Research Essay

Proposal: A proposal sets out the goals, scope and organization of your research paper so that you can get feedback and assistance. Proposals are helpful in that they allow you to think through the process of your final research paper with little effort. In the proposal, you communicate to the reader, in as much detail as possible, the research question you are interested in and the line of investigation you intend to pursue. The clearer you make this to the reader, the better the help they can give to you, and the better your final paper will be.

Background: Briefly describe the general topic of the proposed paper and explain why it is a significant area to research. Describe your topic in detail, so that the reader has a good idea of what you intend to research and provide some information about why you chose this topic. Explain what you think you already know about the topic and try to identify any preconceived notions or biases you may have.

Research Question: The central research question deals with the issue of the topic you have chosen and the questions you would like to pursue in your paper. It should notbe a statement that describes a phenomenon, but be written to focus on a contradiction, puzzle or dilemma. The question should be framed as a “why” or “how” question.


The research question must be posed so that there are several realistic alternative answers or outcomes to it. These should be outlined. A major purpose of the research paper is to gather evidence for and against each possible answer. In other words, the proposal reflects that you have considered evidence that is counter to and challenges possible answers to your research question. This allows you to weigh and assess the evidence for and against possible outcomes to finally arrive at an overall assessment of your research question. Provide definitions of key concepts arising out of your reading that may be used to develop your paper. For example, look for theories that explain the phenomenon under discussion and the perspectives that are used to examine the issues you have identified.

Annotated bibliography: An annotated bibliography is an alphabetical list of selected academic sources on a given topic. It indicates to the reader the quality and depth of the reading you have done in preparation for writing up the results of your inquiry. Creating an annotated bibliography ensures that you have found adequate scholarly resources, that you have read your sources carefully and have a good sense of how they relate to your topic.

For this assignment you must use a minimum of five (5) sources. Each source should be relevant to the research question. It may not have a direct bearing on your research question, but there may be key ideas or perspectives that can be applied to your inquiry.

Each entry begins with a citation that provides full bibliographic information, formatted to conform to APA style guidelines, as set out in Chapter 10 of the Northey, Tepperman and Albanese text. It is followed by the annotation, your summary of the main points of the article. In three (3) sentences, identify the main argument of each source, the evidence that supports the argument and the major conclusions arrived at. The relevance of the source to your research question should be clear from the annotation.

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