DUE: Bring a hard copy to class on Monday, 10/29
What’s this about?
This assignment is designed to get you to focus your research by asking you to move beyond the research conversation surrounding your topic as you begin to articulate a tentative thesis; it also introduces you to the genre of proposal writing.
But what is a research proposal exactly?
Research proposals are used in a wide variety of disciplines and professions as a means of developing agendas for research projects, securing funds for a study, publicizing plans for field research, and testing the interest of potential audience in a given project. In the proposal itself, you will explain your interest in your chosen field and establish a set of questions to guide your inquiry. This would be a great time to begin re-thinking your broader introductory strategy.
What does it look like?
Your research proposal should be one page, single-spaced. Aside from that, the proposals should conform to the rules for submitted work. Be sure that your proposal is polished and complete.
What goes in it?
Use the bullet points below to help structure your proposal:
- Come up with an intriguing title for your research proposal. This may be the title that sticks for your final Research-Based Argument (RBA).
- Craft an effective introduction to engage the audience’s interest. The old TIC intro will likely no longer suffice. You need to set the stage not not only for the conversation, but for your argumentative extension of that conversation.
- Offer some background on your topic: this is essentially a condensed version of your TIC (with the likely substitution of a few sources that will signal your more focused topic / argument), or an extended version of your conversational thesis. You don’t need to name names, but there should be a very clear sense of the general contours of the conversation. Remember: the purpose of the conversation is to establishes a firm foundation for your unique argument.
- Formulate a tentative—but pointed and specific—hypothesis. This will greatly help you in terms of time management and the navigation of your sources. A tentative hypothesis–a preview of what you might hope to argue–will be a tool you use to direct your research. This malleable hypothesis will help you ask yourself the right questions at each stage of the composition process. Be ready to change and mold your thesis as you research and think more deeply about your topic. Also, make sure you thoughtfully transition between the conversation (what “they say”) and your own argument (what “you say”). We will focus more on this skill in the coming weeks, but this is your first chance to beging to carefully articulate how you plan to extend, apply, or otherwise engage your chosen research topic and the conversation surrounding it.
- Delineate the methods you will use or have begun to use to conduct your new round of research: depending on your project, this might involve—in addition to further library research for scholarly sources—interviewing doctors and university administrators, reading novels and poems, watching TV, listening to music. Try to be as specific as possible in terms of the research you need to accomplish over the coming weeks.
- At the end of your proposal, articulate the purpose or goal of this research. Why are you researching this particular topic? Why do you feel compelled to study this topic further? Whom do you hope to persuade? What is the significance of this work? If you can’t generate a sense of urgency or importance or interest in your topic, things won’t come together effectively. Remember: your peers and I will be evaluating the proposal for its merit, feasibility, specificity, and composition (is it well-written?).
Clearly, this assignment invites you to use the “I.” Feel free to say things such as “In my essay, I will argue/explore…” or “The sources that will be most important to my argument include….”