Unit 3: Research Proposal
Worth: 15% of your overall grade
Document Type: Microsoft Word (*.doc or *.docx) or Rich Text Format (*.rtf)
File Name: Last Name First Name – Unit x – day month year.doc
Example: Woleslagle Julie – Unit 3 – 7 October 2018.doc
Readings: See Chapters 5 and 17-19 in Business and Professional Writing: A Basic Guide for Americans
Task: In the Research Proposal, you will present what you plan to write for your research paper. You may choose the topic for your research paper, but you must choose a topic that is of current interest within your field. Additionally, students who are earning a degree within the School of Business are required to incorporate some aspect or discussion of diversity into their paper topic.
Format, Genre: Memo, Proposal (see examples on pages 292-296 but use headings listed below)
Audience: Your audience should be a professional audience within your field of study.
Length: 3-4 pages single spaced
Research projects, reports, and papers generally begin with a proposal to do research. The proposal serves several purposes: as a planning document for the writer as a decision making tool for the audience (instructor, employer, thesis committee, book publisher, etc.) who decides if the project and its plan are feasible and the resulting document (s) will make a significant contribution to the company or field of study.
Use the headings below to structure your proposal. Follow the guidelines beneath each section to help you decide what information to include under each section.
Introduction: Begin with a brief paragraph that explains your subject and purpose of your research paper. Be concise but clear. Be sure that you have narrowed your topic to one that is manageable in 5-6 pages (double spaced). Your research paper will be written for readers who want a well-documented, thorough discussion of a subject.
Background: This section sets up the background of the problem, situation, or topic that you have chosen to research. This section is important because here you give me any background information on the subject I might need to understand your reason for researching this topic. You also explain why the topic is important, both in general and within your field of study. You tell what the current thinking is, why it is a current topic of discussion within your field, why your audience should be interested in your research, and how they will use the information. You will probably come up with other information that might be necessary for me to know. Also in this section, you begin to prove your credibility as a researcher to me, so you must provide researched and documented material in this section.
Consider answering some of the following questions as you prepare this section: Why is the topic important to your field of study? How long has it been a problem? What will happen if the problem/situation is not solved/dealt with? What do you expect the audience to do after reading your paper? What background information does the research paper audience need in order to understand the information in your paper?
Ultimately, this section should present the background needed for me to see that the paper has value or relevance to your discipline or profession.
Note: This section should consist of at least three well-developed paragraphs.
Audience: Identify the primary audience for your paper. Your audience should be a professional audience and will most likely be within your field. It cannot be a general audience. (For example, ‘teachers’ is too general an audience and would not be approved. A more specific audience might be UHV students in the field of education working toward elementary school certification or elementary school teachers within Victoria Independent School District who received certification within the last three years.)
Describe how much your audience already knows about your topic. Explain the major priorities and concerns of this audience. Analyze their attitudes toward you and your topic and explain how you will overcome any negative attitudes they may have. Describe their reason(s) for reading your paper and explain how you plan for them to use the information in the paper.
Note: You do not need to identify every type of audience that the text describes. Focus on the primary audience in your discussion.
Topics to Investigate: Identify the main ideas or major topic areas of your paper. Then list the major questions that you want your research paper to answer for your readers. Basically, you are providing a rough outline for the body of your research paper. Indicate how deeply you will discuss each topic. Explain the scope of your study: what areas of the subject will you cover; what areas will you not cover and why you have made those choices. Think primarily of your audience's needs as you work through this section.
Methods: In this section, tell me how you plan to do the research in this section. Include specific information about where you will research and what kinds of sources you will use (journals, databases, Internet sources, etc.). You may use a variety of sources, but they must all be scholarly. You must include a working bibliography listed in alphabetical order of at least 5 sources you have already read and plan to use in your research paper, at least 3 of these sources must be scholarly journal articles. You also must include any sources you have cited in the background section of the proposal in this bibliography. Please include a short (one to two sentence) annotation of each source that describes its usefulness to your paper.
You may include one Internet source and must demonstrate its reliability and authority. (This does not include databases or journals that are on the Internet, but also exist in hardcopy somewhere. This only limits sources that can only be found on the Internet.)
I will be checking the proposal to ensure that your sources are varied, scholarly, and current.
Finally, use APA (all majors but history and English) or MLA (history and English majors) format for your reference entries.
Qualifications: Provide any background knowledge you have in this area, including personal reading you've done, classroom work/study, and work, jobs, or other activities that demonstrate your interest and ability level. Also, you may mention any previous research you've done on this or a related topic and how you are personally affected by this topic.
Note: Don't use the list format. Write a paragraph about your qualifications.
Work Schedule: This section should begin with a short discussion of the work schedule you will use to complete your research paper, highlighting any points of interest in the work schedule. Next, list the major tasks needed to complete this project and the corresponding dates. You don't need to estimate hours. Don't underestimate the importance of this section. This section is where you show me your plan for completing the project in a timely manner. In addition to the tasks that you devise, include when you will make copies of your sources to turn in with the final version of your paper.
Request for Approval: Here you ask for my permission and for suggestions. The request for approval is usually formulaic. Feel free to use or adapt the following sentence:
I ask that you approve my topic and my approach to it. I would appreciate suggestions on how you think I might best proceed.