RESEARCH PROPOSAL Directions
WR 123, Spring 2010, Prof. C. Agatucci


Juanita Yourlastname
WR 123, Prof. C. Agatucci
Research Proposal
[Final Draft]
19 April 2010

[Centered Title Goes Here, expressing your topic focus - Example:]
The Problem of Homelessness Among the Chronically Mentally Ill
NOTE WELL:
FINAL DRAFT MUST BE WORD-PROCESSED
AND DOUBLE SPACED throughout

--Follow Cora's directions for your WR 123 Research Proposal given in this handout, rather than those given our BR textbook 3b "What is a research proposal and how can I create one?" BR 3b is offered as a guide for college students who are assigned a research proposal but given no specific directions to follow. 
--Read and follow directions given in this handout carefully, address all required parts and sections completely and clearly, take advantage of the preliminary draft workshop and ask Cora questions if you don't understand the directions or need help along the way!! 
--Organize the final draft of your Research Proposal into four parts and label each part and section with the same numbered headings and lettered subheadings used below to distinguish each of the required parts and sections addressed and to ensure that you are given credit for doing so. 
--Remember to avoid plagiarism by integrating in-text citations whenever you summarize, paraphrase or quote from sources in Parts 1, 2, and 3 of your Research Proposal, and be sure Part 4 includes all sources cited in-text in Parts 1, 2, and 3. 
--Plan, draft, workshop preliminary drafts, then edit and proofread carefully before submitting the Final Draft of your formal Research Proposal for approval and grading, because
completeness, clarity, coherence, persuasiveness and correctness of your written presentation will be considered in grading.

PART 1.  RESEARCH TOPIC INTRODUCTION, RATIONALE, & APPROVED DOCUMENTATION STYLE

1.A. Research Topic Introduction. 
Introduce your focused topic
(informed by the results of your exploratory research and thoughtful reflections) for the WR 123 Critical Research Paper (which will be a thesis-based essay, typically 12-15 word-processed double-spaced pages long, developed by applying your research findings and critical thinking).  In introducing your topic, write for your
college-level but non-specialist WR 123 audience (who are probably NOT specialists in the field and may have little or no background on your topic): to understand your focused topic and appreciate its context, this audience will need clear, accessible definitions of any specialized terms and concepts used, and sufficient background information (e.g. you may need to offer a brief history, identification of key people and events, and/or survey of "conversations" or controversies about issues relevant to your topic). Remember to avoid plagiarism by integrating in-text citations whenever you summarize, paraphrase or quote from sources in this and all other sections of your Research Proposal. 
TEXTBOOK HELP:  Refer to BR Chs.1 &  2 (as well as WR 123 Audience considerations discussed in class).  On citing sources & avoiding plagiarism, refer to BR ch. 7a & b (on avoiding plagiarism), BR Ch. 6 "Taking Notes," BR ch. 19 "Understanding Documentation Systems" & discuss choice of Documentation Style with Cora.
NOTE:  In-text citations of sources summarized, paraphrased and quoted within Parts 1, 2, and 3 of your Research Proposal are required to avoid Plagiarism, and these in-text citations should be clearly matchable to complete bibliographical entries on those sources included in PART 4: Working Annotated Bibliography below.

1.B. Rationale.
Explain the reasons why you have chosen this topic. 
Discussion should include:
--
any personal, professional, academic experience, connections and/or other reasons for your special interest in the topic;
--projected value of the research project for you and others (e.g. why it's worth doing, what you hope to gain, what others might gain);
--practical reasons why this topic is a good choice for Writing 123 (e.g. exploratory research suggests that sufficient reliable sources on the topic are available, you have an open mind on the topic, it will also satisfy a research paper requirement for another course, and any other relevant considerations).
TEXTBOOK HELP:  see BR Chs.1 &  2.

1.C. Approved Documentation Style.
Identify the documentation system - which must be pre-approved by Cora -
that you will use, and briefly justify your choice based on the field, approach, emphasis of your focused topic and Cora's advice.  If you will be using your WR 123 research project as the basis for a research paper in another course, be sure to include in your justification that you have consulted not only with Cora but also with the other instructor on her/his documentation style requirements and will be using the same documentation style for both courses. 
TEXTBOOK HELP:  See BR ch. 19 "Understanding Documentation Systems," BUT also discuss with Cora your choice of Documentation Style & get Cora's approval.
NOTE: You will be expected to try to follow this approved documentation style in PART 4. Working Annotated Bibliography below, as well as in PARTS 1, 2, & 3 in-text citations.

PART 2. LEADING RESEARCH QUESTION AND WORKING HYPOTHESIS

2.A. Leading Research Question.
State the Leading Research Question
that you propose to investigate and answer for your Writing 123 research project. 
TEXTBOOK HELP:  BR Ch. 3 (on developing research questions & selecting the Leading Research Question) should be especially helpful, but see also relevant sections of BR Chs. 2 & 1.
PART 2.A TIPS: Cora recommends that WR 123 students first complete PART 3.A described below, generating a list of significant research questions and some preliminary answers to these questions relevant to their focused topic to serve as a kind of menu of choices from which the PART 2 leading research question and working hypothesis/tentative thesis can be identified.  However, if you already have a 2.B Working Hypothesis or Tentative Thesis to propose, you can recast it into question form to generate your 2.A leading research question.  But in so doing, you will still be agreeing to treat that 2.A leading research question as a real question whose answer has not yet been decided; and to treat your 2.B "answer" as tentative, preliminary, and open to college-level investigation and testing, through vigorous in-depth research, fair-minded critical thinking and evaluation of reliable evidence and multiple-alternative perspectives.

2.B. Working Hypothesis or Tentative Thesis.
State your Working Hypothesis or Tentative Thesis,
which should be your preliminary answer to your 2.A leading research question, and which should be an informed opinion based on your critical thinking and reading of exploratory research sources so farRemember to avoid plagiarism by integrating in-text citations whenever you summarize, paraphrase or quote from sources in this and all other sections of your Research Proposal. 
TEXTBOOK HELP:  see BR 4b "How can I use my research question to read critically?" and "Develop a Preliminary Thesis Statement"; & BR Ch. 13a "How can I develop my thesis statement?"
PART 2.B TIPS: You may need two or three closely related sentences - i.e. more than one sentence - to state your 2.B. working hypothesis or tentative thesis clearly and fully. Remember that however sure you feel that your current working hypothesis or tentative thesis is the best/right answer to your 2.A leading research question, it is still tentative at this point--that is, it should be one that you are willing to open to question, further investigation, and testing; one that you are willing to revise, even significantly change later on as warranted by what you learn and conclude from further in-depth research and evidence uncovered, and fair consideration of new ideas and different/multiple points of view on your focused topic question, issue, problem. 
NOTE: Remember to avoid plagiarism by integrating in-text citations whenever you summarize, paraphrase or quote from sources in this and all other parts and sections of your Research Proposal, and be sure Part 4 includes all sources cited in-text in PARTS 1, 2, and 3.  
On citing sources & avoiding plagiarism, refer to BR ch. 7a & b (on avoiding plagiarism), BR Ch. 6 "Taking Notes," BR ch. 19 "Understanding Documentation Systems" & discuss choice of Documentation Style with Cora.

PART 3. RESEARCH PLAN

3.A.  Supporting Research Questions and Preliminary Answers
--Provide an organized* list of important supporting research questions relevant to or growing out of your PART 2 leading research question and working hypothesis. Include related questions raised by your focused topic, exploratory research, preliminary reading and thinking, and your PART 1 introduction (e.g. background information, key concepts, specialized terms). 
TEXTBOOK HELP:  see BR 3a, including "Step 2: Generate Potential Research Questions"; BR Ch. 6, including "Start Planning Your Document"; BR Ch. 12b, especially "Decide How to Save and Organize Print Sources"; BR Ch. 13c "How should I organize my document?"
--Integrate any preliminary answers or reference relevant information obtained from sources so far directly following the relevant question posed. Cora will expect diligent college exploratory researchers not only to pose several informed supporting research questions but also to provide some preliminary responses and cite relevant references to sources already reviewed, with the understanding that these preliminary answers and references will need to be verified, tested, and further investigated as your in-depth research continues. Remember to avoid plagiarism by integrating in-text citations whenever you summarize, paraphrase or quote from sources in this and all other sections of your Research Proposal. 
NOTES: Your ability to ask informed supporting research questions and integrate preliminary answers and relevant source references in PART 3.A, will reveal much about the diligence of your exploratory research and critical thinking so far. And remember to avoid plagiarism by integrating in-text citations whenever you summarize, paraphrase or quote from sources in this and all other parts and sections of your Research Proposal, and be sure PART 4 includes sources cited in-text in PARTS 1, 2, and 3.   On citing sources & avoiding plagiarism, refer to BR ch. 7a & b (on avoiding plagiarism), BR Ch. 6 "Taking Notes," BR ch. 19 "Understanding Documentation Systems" & discuss choice of Documentation Style with Cora.
PART 3.A TIPS: ORGANIZE your Part 3.A Questions & Preliminary Answers! The sooner you start imposing an organizational scheme on your research and note taking, the easier it will be to organize your final Critical Research Paper, so begin by organizing your PART 3.A list of supporting research questions and any preliminary answers and references:
--Group together closely related sets of question-answer-reference; identify the group with an outline-style number or letter and, if possible, an appropriate content-related subheading; and distinguish where one group ends and the next group begins (e.g. white space, indentation, bullets, bolded subheadings, and/or some other formatting feature can indicate where one group ends and the next begins);
--Order the arrangement of these groups in a logical progression appropriate to development of your focused topic. Think ahead to your Critical Research Paper, which will be, after all, just a big essay, with the same standard parts: introduction/ presentation of thesis, body, conclusion. Many of your 3.A labeled groups will probably constitute "body" points to be developed in your final Critical Research Paper.  Careful thought invested now in the best (most logical and effective) order in which to arrange and present, will pay off later.
TEXTBOOK HELP:   BR Ch. 13c "How should I organize my document?" as well as BR Ch. 6, including "Start Planning Your Document"; and BR Ch. 12b, especially "Decide How to Save and Organize Print Sources";

3.B. Search Strategies and Informational Resources
--Briefly explain how you found the 7+ sources (documented & annotated in PART 4), identifying each of the different types of search strategies and informational resources (e.g. library online catalogs,  reference librarian, faculty expert in the field, electronic databases, print indexes, internet web search engines, etc.) that you have employed so far to find sources relevant to your topic.
--Identify search terms
(e.g. subject headings, key words, etc.) and boolean commands that you have used so far, pointing out those that have proven most valuable so far in helping you locate the 7+ sources documented and annotated in PART 4 below.
--Also identify any additional search strategies and informational resources that you have already tried but that have not yet yielded any relevant or useful sources.
--Describe your future research plans
(e.g. search strategies, informational resources, search terms that you have not yet tried, as well as any other leads or ideas for finding sources) that you intend to pursue in upcoming weeks to locate valuable and reliable sources on your focused research topic.
--Demonstrate that you know the difference between a "primary" and a "secondary" source (as well as "tertiary" source), by offering a brief definition and an example of each (whenever possible, illustrate your definitions of "primary," "secondary," and "tertiary" sources by citing examples of such sources documented in PART 4 below).

TEXTBOOK HELP:  See BR Ch. 2 "Exploring and Narrowing Your Topic"; BR Part III "Collecting Information": Chs. 8, 9, 10, 11, & 12; plus what you've previously learned about informational research from LIB 127 and/or other relevant courses/research experiences.
NOTE: PART 3 and PART 4 are important opportunities to demonstrate that you have, or are diligently seeking to acquire, the college-level informational research competencies taught in LIB 127.

PART 4. WORKING ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY - Minimum of 7 sources required

--Provide complete bibliographical information for each of at least seven (7) sources already located and read/consulted during your exploratory research, and demonstrate a good faith effort to familiarize yourself with and try to follow your pre-approved documentation style (which you should have identified in PART 1 above).

--Annotate each source listed with two or three complete sentences that:

  • Identify the type of source (e.g. book, newspaper article, encyclopedia entry, web page or web site, interview with an expert in the field),  the length of the source, and the search strategy used to find the source (this search strategy used should be among those identified in PART 3.B above);

  • Briefly summarize the contents of the source, focusing on those aspects most relevant and useful to your research topic and commenting on the authority/expertise of the author/source if known.

TEXTBOOK HELP:  BR 12b "How Can I Create a Bibliography?" (including creating an Annotated Working Bibliography). See also PART I.c above: You will be expected to try to follow this approved documentation style in PART 4. Working Annotated Bibliography below, as well as in PARTS 1, 2, & 3 in-text citations.


Key WR 123 Learning Objectives addressed by this assignment:

Learning Outcome 1  Create a search strategy  . . .

(a) that proposes a manageable research topic based on exploratory thinking and investigation;
(b) that establishes a clear direction and focus for the project;
(c) that employs a variety of resources available through the library (such as books, periodicals, government documents, on-line databases including EBSCOHost), through inter-library loan, through the Internet, and/or through student-directed empirical research (such as surveys, interviews, and questionnaires); and
(d) that results in a thesis that the student develops and tests through the course of the research process.

Learning Outcome 4  Demonstrate proficiency in such integral research writing tasks as the . . . proposal . . . [and working annotated] bibliography . . . .


Spring 2010 WR 123 Syllabus | Course Plan | WR 123 Home Page

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URL of this page: http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/wr123/proposal.htm
Last Updated: 05 April 2010  

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Humanities Department, Central Oregon Community College
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