Write a formal research proposal in which you define a research topic, make a case for why this topic is worthy of investigation, review relevant research on the topic, propose a research question, and develop a plan for finding sources and collecting knowledge to answer the proposed research question.A Research Proposal is a traditional academic genre that asks you to propose a research question on a topic of interest to you, examines previous research on a subject, explores a person’s motivations for doing research in that subject, asks the researcher to argue why and to whom this research has value, and provides a plan or course of action for completing that research. However, the proposal is more than just a plan, it is a persuasive composition intended to convince an audience that it should back your plan.So for this research proposal, you’ll need to convince your instructor that you have developed a topic and set of research questions worthy of study and prove that you have a plan for successfully completing that research. In turn, it will provide a means for your instructor to provide you feedback on your topic ideas and research plans.Planning your Research ProposalBelow are steps to take before writing your research proposal.Develop a TopicThere are opportunities in this class to explore any number of research topics. Here are a few things to consider, though, as you develop a topic to research for your proposal.Exigence– The research proposal is an opportunity to develop a topic of research that you really care about. Be sure to think about why YOU want to research this topic. Don’t merely select a topic because it is “typical” or “safe” or because you think there might be a lot of sources available on it. Instead, find one that actually matters to you. This is all the more important because you will be writing about this topic, in one form or another, throughout the rest of this class.Kairos– Your topic must also be one that is of current interest and relevant to one or more audiences. As you develop a topic, consider who cares about the issues or problems related to the topic and why the topic matters now. Understanding this will help you develop a relevant research question and think about the information and sources you need to address these issues or problems.
2Scope– Developing an effective research topic is a balancing act. You must narrow your topic down enough that you can manageably research the topic. It does you no good if your topic is broad and you’ll need to read and evaluate too many sources in order to be adequately informed about it. At the same time, your topic needs to be broad enough, with connections to related issues or problems in other contexts, that you can find a range of research that is relevant to it.CAUTION: Some students may feel that the work of this course will be easier if they propose a topic that they’ve already researched and written about in another class. But because it violates academic honesty standards of this class to, “[copy] assignments previously submitted […] for another class” (self-plagiarism). It is not appropriate to use work you’ve conducted for other classes to complete assignments in this one. In fact, doing so can constitute an act of plagiarism. Due to this, it is suggested you develop and propose a topic you haven’t researched independently in another course. If you wish to pursue such a topic and think you can do so in new ways that won’t violate the class’s academic honesty policy, you are encouraged to have a conversation with your instructor about it before writing the Research Proposal.Conducting Preliminary ResearchThe research topic you define shouldn’t be based solely on the preconceived ideas you already hold about it. You should also examine some preliminary research to get a fair understanding of the topic as well as differing perspectives and controversies that exist about it.For the purposes of this assignment, find at least four (2) relevant and credible sources that help you define the topic and explore its relevance to yourself and others. The sources may be drawn from Ivy Tech library databases, credible open web sources, or informed library research. These sources must be quoted or paraphrased in your proposal and must be correctly cited and documented using MLA style or APA style.Drafting the Research ProposalDefinition of Topic and Rationale – Your proposal should describe the issue or problem you are researching, what areas of conflict you hope to explore and why. It should discuss what you hope to accomplish by researching this topic and the outcomes you hope will result from it, not just for you but for other potential audiences. Thus, your research proposal should explain the kairos and exigence of your subject (see above). This section will include not only your own observations and experiences regarding your research problem and purposes but should also include cited information from the two secondary sources that help you articulate the relevance and importance of this issue or problem.
3Guiding Research Question: Once you have explored some of the current literature relating to your topic, you will pose a clear guiding research question to be explored for this research project. Your guiding research question should reveal the specific aspect of the issue that you wish to explore, and should be phrased as an open-ended question to make available a variety of possible answers (in other words, it should be debatable in nature). You may also ask additional supporting questions. Supporting research questions may be informative and may help you identify gaps in your knowledge.Intended Target Audience – Your proposal should briefly describe the potential audience(s) for the research you conduct. Who do you think will be most interested in such research? Who do you think will stand to benefit from it? Who would you like to reach out to with this research? Why? What values or expectations do these audiences hold about the problem or issue you are researching? How informed are they about it? As part of this, you should explain why these audiences should be concerned about or interested in this problem or issue. Why does/should it matter to these people? Research Plan – Your proposal needs to offer a research plan, previewing the steps you will take to collect additional information that will help you answer the research question you proposed. You need to discuss your plans to conduct primary and secondary research in order to find relevant information.Research Proposal SpecificsThis proposal should be about 3 pages (or more), not counting the Works Cited/References. The proposal should be double-spaced with 1 inch margins. Use a standard easily readable 11 or 12 point font. Follow MLA or APA formatting. A complete proposal that addresses your purpose and audience, defines your research topic, present preliminary research (2 sources), presents a research question, and develops your research plan.Use of at least 2 secondary sources with paraphrases and quotations from the sources cited in-text and sources documented in an MLA style Works Cited or APA style References list.
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