Research Paper Proposal
To prepare for your proposal, you will do some preliminary research using tools such as GVRL, Wikipedia, Google Advanced Search, and Shoreline Library s academic databases, and you will narrow down and solidify your research project. Remember that your topic needs to be inspired by a human rights or social justice concern (please also heed the off-limits topics request). It also needs to be quite narrow, so that your topic is both manageable and specific enough for a strong and effective 8-10 page paper.
After submitting your proposal, you will do two peer reviews on Canvas. The peer review assignment directions are here: Research Proposal Peer Review
For your first major assignment, write a research proposal that details your research topic, your research questions, and your research plan. Answer each question in as much detail as possible; be specific and precise in your answers:
What is your specific, narrow topic for your research project What is the particular angle you will take on this topic For example, if you choose to research homelessness, will you explore causes effects programs to address it homelessness in a particular geographical area amongst a particular group (women, war veterans, etc.) Be as specific and thorough as possible.
Why have you chosen this topic What intellectual, academic, and personal stake do you have in this topic
What are your research questions for this topic What specific questions will your research hope to answer Ask “how” and “why” questions that inspire complexity and depth for your topic, and that challenge your to analyze the topic, rather than just state information. (Avoid yes/no questions, or questions that can be easily answered with a piece of data or a statistic).
When searching in library catalogues and online databases, what keywords or key terms will you use in your search that you think will help you find the information you need List as many keywords as you can, separated by commas. Remember to list keywords or phrases, not full sentences.
Most of your research and writing will be done outside of class time. What plan do you have for getting your research and writing done this quarter Tell me how you will schedule 3-5 hours of research and writing per week.
What have you already found out about this topic through your preliminary research Be specific about the kinds of materials you ve already consulted and what you found out. Name at least two sources you ve consulted and read: name the title, author, and publication. Write out what new information you found out.
Write this proposal in numbered paragraphs, making sure to respond thoroughly to every single numbered question. Consult the rubric to see how each section of the proposal will be weighted.
*700-1000 words (2-3 double-spaced pages)
12-pt Times New Roman font
Heading, upper right-hand corner, single-spaced: Name, Date, Assignment Name
An interesting title!
Name your document: FirstName_Proposal
Please see the syllabus for this class s late and missing work policy
*If you are using an international or non-Microsoft version of Word, please check your word count.
Submit the proposal online, on our Canvas site. The assignment closes two weeks after the due date.
If the proposal is at a beginning stage, or doesn t meet requirements, I will ask that you revise and resubmit the proposal to ensure that you are on the right track for your project. If you receive a revise and resubmit request, you have one week to resubmit after receiving feedback.
Topic: The proposal states your research topic; the topic has a specific, narrow angle; it is not a broad, general topic. 20
Interest: The proposal states why you are interested in this topic. 10
Questions: The proposal clearly states your research questions that will help you find information on the topic. The questions are specific and not broad, general questions. 20
Keywords: The proposal lists search terms and keywords that you will use in your initial searches of databases. 20
Time Management: The paper describes a plan for getting research and writing done this quarter. It states how the writer will fit at least 15 hours of research and writing into their life. 10
Sources: The proposal states what you already know about the topic and the kinds of information you have already consulted. The proposal names at least two specific sources you ve consulted and what new information you’ve discovered. 15
Attention to detail:
proofread for spelling, grammar, and punctuation
correct formatting for assignment
correct capitalization and citation for names and texts
attention to detail: names, dates, titles, pronouns, places, etc
assignment is complete
assignment follows all directions 5
These are documents from instructors, make sure follow those:
First Steps: Choosing a Topic: Where to Start
On this page, you will learn about how to begin your research, and how research is a “cycle” rather than a straight line. Take notes in your notebook/journal as you learn about these skills.
Research is a cyclical process: it moves in a circle, rather than a straight line. As Caroline Conley (our librarian) has quipped: “You have to know a thing to find a thing” (or something of that nature). Reading and researching preliminary sources is a great way to map out the different pieces of your topic before getting down into the dirty work of finding credible and reliable sources.
Even if after preliminary research, you’ve narrowed down your research topic and picked your keywords, you (likely) won’t find the “Perfect Source.” That’s because research is also about making guesses — hypothesizing — about what exists about a topic, so you have to be open to the reality that:
your hypothesis may change as you read and get a sense of the existing research and its conclusions
your topic may shift focus as you figure out what people have researched and studied already
you may find that some things have not been written about yet: don’t despair! Just shift your questions
you may begin to be interested in other areas of your original topic, one’s you haven’t thought of before: give those other areas a chance and spend some time exploring them.
First, review the potential topics that you chose for your homework the other night. What changed or shifted since our class conversation about social justice and human rights In your notebook/journal, write out your ideas and list of potential topics.
Then, watch these two tutorials on “Choosing a Topic.” These tutorials will help you understand how to start brainstorming or how to refine your brainstorming if you already have a few topics in mind:
(1) Watch this video tutorial about choosing a topic published by the North Caroline State University Library (3 minutes and 10 seconds):
“Picking a Topic Is Research”
(2) Watch this second video tutorial about choosing a topic published by the North Caroline State University Library (2 minutes and 8 seconds):
“One Perfect Source”
Research is a form of storytelling, a form of knowledge creation, and a form of showing what really matters in the world. So what happens when the stories we tell are incomplete What happens when the knowledge we produce is only from the perspective of the dominant groups (the winners) of history, or based on misleading or not credible information What happens when what matters is decided by a small handful of people When happens when, in this process, many people remain unheard, silenced, or obscured from history
In this course, we will approach research not just as an important college skill, but also as a way of reclaiming lost or silenced voices of history. We will gain insight and inspiration from the foundation that social justice scholars have laid out for us and accordingly choose our own research questions to pursue. We will also become vigilant when false, misleading, or not credible information is passed off as “truth.”
In this course, your own research topic will be inspired by a social justice or human rights issue, such as the following list.
The list provides examples of topics to help you brainstorm. These are very broad topics, so use this list as a starting point and then brainstorm ways to narrow your focus. For example, if you are interested in Education, ask yourself: education for what age group in what area what time period federal policy or local curriculum etc etc etc.
Combining more than one broad topic together could also generate an interesting project. For example, a student could do a research project on the relationship between Environmental Justice and Indigenous Rights, perhaps inspired by Native American protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (Links to an external site.). Or, a student could pursue a project on the combination of Women’s Rights andPoverty, studying the intersections between class, race, and gender (Links to an external site.).
Arts (access, funding, etc)
Food & Housing Security
Gender & Sexuality Justice
Globalization & Global Capitalism
Healthcare & Social Services Access
Social Change & Social Protest
Women s Rights
Worker s Rights
****OFF LIMITS*** if one of these is your first choice, please choose something else so that I can remain sane this quarter and that you can learn something new and fascinating as well (win/win)
-gun rights/second amendment (however, policy brutality or gun violence is OK)
-abortion (however, reproductive rights is OK)