Research proposal guidelines: All proposals must describe what you are planning to do and convey why this is a reasonable, important, and interesting plan. The 7 parts of the generic proposal template described below serve these purposes. Below is a description of these 7 parts. 1. What is the general area in which your study is located? This section requires that you locate your project with respect to a larger area of research. For example, for Linguistics you may have a general area of stress rules in Spanish, discourse markers, non- manual marking in ASL syntax, or language development in Williams Syndrome that are general topic areas that do not, in themselves, constitute research questions. But its a good idea to briefly introduce the reader to the general area in which youll be working. Approximate length: 1 paragraph 2. What previous work in this area has led you to your specific question? In this section, you will set the stage for your research question. Indicate what important problem(s) previous researchers in this area have identified, including what has been discovered or agreed upon. This is essentially a literature review. Then move to what has NOT been successfully solved, or what gaps remain, or what questions have not been asked. This section may include a discussion of research that deals specifically on the question you are posing, or it may be more general, depending on the state of research in your topic area and on the type of proposal you are writing. Approximate length: 1 – 2 paragraph(s) 3. What specific research question(s) do you intend to address about this topic? In this section, you will introduce your specific question(s), making sure to include enough detail so that the reader can get a clear sense of what you want to find out. Approximate length: 1 paragraph 4. Provide a rationale for looking at your research question. Why should we think that your questions deserve to be looked at? Why are your questions interesting? Who will care about the results? This section may seem redundant with section 2, but here is where you put together all the reasons, theoretical and practical, that make your question an important question to ask at this point in the history of research on your specific topic. Approximate length: 1-2 paragraphs 5. Specifically, how will you address your research question(s)? What data will you use? How will you get the data? What methods of analysis will you use? What theoretical constructs will you rely on? What will you do first? What will you do next, etc.? Approximate length: 2 paragraphs – 1 page 6. What is the potential broader significance of your proposal? When you have answered your question, what will we know that we did not know before? Will this enable us to ask or answer any further questions? If so, what are they? Approximate length: 2 paragraphs 7. Bibliography Use a minimum of 5 peer review articles as your sources. Use MLA style.
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