Choosing a topic for a formal research project is an important first step of the scholarly research process. While you are free to choose any subject, you must do so within the constraints of using academic and scholarly texts as your research sources. You will use these sources to inform and support your ideas. Please note that you will be writing about this topic in Assessments 4 and 5 also. You can identify a topic by thinking about what you are interested in and then conducting preliminary research. What are the current questions, problems, issues, or debates related to that issue? Once you have identified a topic, you will need to narrow your focus to a specific research question. You will do this by identifying issues, questions, and problems in the existing academic and scholarly sources and thinking critically about a focus that interests you. It is especially important to consider the significance (to you or other readers) and multiple perspectives of the inquiry you plan to research. After you have narrowed your topic to a specific inquiry, you are ready to draft your formal research proposal. A research proposal is a brief, formal document that identifies and outlines the main components of your research: it describes the context, varying perspectives or points of view, and potential evidence to support your developing argument. This proposal should demonstrate that you are able to identify a specific topic and research inquiry, explore the perspectives of those invested in and discussing that topic, determine whether or not you can find sufficient research data to develop an argument about the topic, and begin to organize your research plans and rhetorical approach to developing a position. Your research proposal should be two or three pages in length and be formatted in a recognized documentation style. Your proposal should also include the following components: Your current topic, issue, and research question. Why is this specific topic, issue, or question worth researching? Explain why learning more about this topic is personally important for you and why others might be interested in it. A working, tentative thesis. Explain a preliminary answer to the question you are developing (or if you are undecided so far, why) and what you already knew about the topic before you started researching. This answer or position may change as you continue your research. A review of preliminary research findings. In what ways is your issue complicated or controversial? What various perspectives exist on the issue? Does your preliminary research indicate there is sufficient information to explore this issue? An explanation of how you will continue your research. What kinds of research do you plan to do to explore this question? What types of sources do you think would be best in addressing the conversation and developing the different components of your argument? Do you need scientific research or scholarly data to answer your question? Do you need to do both primary and secondary research to represent the range of viewpoints and evidence in your argument? A list of key challenges you anticipate. What difficulties might you face in finding information or answering your question? A list of sources you have consulted. Following a recognized, formal documentation style, incorporate a bibliography of works you have consulted so far in your research process.