Research Proposal

Like any research project, you will need to write a proposal and have it approved. Basically, my approval serves as your “funding” for this particular research project. This assignment is worth 15% of your overall grade. On the discussion board, you will be asked to summarize this proposal to share ideas with your classmates, which is an entirely different assignment. This assignment should be 3-4 pages in length.


•     Your topic should be relevant to what's going on in the world today. Check newspaper headlines, news magazine covers, and hot topics on social media.

•     Your essay will be your attempt to join the conversation rather than simply repeating what others have said on the topic. In other words, it should take the reader beyond the status quo, which is, what people generally feel, think, believe, or know about the topic—beyond the Wikipedia page for the topic.

•     If you choose a topic that does not fit the above guidelines, the highest you can earn on the rubric in any category is "Almost There" which is a 75-80%.

Examples of status quo topics (avoid):

•   A vegan or vegetarian diet is healthier than a meat-based diet.

•   Exercises is a key aspect in maintaining health.

•   There is too much violence/sex in the media.

•   Physicians-assisted suicide should be legal because . . .

•   Teen pregnancy is not a good idea.

•   Smoking is dangerous and should be banned.

•   Marijuana should be legalized because . . .

•   Diseases/disorders are horrible and need cures.

•   Global warming--oops, I mean climate change--is killing us all.

•     Gun control, abortion, gay marriage, college athletes should be paid, the drinking age should be lowered, texting and driving is bad, animal cruelty, pit bulls are good dogs, death penalty, and bullying.


The research proposal should be formatted in MLA style and should contain the following components. (Each component should include a heading.)

Introduction and Research Question

Write a paragraph that introduces your proposed topic and proposed audience. Your introduction should include an inquiry question, which is the opening question that will drive your initial research. Typically, this isn't a question of fact or definition, but one that will lead to evaluation or judgment.


In the past, I have ALWAYS required students choose an argumentative topic. But now I’ve gone all in with the Curious Researcher and allowing you to choose between an exploratory or argumentative topic. This section should include 1-2 paragraphs that clearly explains your research purpose. Why are you writing on this topic? Will your readers be intrigued by its importance?

Thought Narrative

Write 1-2 pages the discuss of your thinking about the topic so far. What were your assumptions when you started? Did they change as you explored the topic? Specifically, what did you encounter in your initial research that most influenced those assumptions. In other words, explain what most people already know about your topic (the current status quo) as well as what you already know about your topic. This should also include reasons for your interest in the topic

Working Bibliography

Include a minimum of four (4) specific sources you may use, with a complete bibliographic MLA format, and a brief explanation of why each source would be useful to your argument.

1.   Google your topic, then click on News (as opposed to Web, Maps, Images, etc). Read current stories on the topic to see what fresh angles you can come up with. Find at least one article that presents a current or alternative way of looking at the subject beyond the status quo.

2.   Go to the library databases and locate a relevant source from either the CQ Researcher database or the Opposing Viewpoints database.

3.   While you're in the library databases, find a source from another database such as EBSCO, Gale, or Proquest.

4.   Include one additional source.

The Research Proposal is an important step in the research process. You need to construct a clear and concise plan that will guide you through the early stages. Otherwise, you will become frustrated and overwhelmed very quickly.

Research Proposal (150 points)