Change is part of research. That’s how learning happens. Armed with your insight into the ongoing conversation around your topic and mindful of the gaps that offer you an entry point, let’s revisit, revise, and formalize our research proposals. This time we’ll be making plans to gather primary research, exploring the significance our research will have to the field, and determining the steps that will take us to our final research product. Your Revised Research Proposal will build on the work you’ve done in your Initial Proposal and your Annotated Bibliography.
Drawing upon what you’ve learned about the ongoing conversation, create an updated research proposal. Your revised proposal is your gameplan. It’s the map you will follow for the rest of the semester.
What to Include:
- Project Title: This can be just a “working title” for now. Your title should reflect the goals you hope for your research to achieve. It’s nothing to stress about.
- Research Question: The research question from your initial proposal probably needs some revision. Articulate your updated question now informed by your new knowledge about the field. The research question should be appropriately narrowed and should direct your research methods. What scholarly conversations surround the ideas? Have other scholars addressed this topic before? What have they said about it? How will these conversations inform your approach? What will you contribute to the discussion?
- Statement of Significance: Why does your research matter? How does it fit into the conversation? What gap will it fill? What are the implications of this research to your intended audience, to writing studies, to the discourse community you’ve chosen to study? Spend at least 1-2 paragraphs expanding upon the significance of your research.
- Research Design: How will you go about answering your research question? What methodology will you use? This is the space to explain how you will go about collecting your primary research (as opposed to the secondary sources you consulted for your annotated bibliography). How will you gather data? How do you intend to analyze the results of your study?
- Timeline: Create a schedule for yourself. When will each step of your research take place? How will you make sure that you stay on pace to meet the deadlines? Break your research tasks down into the individual steps. It’s advisable to work backward from the course due dates so you portion out the time that each part of your research and analysis will require. Your timeline will demonstrate that your project will not only meet the course requirements but that it can be accomplished in the time we have available to us.
- Appendices: Are there any documents or other information that will inform the audience’s understanding of your proposal? Do you have materials that will be utilized in your research plan? Interview questions, survey forms, informed consent forms, CITI training, etc.? Attach these in an Appendix. If you are uncertain whether something you have needs to be included in an Appendix, just ask!
This Revised Research Proposal is a more formal document than the previous version so the writing and the structure of the final product should reflect that. Still, I am most interested in seeing you demonstrate how your research question has developed and a thoughtful research plan design.
Your Revised Research Proposal should range from 1,200-2,000 words + Works Cited + Appendices
As always, it’s important to be mindful of your audience. For this proposal, I will serve as your primary audience. In this project, you will demonstrate to me the focus, scope, significance, methods, and feasibility of your project. However, you should also think about your future self as a secondary audience. This plan will be your guide for the project and should be useful to you as such.
Different than the previous version of your research proposal, you are required to incorporate secondary sources. Put the research from your Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review to work. Your in-text citations and Works Cited page should follow MLA format.
Tips & Tricks
Be clear. Be specific. Give distinct examples as often as possible. The more specific you can be and the more developed your research plan the more smoothly your project will go.
Keep your research plan within the scope of this class and this project. A well-narrowed focus will keep you on track and set you up for a rounded discussion and eventual analysis of your research findings when we turn to the Scholarly Article.
Remember, you want to take a step beyond simply restating the arguments that others have made. Interact. Put your voice, your thoughts, your ideas onto the page. That’s where the exciting stuff happens.
How Will You Know It’s Good?
The Revised Proposal grows out of the work you’ve done in your Initial Proposal and your Annotated Bibliography + Literature Review. It should demonstrate that your ideas have developed since the first proposal and that you are interacting with the conversation. A successful proposal will establish the niche for your research and express the meaningful steps you will take to bring your project together.
Consider these questions before submitting your Revised Proposal:
- Have I communicated thoughtful engagement with the relevant scholarship that already exists around my research topic?
- What significance will my research have to writing studies? To my discourse community?
- Do I have a clear and measurable plan to collect my primary research?
- Is my research question and plan specific enough to feasibly be completed during the time allotted?
- Have I included any necessary Appendices, including completing appropriate training and collecting participant consent forms before I begin my research?
- Have I met the basic criteria for length and content? (Check your list in The Task section.)
- Have I used MLA format and cited all secondary sources?