20% of course grade
A research proposal helps you narrow your topic, form a research question or working thesis, articulate your own
knowledge of the topic, and identify information gathering strategies and sources. The research proposal also helps me
help you more effectively by providing me with an understanding of your interests and knowledge of the research focus
at this stage. Your research proposal should be a minimum of 400 words (single-spaced with double-spacing between
paragraphs). You must use the following headings and organization pattern:
Working Title of Project: provide a “working title.”
Research Question: State your question before you begin your research. As you progress through your research, you
should be able to tentatively answer this question in one sentence, which is your argument/thesis (see Working Thesis
Working Thesis: Write out your WORKING thesis (“tentative thesis”), which is your initial answer to the research
question above. Remember, a thesis statement (major claim for your paper) is a statement that demands “Prove it!”
This doesn’t mean, however, that you will look for information that only supports your thesis. In fact, information that
challenges your thesis is as important. Remember that your working thesis might change as you encounter and
incorporate various ideas and sources in your research.
Background: Explain your interest in this particular topic. Describe any previous research you’ve done around this or
related topics, any classes you’ve taken that made you interested or informed about this topic generally, and/or any
reading you may have already done in this area. Describe your topic’s history, controversial issues, current
perspectives, and define any key terms.
Methodology: Explain how you will conduct your research in as much detail as possible. Discuss the kinds of sources
you hope to consult, e.g., scholarly articles from peer-reviewed journals (name some journals), newspaper articles,
books, blogs…etc. Mention specific titles and resources to show me you have already done some search and you have
insider’s information, not only generalizations. Remember that this is a tentative plan. List as many keywords
associated with your topic as you can.