Instructions: The final paper in this class is a research proposal. Your research proposal
will mimic the look of a scholarly journal article and include the sections listed below. It
is expected that your final paper discusses the problem you intend to examine and its
importance (introduction), situates your research in the body of literature (literature
review), discusses how you will collect data to examine your research question
(methodology), provides a thorough discussion of your hypothesis (discussion), and
provides a citation for any work that you cite your paper (references). You would also
typically provide a copy of any data collection tools you plan to use in your proposed
research, but we will do that at the beginning of next semester, so you do not need to do
this. Instead, you will need to discuss what you expect to include in your data collection
Your paper should be 15-20 pages (not including your title page, abstract, and
references), 12-point font, 1-inch margins, and must follow either APA or ASA format
(in-text citations, references, formatting).
Your paper should include the following sections (any page lengths below are suggested
and will vary from person to person):
The title page should include the title of your paper and your name. For proper title page
formatting in APA/ASA, please see the resources below from Purdue University.
Your abstract should be approximately 150 300 words and include a summary of your
proposed research project. Abstracts are typically structured as followed:
Introduction a sentence setting up the importance of your topic
Aim of Study connect the topic to the goal of your proposed research and
summarize your research questions
Method of Data Collection include a few sentences about the methodology for
your proposed research
Results/Conclusion this should be a statement explaining your hypothesis
Your introduction should be approximately 1-3 pages in length and include information
about your topic. An introduction sets the stage for the rest of your paper. The goal of an introduction is to hook the reader while explaining why your topic is important and what
your proposed research will include. A good strategy for introductions is to start off more
generally and become more focused as you write your introduction. To do this, you not
only need to map out your introduction, but you also need to hook the reader. Some
techniques for hooking the reader are to include some statistics you think explain the
importance of your topic or having an interesting story (I always like a story at the
beginning). The reason a story is helpful is because it puts a human face on the topic (and
instantly makes it important).
Your literature review should be approximately 4-7 pages and provide a summary of the body of literature associated with your topic. Our goal in a literature review is to
synthesize and connect our sources to summarize and discuss the overall themes in our
sources. We do not simply want to cite source 1 and explain source 1, then cite source 2
and explain source 2, and so forth. Instead, we want to group our sources together and
discuss our sources based on how we categorize the source. It is important that you
properly cite any sources you include in your literature review (and paper overall).
There is not a set number of sources you need to include in your literature (or paper).
However, it is important that you provide an overview discussion of the body of literature
for your topic. I envision that a good paper will include a range of 15-30 scholarly
sources, with many of them being cited in the literature review section.
Your methods section should be approximately 3-5 pages in length. The methods section
is meant to explain, in detail, how you plan to collect data to answer your research
questions. This includes your target population, sampling strategy, data collection
process, and data analysis. Here is a suggested structure for this section:
I. Introduction of section
a. A statement of what your proposal will examine. You can basically repeat the
aim of your study, including the research questions you plan to answer through the data collection process.
II. Target Population
a. This is where you should discuss the target population for your sample and why
your study is including this population.
III. Sampling Strategy
a. This is where you layout exactly how you will recruit people from your target
population. Make sure you show the reader that you understand the technique.
b. You should also include information about how many participants you will
recruit. If you are unsure of an exact number, feel free to use a range when
discussing the number of subjects.
IV. Data Collection Process
a. A research proposal needs a descriiption of the actual data collection. Here is
where you should include that discussion.
b. Describe your data collection tool you should describe the type of questions
we included in our survey, and why those questions are being included.
c. Describe exactly how you will collect data This is the logistics around the data
This section should be 2-4 pages in length. The focus of this section is to provide your
insights into what you expect to find when we collect and analyze our data. Your
hypothesis should be grounded in the body of literature associated with your topic.
This section should include any sources that you cite in your research proposal paper and
should follow either APA or ASA format.