Research Proposal Assignment
What is a Research Proposal?
A research proposal is exactly what it sounds like: a proposal to do research. The purpose of research is to answer a question. You will eventually write a “research essay” to answer a question. Your research and writing goal for the class will be to develop a thesis (or “claim”) and an argument to support the thesis that answers one of the questions below.
1. Is breaking the law justified for the purpose of demonstrating a political or moral position?
2. Should colleges have rules regarding speech that govern what can and cannot be said on the real (and virtual) campus? (Blackboard and the college Facebook page are examples of “virtual” campuses.)
3. Should the government (local, state, or federal) pass laws regulating pornography?
Why Write a Research Proposal?
The path leading up to writing the research essay has two earlier stages, starting with a proposal and moving on to an annotated bibliography, both as preparation for writing the essay. That sequence of assignments will take us to the conclusion of the semester. The research proposal’s purpose is to convince yourself and your readers that you have a basic understanding of the question, that you already have some ideas for answering it, that you understand the 3-stage research project’s goals and requirements, and that you have a plan for how you will accomplish the goals. For the proposal, you will also do some preliminary research.
What Has to be Included in a Research Proposal?
The research proposal has to be comprised of three components: Project Description, Preliminary Research, and Work Schedule.
I. Project Description.* In this section, you…
· Identify the general question you have chosen to work with.
· Present your working thesis statement in response to the question and your working reasons for holding that position. I use the term “working” thesis and working reasons because they can change as the process goes forward and you learn more about the topic.
· Discuss the significance of your question by explaining why your question should matter. Think of it as answering these kinds of questions: So what? Who cares? Why is this important?
· Explain possible positions on the question that do not agree with your position? What might the reasons be for those other positions?
· Think about and discuss the imagined audience for the essay you will end up writing: Who will the readers be? How much about the topic do you imagine they already know?
*Use Project Description as your heading for this section.
II. Preliminary research.* In this section, you…
Provide an overview of information you find from doing a web search on the topic. Though you may not end up using any of the sites that turn up, you can quickly put your finger on the pulse of common views on the issue by scanning the first page or two of results to see what issues are getting the most attention. Type different search terms into search boxes to see how well each one works for finding relevant information. Summarize what you find out.
· Provide an overview of information you find from doing a database search on the topic. Go to the link in Web Links for the Research Guide page on the library website for “Prof. Zaluda.” Click on the “database searching” tab. You can start with the library database called Academic Search Complete. Type different search terms into search boxes to see how well each one works for finding relevant information. Summarize what you find out.
· List what you found to be the most productive search terms.
*Use Preliminary Research as your heading for this section.
III. Work schedule.* In this section, you…
· Familiarize yourself with the work ahead by reading the assignment schedule. Make a timeline in which you identify important steps (for example, gathering sources, reading sources, composing drafts, revising) and, for each step, identify and list a completion date. In other words, create a detailed schedule so that you can manage the process of completing the assignment. As you plan, be sure to account for other demands on your time, including other classes, work, and family obligations.
*Use Work Schedule as your heading for this section.
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Read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness then read these two critiques: Achebe: Image of Africa – you can find it here http://internet.savannah.chatham.k12.ga.us/schools/wfhs/faculty/Bir/Shared%20Documents/Heart%20of%20Darkness%20Stuff/An%20Image%20of%20Africa.pdf and then read Edward Said’s Two Visions of Heart of Darkness – you can find it here http://internet.savannah.chatham.k12.ga.us/schools/wfhs/faculty/Bir/Shared%20Documents/Heart%20of%20Darkness%20Stuff/Two%20Visions%20in%20HOD.pdf Then, you need to be able (as preparation for the paper, not necessarily IN your paper) to IN ONE SENTENCE for each author, summarize Marlow’s, Achebe’s, and Said’s arguments. Next, you need to develop your OWN argument about the intersection of racism, colonialism, and imperialism using those sources. You will then write a 2 1/2 paged paper using ONLY those three sources to prove your argument/thesis statement. DO NOT use a bunch of quotes in full…if you absolutely must use a quote and you can’t restrain yourself, please only use PARTS of the long sentence, not the whole sentence. And provide parenthetical source citation. I have also attached a “Writing Tips” guide that I will use to help grade your papers. I have numbered each tip (they are in random order, but are the comments I have made on papers in full — I will just write. 1. 2, etc).