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The Research Proposal Paper is your opportunity to present to me, your Instructor, the topic you most want to do your final research paper about.

The Research Proposal Paper is your opportunity to present to me, your Instructor, the topic you most want to do your final research paper about. However, you will have to present your case to me for doing this topic. The proposal will tell me what you already know about the topic, what exactly you intend to prove and how you intend to do it, give me examples of articles and books you have found on the topic already, and offer up two additional topics in case the main one you propose is not acceptable. This is not a long paper, only three or four pages, but it is the important first step in getting your topic approved so you move forward with working on your research paper the rest of the semester..   Your Research Proposal should present the topic you most want to do for your final research paper, your favorite topic that you hope will be approved and accepted by your Instructor.  However, you will also need to identify two other topics that you MIGHT do if the first topic is unacceptable for some reason.  You may decide, as you do your research and get further into the semester, that you simply don’t have enough information or the topic is not working out the way you had hoped.  For that reason, this proposal will have a section that will identify other “backup” topics that you also might like to do.  If your main topic is not acceptable, I will identify another topic from your paper that you can do.  Your research paper will be written in MLA format.  Each section of the paper will have a subtitle, centered and in italics.  The list of sources you have gathered will be done in MLA format as well. You will need to consult Purdue Owl on how to site your sources using the new MLA 8 format.  Your Research Proposal will be divided into four parts. Each part has a specific purpose toward presenting a convincing case for you doing this particular research topic.  Section One:  Personal History and Knowledge of Topic  Your purpose in this section is to answer several questions to explain your interest in and knowledge of the topic you will be writing about.  You will identify the topic you want to write about, explain why you are personally interested in the topic, explain what knowledge and experience you have with the topic before starting your research, what you hope to prove through your research, and also discuss how much knowledge you believe your readers will have of the topic that you are proposing.  Since this is an argumentative paper, you will explain what it is you hope to prove in your final research paper.  Also, since your research paper is written for a general audience, you want to anticipate what they may or may not know about the topic.  Is it a topic widely covered in the media and well known to everyone?  Is it an obscure topic only people with a specific interest would be aware of (Football fans, people who study the American Civil War, Star Wars fans) and most people may need help understanding the topic?  You should use personal stories to explain why the topic is of special interest to you or to demonstrate what knowledge you have of the topic in advance.  Your tone should be professional and formal, but you do want to explain why the topic excites and interests you.  Some of your topics are ones of national interest and debate, so you may not have specific personal stories to tell, but you can talk about how long you have been interested and through what media (television, internet, books) you have kept informed about the topic.  The second section of the proposal, “Purpose of Research Paper”, will explain for the reader exactly what you propose to prove in your research paper and state clearly your thesis and what arguments you might give to support and prove your thesis.  For example, if you were arguing that the American war in Iraq was unjustified, you would explain the arguments you would put forward to prove that thesis (Iraq did not attack the United States, there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, and the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan stretched our military resources and troops too thin).  You would explain how you limited the topic by time (instead of covering sexism throughout history, you are looking at sexism in the 1970s).  How you limited the topic by geography (instead or covering sexism in the United States, you are looking at sexism in Indiana only).  Have you limited the topic by special circumstances (Instead of covering sexism in the workplace, you are looking at sexism in hiring coaches and staff in professional football).  What questions do you have that will need to be answered through research before you can effectively prove your thesis?  What arguments from the other side will you likely have to overcome?  The third section is “Current Research on Topic”.   First, you should look through the library database for books on your topic, and you should look through the many ISU databases for articles on your topic from magazines, journals and newspapers.  I am specifically assigning you to go to the library first and search under books and articles before going to Google or the internet.  Four of your research paper sources have to be from books and professional articles, so this is important. Once you have done that, you can also look online for professional websites devoted to your research topic.  It is very important that you have some idea of what sources are out there before you begin.  If there are very few sources on your topic, you may wish to abandon the topic for another one.  In this section, you will list the sources you intend to use for your research (books, professional journal articles, documentaries, government websites, etc.) in MLA Works Cited format.  This is NOT a Works Cited page, but you should list your sources in citation form. This is not a written out paragraph, like the first two sections, but a list of sources you are considering using.  You are not committed to using these sources in the final paper, but this will show you have done some initial research into the topic, You are just listing any sources you have found already that look promising.  Again, as you move forward, you may find better sources and abandon some of these, but this list should include the sources you have gathered up to this point. This will LOOK like a Works Cited page, but it is not.  That is why it is okay to have a section after this one. This looks “wrong” to a lot of students, but this is the third section, and there is one more to follow.  The fourth section is called ‘Other Potential Research Topics” and will give me two other possible research topics that you might do should the first research topic fail or not work out for some reason.  You want to explain clearly what you would seek to prove and what arguments you might put forward.  It should be brief, but you will need to write a short paragraph on each topic (don’t lump them together).  You will write this out in several sentences and not just use shorthand phrases like “Climate Control” or “Animal Cruelty”.   You would say “Another topic I would enjoy doing would be to argue that Climate Change is real and a serious threat to your world because of rising sea levels, more intense storms and flooding, and the danger of extinction of animal and insect species”.  Or, you would say, “I would also consider arguing that the laws punishing people who commit acts of animal cruelty should be much tougher than they are now. I believe that jail time and fines should be required for anyone who tortures or kills a domestic animal.”  This section will end your essay.

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