stakeholders – 400-500 words

Stakeholders in any protest are broad! Consider the runaway bunny from week 1. When he runs away, he is a stakeholder in his own freedom. His mother is also a stakeholder. She both cares for his wellbeing and sees her power threatened when he runs away. If his method of protesting her power is disruptive to others. If the runaway bunny sails away in a ship, his flight might be disruptive to other boats. Similarly, when his mother responds as the wind, her response is disruptive to many who are affected by weather—boats and fish alike. The same is true for social movements, where fights to redistribute power affect many, including those who do not stand to lose or gain from the target issues in the fight.

A list of tentative inquiry questions – 100-200 words (apx)

Now that you know everything that you’ve learned, what questions would you like to explore as part of a broarder research project inspired by this social movement? Try out a few questions dedicated to different areas of inquiry within the project. Will the movement’s tactics be effective? What would progress look like on this issue? Who should intervene? These questions are a good launch pad, but your own inquiry questions will need to be much more concrete and rooted in your own topic.


This assignment is worth 20% of your grade for this class (20 points out of our class’s total 100), with each sub-section of this assignment worth 5 points.

Our sample assignment is now live in Dr. Reed’s sample folder (above under “syllabus and assignments”).