English 669: Bibliography and Methodology
Assignment 6 :
Draft, Research Proposal
Requirements for First Draft (3-4 pp):
1) a draft title
2) two-page draft of the narrative
3) 5-item Works Cited, with Works in proper MLA form and
alphabetized, with 3 items annotated.
Although the final version of the
proposal's Works Cited will not be an annotated bibliography, for this first draft you will annotate 3
secondary/critical entries, with one paragraph for each.
Summarize the argument of the secondary/critical work cited..
This is a first draft but it needs to show some time and care. Over
several drafts your proposal text will be revised for grammar, clarity,
style, and concision by you and through peer reviews.
Final Proposal Requirements
Due Date: at the
start of the last class day of your section, Monday or Wednesday
Format: printed out
on paper AND sent as file attachment to email. Please use this header
formula: your last name, 669 final. I ask for both electronic and paper
because I can comment best directly in your file copy, but many have
had issues with spacing and indenting when sending electronic file
copies, problems that are easier to solve on paper.
pages maximum. Including Works Cited pages.
narrative part of the project, where you explain what you plan to
research and argue, will be double spaced. The Works Cited portion will
be single-spaced text within entries, double-spaced text between
Margins and fonts:
standard margins (top, bottom = 1"; sides = 1.25") and 12-point
1) Title 2)
Narrative 3) Works Cited
at least 3 different sources from your Works Cited must be cited within
your narrative text; cite them in MLA parenthetical style, e.g. ( Smith
13). Your Works Cited must also have the following features:
For all drafts after the fist one you will omit the 3 annotations you did for the first draft. None of the 15 final entries will be annotated.
bibliography of at least 15 sources in the Works Cited / Works Consulted, all
format, All entries alphabetized.
- Your 15 sources must
include at least 1 book b) 3
or edited collection chapters c) 2 other, such as other
media, web pages, etc. see below for details.
- Follow conventions for
works by same author(s).
- If you have multiple
articles from one
collection, use the cross reference style to shorten some entries as
explained in Handbook 5.3.6
1. Title Section
Your title will not be on a
separate page but will be separated from the
start of the narrative by a double space.
A good title provides the reader with
just the general domain of the paper (e.g. something about Howard
reading of Middlemarch etc.), it includes one or more key terms
from the thesis of your argument. For example, "A Blurred Materialism:
Technologizing Memory in Beckett and Crowley," lets us know that memory
and technology will be key terms in the argument. Imagine your title
having to help
convince a reader
to look at your one argument about, say, Faulkner, out of the many
of other arguments in print about Faulkner. For example, John Irwin
an excellent book on Faulkner Doubling and Incest/Repetition and
A Speculative Reading of Faulkner.
Your title need not follow the
academic formula (title: subtitle) but your title needs to be cogent
enticing. Something unexpected for the topic, and pithy, as in Kroll's "Pope and Drugs" can make a title both memorable and useful.
2: Narrative Section. 3-4
Within the narrative 3
works from your Works Cited will be cited in MLA
style, in parentheses (author page)
within in the narrative text of the proposal, showing that you've in fact read them and
something in detail. Remember those 3 annotations you wrote earlier?
<>You are to propose an
interesting question, one requiring some research to discover a
plausible answer to it. The topics can be about scholarship, teaching,
anything intellectually serious and worth exploring. The sources you
cite in this part of the proposal will help show others that you know
what you are talking about, and that even though you might not have
your own answer to your question yet, you are aware of some other
authoritative answers to questions similar to it or otherwise related
thematically or topically to it. If you can hypothesize an answer to
your question based on your research thus far, by all means do so.
However, the most important thing is to frame for your readers a
question that is cogent, interesting, and not obviously answered
without some systematic research. Use your developing knowledge
of academic style(s) to choose a writing voice that is suitable
serious, but also suits you. Why does your question matter? What is
novel about it, and
why might others besides yourself and outside your particular circle of
and care about it?
You will need to situate your work within a
world of scholarship, as
represented by those works with which we can see your ideas involved in
a kind of conversation. This situation of ideas within fields and
traditions of research is vital to graduate-level research, and
essential to eventual publication of even the best ideas. A narrative
truly informed by what you've read, especially what you can cite
directly, is the measure of your mastery of situation. Scholarly
citation of others' work is the foundation of strong research and makes
a good Works Cited far more than an exercise in form.
Even though you are writing about what
you are doing, make the main subject of the narrative the project idea
itself rather than yourself as autobiographical subject. It is
unnecessary to say, "I believe that x, I think that y." For example,
the difference between, "I believe that current Hawthorne studies are
and "Recently, studies of Hawthorne have failed to address..." The
of Hawthorne studies, not you as individual, is the real focus of
and therefore better merits being the subject of the sentence.
Remember your audience: educated lay people. Do not talk down
but be vigilant about kinds of jargon that do not translate well across
disciplines or fields. Define and explain terms as necessary. Remember
that even abstract ideas do not demand abstract terminology to be
Be sure to proof this section; nothing sinks a proposal sooner
bad proofing and careless errors. Don't just rely on spell check.
3: Works Cited Section
Technically, many of your works would be listed
in a Works Consulted section, but to simplify list all works, whether
or not cited in your own narrative, under Works Cited
This section is the backbone of written scholarship. It both continues
to help convince others that you know
what you're talking
about, and demonstrates your mastery of proper MLA entry
This section is often the most useful to others, because they can see,
at a glance, how you arrived at your brilliant ideas. Each bibliography
must have a minimum of 15 items. Items may be books, articles, reviews,
a discussion thread from a social network, a posted electronic text,
a menu from a web page, a blog, an email--whatever was necessary to
your research. If you're
working in truly uncharted territory, you may find that you'll need to
turn to more broadly defined studies that parallel or complement your
specific ideas. It is also a very good rule of thumb to include in your
bibliography those works in your field from the past 5-10 years that
most relevant to your project, because that's the working definition of
the current knowledge in your field, the ideas to which your project is
ultimately expected to respond and contribute.
Feel free to ask more questions live, or via email.
To read examples of complete prior passing proposals come to my office
and borrow some.
to English 669 Syllabus