Research Proposal Prompt

Posted On Mar 01 2021

Research Proposal Prompt


Proposals can help researchers refine their projects and give them direction for the research process. This type of genre is important for academic, professional, and public forms of writing; it signals to interested parties what your preliminary research plan is, why your topic matters, how you plan to learn more about it, and what your objective for the project is. The endgame of this course is an argumentative research project. This proposal assignment is meant to help you develop your research trajectory for the remainder of the course.



In creating a research proposal, you’ll aim to do the following: 1) develop your research project, 2) identify context about the topic you’re writing about 3) outline your methods for discovery 4) develop your research questions and 5) discuss your initial references. Doing so will help you get on the right track for your final project for class, and it will allow me an opportunity to make suggestions early on in the project about how you can modify/refine your research process. Your proposal should include: 

  • An introduction that describes the topic you’re interested in writing about, specifically outlining an overview of the topic, what the problem is, or why this is a timely issue right now. Your introduction should be written for a nonexpert on this topic, and you should convey why this is significant/why people should care about it. It should also establish your credibility and expertise (i.e., what qualifies you to talk about the subject—think back to ethos discussions in ENGL 103). 
  • A background section that overviews how people are talking about this topic and the various perspectives they’re providing. This section is akin to a literature review, which surveys the current research on the topic and connects them together.
  • A description of your methods for research that talks about how you intend to conduct research. What information will you be looking at to make assessments/learn new information about your topic? For example, will you look at social media, conduct interviews, read peer-reviewed journals, conduct interviews or surveys, etc.
  • A list of your research questions. You only need one question for your final project, but for the purposes of the proposal, you may include 1-3 questions so we can work on refining them/ determine the best question to answer for the scope of this project. Your research question(s) should be answerable, open-ended, and realistic. This section should also identify your audience and stakeholders for the project. You want to set yourself up for success when you’re planning this stage of your research process. See the Research Process lecture on Blackboard for a helpful formula.
  • A preliminary working thesis which hints at the main argument you may make in the final project. You don’t want to approach your research as if you already know the answer, but you may want to posit some hypotheses that may relate to your final thesis claim. 
  • Preliminary References: In MLA or APA format. Your format will ultimately depend on your topic.


  • Draft due: Friday, March 5th by 11:59 PM (end of week 8); 20% of your final course grade
  • 3-5 well-developed pages (750-1,250 words) not including References/Works Cited
  • I encourage you to sign up for a conference to discuss your proposal and research trajectory during week 8


  • Contains an overview of your topic that addresses its timeliness
  • Addresses what qualifies you to talk about the subject
  • Contains a background/literature review that cites at least 3 relevant sources
  • Identifies the research methods you plan to use
  • Contains at least 1 open-ended research question
  • Identifies your project’s audience and purpose
  • Cites all sources used

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