The purpose of the Research Proposal assignment is to inform and persuade me, the instructor, of the viability of your topic and plans for the Research Paper assignment later in the semester (Unit 2). To do so, your research proposal should include the following:
- Identification and discussion of your proposed topic: This section will function as your proposal’s introduction paragraph. It should include the larger context of your topic, as well as your narrowed focus for your paper. The identification of your narrowed focus will be your thesis statement for this proposal.
- Interest in the topic: This paragraph should discuss your personal interest in and connection to your topic. It might be that the topic is related to your major or career, your current job, a current issue, or some other interest that you have.
- Current knowledge about the topic: This paragraph should explain what you already know (or believe you know) about your topic and why it is important. What you already know might come from personal experience, what you have seen or heard through social media or some other outlet, what others have told you, what you have learned in classes, or even previous research you have done. Your goal here is not to include specific source information that would require documentation (something you will need to do in the research paper itself).
- Tentative thesis statement and proposed content/organization: In this paragraph, you should include an early version of your actual research paper thesis statement—the overall point that you believe your research paper will make. You should view this tentative thesis as a hypothesis, subject to change, depending on your research and continued thinking about your topic. The rest of this paragraph should include either a description or an actual outline of major points you believe you will cover in your research paper.
- Research questions: This paragraph should include questions you believe you will need to answer through your research into your topic. While this paragraph should include a topic sentence (as all the body paragraphs should), the support (the research questions) may be in list format (though a list format is not required).
- Conclusion: This paragraph will include any questions or concerns you have about your topic and plans for the research paper, including any alternate ideas or “Plan B” topics you might be considering.
Though your proposal is not a typical essay, it should still follow basic essay form, with an introduction/thesis, body paragraphs that include topic sentences, and a concluding paragraph.
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