Research Proposal Assignment

The proposal is the first step in the process of working on your research project. Therefore, you need to start with a problem or issue that you feel invested in. To become more informed about this issue, you will want to do research on it. For the proposal you will be required to find at least 10 sources. As you make this decision, consider what you want to learn and what will be most persuasive to your audience.

After you have skimmed these texts, you will write a 750-1000 word proposal. In this proposal you will…

  • summarize what you have learned about the topics related to your problem or issue. This part of the paper should acknowledge all of the sources you have read.
  • explain your position on the problem or issue and what actions you would want other people to take in response to it. In this section, you should demonstrate how your position compares to or is informed by at least some of the sources you have read
  • describe how you are going to respond to your chosen problem or issue. You will have to think about:
    • the audience that needs to understand your position on this problem or issue
    • what type of text you think you should compose to reach this audience and to engage this audience


Your work will be evaluated based on how well you demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the problem or issue you have chosen
  • an academic or professional persona; this means you should adopt a professional tone and publish a well-edited paper
  • an understanding of the composing decisions that you made. Can you explain the decisions that you made for the proposal?
  • a reasonably detailed description of your future actions. Your audience should have a good sense of what you plan to do, but does not have to detail your plan down to every step.
  • appropriate use of conventions, including MLA, APA, or an appropriate citation formatting


Title of Project:
Give your project a working title, which may or may not become the title of your paper.


Statement of purpose:
Explain what you hope your research will find or show. State your question or series of questions before you begin 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.


Explain why this topic is worth considering, or this question or series of questions is worth answering. Answer the following questions: why are you selecting this topic? Who is your intended audience and what do you hope they will learn from it? What will this new knowledge add to the field of knowledge that already exists on this topic? What new perspective will you bring to the topic? What use might your final research project have for others in this field or in the general public?


Methodology: Describe the kind of research you will conduct to complete this project (library research, internet research, interviews, observations, ethnographies, etc.) If you will consult others (such as a statistician, an ethnographer, or a librarian) explain what role they will serve and how you hope they will enhance your development of an appropriate methodology for this project. Discuss the kinds of sources you hope to consult and the methods you will use to extract and process the information you gather in as much detail as is possible at this stage.


Bibliography: Make a list of texts you plan to consult. At this point find at least 10 sources. Many sources initially seem relevant, but turn out not to be, so it is always better to list all sources that might be of interest. As you eliminate sources, cross them off of this list. Mark sources that are particularly useful, and add new sources as you come across them. This will enable you to make a Works Cited list at the end of your project (i.e.: a list of only the works you have summarized, paraphrased, or quoted from in the paper.)


Project Schedule: Make a list of the steps you will need to complete the project. See the “Guidelines for Managing a Research Project”

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