Writing 123 - Cora Agatucci
English Composition [Research-Based Academic Writing]

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Example Proposals

Example Student Research Proposals
Topic: Japanese-American Internment during World War II
(Spring 1999)
More Examples:  Lucy Burrows
(Spring 2002) | Natalie Lauderdale (Spring 2002)
See also Research Proposal Directions & Evaluation Checklist


[Name withheld by student request]
WR 123, Prof. C. Agatucci
Research Proposal
13 April 1999


I. Research Topic, Projected Value, Documentation Style

A. The research topic I have chosen is the Japanese-American internment in concentration camps during World War II. I am currently taking a United States History class with Nancy Zens, and a research paper is required for that class. The only requirement for paper is that its topic is in the era between the Civil War and 1980. I have chosen to write about the Japanese-American internment, which occurred in the 1940s, because it interests me. In ninth grade I was in a humanities literature class and we read a work by a woman who was in a concentration camp as a young girl in California. I was ultimately shocked that the United States could do such a thing - I was also upset that in all of the nine years I had been in school I had heard NOTHING about it - as if it was on its way to removal from United States history.  So, I did a small research paper on the internment my junior year in high school. I feel it is very important for all Americans to know about what our "free" country did and why it was done. I think there is no reason at all to forget about this tremendous mistake our country made. I am sure that there are many people who have never heard about the Japanese-Americans' internment, and it is valuable and important to know about it and learn from it. I hope to learn more about why and how a free country DID in fact imprison people - and why it did so while trying to stop another country (Germany) from interning people in concentration camps (as well as for doing other things).

B. This topic is appropriate for Writing 123 because it is informative to me and my readers. I have previously researched about this topic, but I would like to perform more in-depth, quality, college-level research and learn more about the complete situation. I feel that this will be a challenge and I will learn a wealth of information. Also, there is a wealth of information for and against the Japanese-American internment. Therefore, I can do an in-depth research of the topic using many kinds of sources, and draw logical conclusions as well as fulfill the requirements satisfactorily for this course.

C. The documentation system I have chosen is Chicago-Humanities. My topic's subject matter is history, and historical research papers are usually written with Chicago-Humanities documentation system. I have never used this system, and so I look forward to learning and applying this style. Nancy Zens was not particular as to which system to use.

II. Leading Research Question and Hypothesis

A. The leading research Question that I propose to pursue is: "Was Japanese-American internment during World War II right? Ethical? Justifiable? Was it the correct solution to the problem?"

B. My working hypothesis (I propose) is that the Japanese-American internment during World War II was a result of bad decisions based upon prejudices and was a major mistake for the United States - it accomplished nothing.

III. Research Strategy

A. What do I need to find out through research?


Why did the internment happen?


What drove the government to go that far?


Why were Japanese-Americans the only ones interned? Why weren't other "enemy races" interned?


What led to their freedom from camps?


Has the heavy discrimination stopped? If heavy discrimination against Japanese-Americans has stopped, when did it stop?


Have the former prisoners been reimbursed, apologized to, etc. for what happened to them?


What were conditions like before, during, and after internment?


Why have we as a country tried to hide or forget about what happened?

B. How/where to find information: After looking in Infotrac 2000 and the library catalog, I have come up with some search terms. They are as follows:


Japanese-American internment during WW II


War relocation center


World War 1939-1945 Japanese Americans


World War II internment


United States concentration camps


Pearl Harbor

Key answers/ideas gained on topic: I know that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor led to a panic against all of the Japanese race - many thought Japanese-Americans were spies, and thus did not trust them. The "only" solution was to put ALL Japanese-Americans in camps, considering every single person of the Japanese race a suspect. There was not much research or inquiry pertaining to whether or not they were truly spies, and they were not given a chance to speak up or try to prove their innocence.

The types of primary sources that I plan on using are magazines, journals, books, and videos. I have found some magazines and journals  that give personal accounts of what the Japanese-American internment victims went through throughout the whole wartime era. One such magazine, called the Booklist, has an article in it titled "Life in a Japanese American Internment Camp."  When I wrote my research paper in high school on this topic, I found some books that were written by those who were placed in the internment camps. One that I specifically remember was titled I Am an American.  I look forward to finding that book again, as it was very helpful. Also, Cora Agatucci has lent me a video that is titled Japanese Internment; A Family Gathering. This tells of a Japanese-American family that lived in Hood River, Oregon, and how they were treated. It is also very helpful. I plan on searching for other videos that give first-hand experiences. The secondary sources that I plan on consulting are newspapers, magazines, books, and perhaps videos.

While taking Library Skills 127 last term I learned that it is possible to find and read newspaper issues from many years ago. I plan on consulting the library for newspaper articles from that time period. I am not sure if they would be considered secondary sources because they are authentic from that time period that the Japanese-Americans were being interned, but I know they will be helpful to me so I can see what people were reading in the newspapers about the incidents at that time. I also plan on finding secondary sources in magazines. I remember one magazine article from the research paper I did in high school that was very helpful. It was in a National Geographic magazine, and described numerous families' experiences. The article also had many pictures of the concentration camps which told stories in themselves. Also, I have found one article titled "Ansel Adams and Civil Rights" published in Popular Photography. From the article's description, I have found that it is full of photos of the camps. I know I will learn a lot from the pictures alone, because they are not interpreted or warped by any writer, but they show exactly what it was like (a picture is worth a thousand words). 

I have found that there are numerous books written about the Japanese-American internment during World War II. I plan on consulting books for the majority of the information that I need for reasons why such actions were taken against the Japanese-Americans as well as information on reimbursement/apologies for the internment.

I plan on using the skills that I learned in Library Skills 127 for research. In fact, I have already ordered a book through the interlibrary loan system and I have found more that I would like to order. Both the COCC Library catalog and the whole library homepage are very helpful to me in leading me to sources. 

Finally, if possible, I would like to actually travel to Tule Lake, California, which is the site of a former concentration camp during World War II. The site has become a walk-through memorial for the internment that occurred. By traveling to Tule Lake, I hope to see first hand what the living quarters were like as well as how desolate the camps were. Overall, I am really looking forward to learning more about the Japanese-American internment during World War II, and I know that having good sources is the key to success in doing so.

IV. Sources

NOTE: I realize that the variance of source types is limited here, but I plan on consulting many more source types later, as I have mentioned above.

"The Color of My Skin, The Shape of My Eyes." The Yale Journal of Criticism, Fall 1996, 223. (Journal)

Daniels, Roger, ed. American Concentration Camps. Introduction by Roger Daniels. New York: Garland, 1989. (Book)

Fondiller, Harvey. "Ansel Adams and Civil Rights: An Uncensored Version of a 1944 Exhibit Documents Life in a Japanese-American Internment Camp." Popular Photography, October 1985, 92. (Magazine)

Houston, Jeanne W., and James D. Houston. Farewell to Manzanar; a True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment. New York, Bantam, 1974. (Book)

"Life in a Japanese American Internment Camp." Booklist, 1 January 1998, 788. (Magazine)

Maga, Timothy P. "Ronald Reagan and the Redress for Japanese-American Internment, 1983-1988." Presidential Studies Quarterly, Summer 1998, 606. (Journal)

Rancourt, Linda. "Remembering Manzanar." National Parks, May-June 1993, 30. (Magazine)

Stromer, Walt. "Why I Went Along: 1942 and the Invisible Evacuees." Columbia Journalism Review, January-February 1993, 15. (Journal)

© Held by student, 1999


Lucy Burrows
WR 123, Prof. C. Agatucci
Research Proposal:  Final Draft
18 April 2002

Research Proposal

1.  Research Topic Introduction

            (a)  The research topic I have chosen for Writing 123 is focused on our mental health system, what services are provided in Bend, and what services are needed.  The research question I wish to answer is:  Homelessness among the chronically mentally ill is a community problem in Bend as well as elsewhere in the United States:  As a community, how can we address this problem?  I have chosen this topic partly as a result of my interest developed from my psychology professor last term.  She mentioned in class that there are some chronically mentally ill (schizophrenic) people who live in Juniper Park.  Additionally, I recently viewed a program on 60 Minutes which profiled a community in Geel, Belgium, that has a unique way to care for the mentally ill in their community.  I was intrigued by the total community commitment and support of the mentally ill.  In Geel, Belgium, you never see someone sleeping on the street.  I wanted to further investigate their system for caring for the mentally ill and see if their methods could be duplicated in other communities, such as in the United States.  If some of the methods used in Geel, Belgium, could be used elsewhere, as in Bend, this might have significant implications for the services we can provide in Bend.  I feel as a community, we have a responsibility to care for those who are unable to care for themselves.  I do not feel it is acceptable to have the chronically mentally ill living in our community parks or on the streets. I think some of our social problems are just accepted as part of living in a community and perhaps they are not addressed as they should be.  In my research, I discovered a model program that was started in Long Beach, California, as a result of the frustration and dissatisfaction of family members of mentally ill, as well as professionals and business people who had an interest in improving the mental health system. As a result, the Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California, has received a growing amount of attention and commendation as a model mental health program.  It incorporates a number of innovative approaches that may be valuable in effecting widespread system change.

            (b)  I believe this is a very appropriate topic for Writing 123.  It fits in with the courses I have studied and presents a very real problem in Bend that can be addressed in a research topic.  Until I viewed the program that focused on Geel, Belgium, and their unique methods for providing for the mentally ill, I had not considered other community options for addressing the problem of homelessness of the mentally ill.  It is a very effective method to view problems from other perspectives to arrive at real solutions that may be helpful and appropriate in our community in dealing with this social problem.

            (c)  I intend to use the American Psychological Association (APA) documentation system for this research topic.  When I consulted our textbook regarding citation formats, I learned that “The APA form is a variant of the author-date system of citing sources, used in the field of psychology and often in other behavioral sciences” (Hubbuch, 2002).

2. Research Question and Working Hypothesis

            (a) My research topic is:  Homelessness among the chronically mentally ill is a community problem in Bend as well as elsewhere in the United States:  As a community, how can we address this problem?

            (b) Working hypothesis:  This is a problem not only in Bend, but in large, economically sound communities, as well.  It is a problem that must be addressed as a community to have a working, caring system to provide for the mentally ill who are homeless.  This involves having a community home to provide for these homeless individuals, having a foster care system that supplements a community home and having  people receiving these services be treated with “respect, dignity and without labeling or discrimination of any type” (CareLink, 2002). 

3.  Research Strategy Description

            (a) What do I need to discover in my research?


            In the US you see many homeless people.  In Bend we have homelessness.  My psychology professor stated there are probably five or six schizophrenic people living in Juniper Park.  Our mental health system fails to care for the chronically mentally ill.

Research Questions

            Is our mental health system adequate?  What services are provided in Bend?  Why are the chronically mentally ill homeless?  What services are needed in Bend?


            There is a different approach for the care of the mentally ill in Geel, Belgium.  You never see a person sleeping on the street there.  They seem to have a successful way to care for the mentally ill.

Research Questions

            How do the people in Geel, Belgium care for the mentally ill?  What accounts for the success of their methods?  Would this model be transferable to other places, i.e., cities in the United States?  Bend?  If not, why not?


            The Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California, has received a growing amount of attention and commendation as a model mental health program.  It incorporates a number of innovative approaches that may be valuable in effecting widespread system change.  Dr. Mark Ragins, who is involved with the Village Integrated Service Agency, visited Geel, Belgium, and observed their system of care for the mentally ill in his process of gaining a worldwide perspective of psychiatric rehabilitation.

Research Questions

            What is the Village Integrated Service Agency?  How did it get started and why?  What is it doing differently and what is successful, not successful?  Would this approach work elsewhere?  In Bend?

            (b)  Where will I look for answers?

            I used Ebsco Host database for a web search of key terms:  mental health; mental illness; psychiatric rehabilitation, Geel, Belgium.  I have also searched Google.com.  I have found useful journal articles relating to my topic, including an article in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Summer 2000, outlining and describing the Denver approach which combines “the best rehabilitation models and influences into one system of rehabilitation services.  Additionally, I discovered information about The Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California, which incorporates a number of innovative approaches in care for the mentally ill.

            I asked the librarian at the COCC library for sources of information about services provided in Bend.  She directed me to the appropriate website and the new Deschutes County Mental Health office located at 2577 NE Courtney in Bend to obtain information on what services are currently available in Bend.  I visited the new office in Bend and obtained a pamphlet of information describing the services currently provided.

            I have requested two books through interlibrary loan, Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation and The Role of the Family in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, which I hope will offer some valuable insight into how the family and community can integrate care for the mentally ill.

            Additionally, I have ordered a transcript of the 60 Minutes program concerning the unique care the community of Geel, Belgium, provides for the mentally ill.  Viewing this program provided me with a new awareness and heightened interest to investigate this topic further.

4.  Sources Consulted

Anthony, W. A. (2001) Vision for Psychiatricrehabilitation Research.  Psychiatric             Rehabilitation Journal, 25, 1. (Journal Article)

Baxter, E. (1997) An Alternative Approach to Recovery-St. Dimpna.
        <http://www.mentalhealthconsumers.org/connet/cnn/9711/alternative.htm> [Accessed 4 Apr 2002]. (Article)

Fallot, R. D., Ph.D.  (2001)  Spirituality and Religion in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and             Recovery from Mental Illness.  International Review of Psychiatry, 13, 110.  (Journal Article)

Hubbuch, S. M. (2002).  Writing Research Papers Across the Curriculum.  Boston: Heinle & Heinle. (Book)

Principles of Psychiatric Rehabilitation.  CareLink [accessed 12 Apr 2002]. (Website)

Ragins, M., MD.  History and Overview of the Village.  The Village Integrated Service             Agency. <http://www.village-isa.org/Ragin”s%20Papers/Hist.%20&%20Oveview.>  [Accessed 4 Apr 2002] (Article)

Ragins, M., MD. (2000)  A Personal Worldwide Perspective of Psychiatric Rehabilitation.   The Village Integrated Service Agency.            <http://www.village-isa.org/Ragin’s%20Papers/worldwide_perspective.htm>             [Accessed 4 Apr 2002].  (Article)

Shern, D. L.; Tsemberis, S.; Anthony, W.; Lovell, A. M.; Richmond, L.; Felton, C. J.;            Winarski, J.; Cohen, M.  (2000)  Serving Street-dwelling Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities:  Outcomes of a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Clinical Trial.  American Journal of Public Health, 90, 1873.  (Journal Article)

Smith, G., (Executive Director).  Deschutes County Mental Health. N.p.:n.p., n.d.

            [Pamphlet obtained 12 Apr 2002]

Spaniol, L., et al. The Role of the Family in Psychiatric Rehabilitation.  (Book requested through interlibrary loan 4/12/02)

Spaniol, L., et al. Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation.  (Book requested through interlibrary loan 4/12/02)

© Lucy Burrows, 2002


Natalie Lauderdale
WR 123, Prof C. Agatucci
Research Proposal: Final Draft
17 April 2002

Dream Research Proposal

1. Introduction of Research Topic, projected value, and documentation style.

A). The topic that I have chosen to research this term is dreams. I have always been very interested in dreams, both my own and those of others, especially in connection with the psychological meaning they represent for the dreamer. A little over two years ago I suffered a tremendous loss when my best friend and two close friends were killed in a car accident. Less than eight months later a fourth very dear friend was similarly killed. In dealing with my loss I found one incredible distraction from the pain- dreaming. Immediately after the accidents I began to notice that my dreams had become more emotional and played a large role in my thoughts and mood for the next day. The night I had my first dream about my late best friend we talked about how the accident impacted me, and how he was always by my side, even when I couldn’t see him. When I woke up I felt like a different person, like the dream had washed away all of my depression. For the first time in months I was able to smile just by thinking about that dream. But when I went to look up the meaning of the dream in one of my dream analysis books I was shocked to find the supposed “inner meaning.” According to the first book I looked in, a dream of visiting a deceased friend meant that I would live a long life. Baffled, I looked in a second dream analysis book. This one said that it meant things were going to change for

Lauderdale 2

the better for me and good fortune was in store. It was at that exact moment that I realized that dream analysis wasn’t quite as accurate as I had once thought. In fact, many dream analysis books I’ve since encountered have different ideas about what dreams even are. With all the different theories and studies there are out there on sleep and dreaming, I decided that I would just go find the most accurate theory myself. I have a lot to learn about dreaming, and have the desire to learn it. Using this topic as my research subject, I will be able to engulf myself in the incredible amount of information available to me. I believe that every individual can benefit from understanding their dreams, but knowing how to understand them is the first step. I intend for my project to be the stepping stone towards accurate understanding.

B). The research topic of dreams and dream analysis is appropriate for Writing 123 because it requires a college level understanding of theories, studies and research. Readers must be able to figure out the semi complex concepts of brain activity and psychology. Also, very importantly, there are numerous sources to be found on the topic. Virtually every source I’ve come across (journals, books, online references) have something related to the topic. However, it is mainly my desire to research dreams and theories of dream analysis that make the topic an appropriate choice. I have more than enough interest in the topic to take the project from start to finish.

C). The documentation style I have chosen for my topic is the style commonly used by the American Psychological Association, or simply put, the APA form. I feel that this documentation style is appropriate for my topic choice because the main root behind the study of dreams is psychology. Dreaming is a psychological science, and the studies

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done on the subject of dream analysis and interpretation would be best presented in the APA form.

2. Leading Research Question and Working Hypothesis

A). My leading research questions that I propose to pursue are: What are dreams? What are the main functions of dreams? Is dream analysis accurate? And what factors can interfere with accurate dream interpretation?

B). My working hypothesis so far is that dreams are mental images that our brains produce while we sleep to help us better understand ourselves and our feelings. Unfortunately, most forms of dream analysis are not accurate due to numerous factors that can be very influential on dream content, and are usually not taken into account while the dream is being interpreted. These factors can include, but aren’t restricted to physical stimuli (such as noise, light, temperature), hunger, thirst, the culture you live in, and day to day experiences.

3. Research Strategy

A). Through my research I intend to find:

* What are the many theories of the function of dreams?

* Do all people dream?

* How often do people dream?

* What are the different types of dreams?

* Why don’t we always remember our dreams?

* How do different cultures interpret dreams?

* Where did dream analysis originate?

Lauderdale 4

* Is dream analysis accurate?

* What common factors interfere with the accurate interpretation of dreams?

So far I know that various critical thinkers and psychologists have conflicting theories of dream functions. Some consider them random thoughts of the sleeping brain, others consider them a result of the digestion process, and still others believe that dreams are our soul’s unrestricted out of body travels that occur while we sleep. It is fairly widely agreed by sleep researchers that all people dream every night, with the rare exception of some substance abusers. I have reviewed a few different theories of dream types, such as lucid dreams, telepathic dreams, and nightmares. I have also uncovered some theories of why we don’t always remember dreaming. Most theories have to do with the long and short term memory storage function of our brains, and conditions which limit our abilities. I have collected many sources on dream analysis already, and am confident that I have many more to go.

B). I will look for the answers to my questions in many places. The COCC library so far has produced ten sources that I have deemed appropriate after my exploratory research. The internet site www.psychology.about.com had proven very useful, containing an entire link in the home page for dreams and dream analysis. That website, in fact, has led me to a source I was unable to locate at the COCC library or Interlibrary loan. The search commands that I have used thus far have consisted of: psychology, dreams, dream analysis, and dream interpretation under the keyword search. Under the author search I have used: Freud, Jung, Koulack and Van Eeden (all leaders in the dream analysis field). I haven’t come up empty handed yet. I have already collected enough

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material to support 75% of my paper, all mainly secondary sources. The bulk of my paper will be written based on the my finding in the book To Catch a Dream, and the Sleep and Dream sourcebook. I am still planning to design and implement a survey for my fellow college students that will ask them to: anonymously describe a recent dream, give a few possible reasons for the dreams (why they think that they dreamed it), and suggest a few interpretations of the psychological meaning. This survey is to be my main primary source. I will take the data that I receive and analyze it according to my two dream analysis books to see how closely the given interpretation resembles the students’ analysis. Psychology.about.com will continue to play a major role in the direction my paper goes, seeing as how it is continually updated and I can continually check up on it. I am also trying to locate 10 different issues of the Brain and Behavioral Science Journal, and four issues of the British Journal of Psychology.

4. Sources Consulted in Exploratory Research

“Culture and Dreams.” (2002) Dream Manual. Psychology.about.com. http://www.psychology.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm [accessed 3 April 2002] (online reference)

Eeden, Frederik van. (1913) “A Study of Dreams.” Psychology.about.com, 2002.
http://www.psychology.about.com/library/classics/bleeden_dm0.htm [accessed 3
April 2002] (online reference)

Gackenbach, Jayne. (1987). Sleep and Dreams: A Sourcebook. New York: Garland Publishing Inc. (book)

Hamilton-Parker, Craig. (1999). The Hidden Meaning of Dreams. New York: Sterling

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Publishing Co. Inc. (book)

Hartmann, Ernest M.D. (1998). Dreams and Nightmares: The New Theory on the Origin and Meaning of Dreams. Cambridge: Perseus Book. (book)

Hunt, Harry T. (1989). The Multiplicity of Dreams: Memory, Imagination and Consciousness. New Haven: Yale University Press. (book)

Kemp, Gillian. “The Five Types of Dreams.” Psychology.about.com, 2002
http://www.psychology.about.com/library/weekly/aa010102a.htm [accessed 3 April 2002] (online reference)

Koulack, David. (1991). To Catch a Dream: Explorations of Dreaming. New York: State University of New York Press. (book)

Mattoon, Mary Ann Ph.D. (1978). Applied Dream Analysis: A Jungian Approach. New York: John Wiley and Sons Halsted Press Inc. (book)

Sloane, Paul M.D. (1990). Psychoanalytic Understanding of the Dream. London: Jason Aronson Inc. (book)

Wood S.E, & Green Wood E.R. (2002). The World of Psychology. (4th ed) Boston: A Pearson Education Co. 135-140 (text book)

© Natalie Lauderdale, 2002


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