Assignment 7 : First
Draft, Research Proposal
Proposal must have a title. 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 more than just the general domain of the paper (e.g. something about Howard Hawkes, a reading of Middlemarch etc.), it includes one or more key terms from the thesis of your argument. Imagine your title having to help convince a reader to look at your one argument about, say, Faulkner, out of the many thousand of other arguments in print about Faulkner. For example, John Irwin entitled an excellent book on Faulkner Doubling and Incest/Repetition and Revenge: A Speculative Reading of Faulkner. Your title need not follow the typical academic formula (title: subtitle) but your title needs to be cogent and 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 Text. 3-4
Within the narrative 3 different
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. Remeber those 3 annotations you wrote earlier?
You are to propose and
interesting question, one requiring some research to discover a
plausible anwer 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 willl 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 matters, 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 tradtions 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 generally unnecessary to say, "I believe that x, I think that y." For example, note the difference between, "I believe that current Hawthorne studies are woefully inadequate" and "Recently, studies of Hawthorne have failed to address..." The state of Hawthorne studies, not you as individual, is the real focus of interest and therefore better merits being the subject of the sentence.
Remember your audience: educated laypeople. Do not talk down to
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 than
bad proofing and careless errors. Don't just rely on spell-check.
Feel free to ask more questions live, or via email.
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