The Impact of Technology on Orchestra Performance

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The Impact of Technology on Orchestra Performance
One — when describing your topic area, do not say, “I want to prove….” Instead say, “I want to learn more about….” or “I want to explore ……” You are not writing an essay where you tell me everything you know about a topic or what you believe about an issue, you are answering a (research) question.

Two — beware words like “success” and “best.” They are very difficult to define and even harder to measure (“I want to determine the best NY theater community engagement program”). It can be done, but it requires a lot of work (and reading).

Three — the topic must be clearly defined and able to be completed within a few weeks (and within 10-12 pages). Below are good and bad examples.

Bad — “In this paper, I want to prove that the Joyce has the best approach to EDI of any theater in America.”

Good — “In this paper, I will compare the EDI policies of the Joyce and the Public theaters and determine if they are following the recommendations of “We see you White American Theater” for how to build an anti-racist theater system.”

Structure of the Paper:
Below is the most common way to write the final paper. You do not have to write it this way, but this approach seems to work well for most students.
Introduction – literature – examples/data – analysis – conclusion/recommendations
At the heart of the paper is what I call “the problem” – you need to identify an important challenge in the field and convince the reader that art administrators need to know more about it. In the introduction, define the issue you are exploring, why it is important to study now, and why it is important for arts administrators to be aware of this issue (answering the important “so what” question). Present some of the history of your issue, then discuss how it is changing and how and why it is affecting the performing arts world today by examining the writings of arts professionals and scholars (the literature).

Explore the websites of two to four arts organizations to discover what actions they have taken –or not taken — to address your issue (examples/data). Identify and comment on the strengths and weaknesses of their actions (analysis) by comparing the data you discover on their websites to accepted industry standards (found in the literature). Finish by writing a conclusion and/or suggesting a few recommendations for the organization(s) to pursue, if appropriate

Final Tips:
1) “Show your work” – tell the reader why you made the choices you did.
2) “Follow the breadcrumbs” – in your paper, each idea should logically connect to the next one (do not go off the path!).
3) Define your terms– beware of words like “best” and “successful” – they are vague and need to be defined and explained.
4) There are three levels of research – descriiption, explanation, prediction. Given the limited amount of time and resources you have, focus on descriiption.
5) My favorite phrase – “that line of questioning is beyond the scope of this paper.” The means you do not need to find an answer that answers a huge question all at once. Identify a 1) small (but important) question, that 2) other scholars have begun to discuss (literature), where 3) there is some information available (data) that you can easily access.

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