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Research Proposal

The most important purpose of this proposal is that it helps you to consider and plan thoroughly the research project you are about to undertake. Research proposals are effective starters to discuss projects with your professors. A professor who is initially skeptical about a project will be able to imagine it more easily after reading a solid research proposal. Once you have begun your research project, a research proposal can help you remain on trackalso reminding you why you started this project in the first place! Researchers often begin to lose heart about 2/3 of the way into a project when their research hits a snag or when they are having problems maintaining a thesis, organizing their ideas, or actually starting to write. Rereading the initial research proposal, especially Significance can re-energize the project or help the researcher to refocus in an effective manner. Also, the timeline will help you to pace yourself Format Use standard MLA format, double spacing the entire document, using MLA style citations, and employing the following headings in MLA style (level 1 is centered and bold, level 2 is left and boldnote the 2 headings above). Below is a list of all of the sections you should have in your proposal along with a brief explanation. These are the headings that you should use in the paper. Purpose. Explain what you hope your research will find or show. State your primary question that will drive your research. After you have conducted significant research you should be able to answer your question(s) in one or two sentences, which may become the thesis of the final paper. Use research in the form of summary, paraphrase, and quotation with MLA citations to help you develop this section. Significance. Explain why this question is worth considering. In one to two paragraphs, answer the following questions: a. How does this topic relate to your major? What do you hope to learn from it? b. What will this new knowledge add to what is already known about this topic? c. What would someone do with this knowledge after they read your research report? Background. In a brief paragraph, explain why you are interested in your topic, what you already know about this topic, and how you have come to this knowledge. Also include any course work you have done that will prove helpful. Will Methods. In a brief paragraph, explain how you will conduct your research. Discuss at least three different types of sources you plan to consult (scholarly journals, newspapers, books, interviews, surveys). Show how each type will add to your research and why it is a credible type of source for your research. Be sure to mention at least a few specific names of sources. Problems. In a brief paragraph, explain how you will solve potential problems such as not having access to a specific article or not finding the data you expected. For example, texts might be unavailable, necessitating travel to other libraries or use of inter-library loan facilities; people you had hoped to interview might be unavailable or unwilling to participate, necessitating that you select other interviewees or change the focus; Internet sites might be down or no longer available, etc. Try to imagine every possible problem so that you have contingency plans and the project does not become derailed. Outline. Develop a question outline, explaining the questions that you will explore in your research See below for a detailed explanation of this outline (see additional help below). Try to form at least 3 main lines of argument and subdivide them. Timeline. Copy the timeline from below from I-Learn and paste it into your document in the proper order. Then assign dates to the various steps. Some dates will come from our course calendar; however, you will need to decide other dates based on your own work schedule. Annotated Works Cited. Building from the sources you found through your preliminary research, put together a list of at least 10 sources that you plan to consult for your project. Create an MLA works cited entry for each source (be sure to follow MLA style from your book EXACTLY). Directly beneath this reference entry, in three or four sentences summarize the source and explain how you think it will help in your research. Webpages and interviews are not part of this list. When we move on to the research paper, however, you can use the credible webpages. Some Additional Help with the Outline and Timeline The Outline Many people gulp at writing 10-15 pages. When people focus on writing a 10-15 page paper, the result is a cut and paste approach, randomly putting together sources that relate to the broad topic but have little structure beyond that. Successful writers identify the smaller questions that will lead to the big question. Instead of writing 10-15 pages, the writer proves the answer to the first question, which may take 2-3 pages. The writer then proves the answer to the next question, taking 3-4 pages, and so on. You will need the following categories of questions in your proposals outline.

1. Overarching QuestionIntroduce the issue at question and briefly explain why readers might need the answer to this question. 2. Background QuestionsWhat background will your readers need to help them understand your argument: key definitions, historical background, and previous research? 3. Lines of ArgumentWhat reasons (categories of questions) do you need to explore to help you answer the overarching question? What types of questions will help you answer these reason questions? 4. Opposing View: Concessions and RefutationHow might others challenge the answers you are finding. What questions would they ask? 5. ConclusionSo what? Why is it significant that you now have the answers to all these questions?
Outline Example 1. Overarching Question: How does the resurgence of western films relate to and reflect the post 9/11 tensions in the United States? I. Background Questions a. Is there a resurgence of western films since 9/11? b. What were concerns, values, and beliefs in U.S. before 9/11? c. How have they changed since 9/11? II. Lines of Argument: a. How do western films post 9/11 compare to western films of the 90s? i. How do these films differ in characterizing the individual and the community? ii. How do they differ in theme? iii. How do they differ in conflict (are the conflicts community to community or individual to individual)? b. How do post 9/11 western films reflect post 9/11 values in U.S.? i. What characters in these films reflect these values? ii. What conflicts in these films reflect these values? iii. What do movie makers say about their films values? III. Opposing View: a. What might be some other reasons for the resurgence of these westerns? b. What if there is not a resurgence? How will that affect my argument? c. Do we make unwarranted assumptions about media trends based upon 9/11? IV. Conclusion: a. Why is it important to realize that western films reflect U.S. values? i. How might these films comfort viewers? ii. How might these films release stress or fear or promote better values? b. Why is it important to realize that western films reflect U.S. values? Outline Example 2. Overarching Question: Should the certification process for becoming a guidance counselor be changed? I. Background Questions: a. When and why did the field of G.C. begin? b. How has the certification process for G.C. changed since it began? II. Lines of Argument: a. What is the relationship between certification and the duties of the guidance counselor? i. What are the different duties of a guidance counselor? ii. Are there different levels/categories of guidance counselor? iii. How does a guidance counselor differ from a school therapist? iv. What roles of the guidance counselor are not sensitive (could harm a student)? b. How does the certification process protect the counselor? The school? i. What if there was no such thing as G.C. certification? ii. How does guidance counseling fit into the students school experience? c. How does the current certification process not meet the needs outlined in a) and b)? III. Opposing View: a. How is current certification processes meeting the needs of the school, students, and counselors? b. Why do we tend to assume that there is a problem with the current status? IV. Conclusion: a. What will/might happen if the certification process is not changed? b. What if it does not change? c. What are the broader implications for society?

The Schedule This table outlines the process for completing a research paper. Please copy the following table into your proposal and either check off the task as done or list the date you will complete it. The research paper is due at the end of the semester.

TIMELINE SCHEDULED TASK PLANNING AND RESEARCHING Determine possible topics, issue questions, controversies, and arguments in your major area Freewrite, brainstorm, list, outline, map etc. (do this when necessary throughout the project) Read background information on topic as you work on Basic Research Strategies Narrow and redirect issue question as necessary Gather books & periodical articles Find useful, credible web sites Order additional materials via interlibrary loan Read, annotate, and evaluate all materials carefully Select annotated passages from sources that answer your questions DRAFTING Write proposal Write outline Plan the timeline for the project Compile rough bibliography Workshop proposal, outline, & schedule Determine answers to research questions and quotes to incorporate Submit final proposal Evaluate your underlying assumptions Identify and define key terms in order to avoid ambiguitydictionary style, example, description Decide on brief quotes to include (generally no more than 1 or 2 per paragraph and avoid block quotes) Determine portions to paraphrase/summarize (this will make up most of your research) Update reference entries Draft introduction Draft Section 1 Draft Section 2 Draft rest of body Draft conclusion REVISING, & PROOFREADING Compile individual sections into single paper Revise for content (completeness/logic) Revise for style (conciseness/diction) Revise technically (grammar/spelling/punctuation) Check parenthetical references and compare to reference page Polish references and MLA format Print near final draft w/ title page, table of contents, and headings Proofread carefully Get two peer reviews of entire paper Additional revising/editing, reviews Submit for grading

DATE Always Always