“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose,” according to Zora Neal Hurston, an award-winning writer. That’s a good way to think about it, but what

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose,” according to Zora Neal Hurston, an award-winning writer. That’s a good way to think about it, but what if you are not sure about your purpose or what you are curious about? The next activity, the research proposal, will you figure that out. A good research project begins with a . You may need to know what it would take to make a change in your personal life or a new way of approaching a problem or issue you or someone you know is experiencing. You may need to find the answer to a burning question about history, society, or life, or you may simply need to find out more information about a topic that interests you. Or, you may need to know a new skill or concept. Academic research projects have led to such diverse discoveries as the connection between pesticides that are used in traditional farming methods and cancer and the best way to change a bad habit. The process you are going to learn in this section of the course is the same process that was used to uncover the secrets of metamorphosis in the field of lepidoptery (the study of butterflies and moths) and the best methods for training to win the Tour de France bicycle race. Research provides the foundation for all academic disciplines and the basis for all academic writing. So, that is why, no matter what your area of study, it is important that you learn how to construct an academic argument and find credible information to provide reasons and evidence for your assertions. To begin thinking of a research topic, make a list of things you need to know. Here are a few questions to get you started: Once you identify a list of possible things you need to know, look over the list and think about which of those topics would interest you enough that you could study the topic for the next twelve or thirteen weeks. For instance, let’s say you want to study the Bible. You cannot choose a topic that explores what the author of the Bible intended if you believe the author was God; however, you could research who were the people who wrote the Bible and what was the historical context of different versions. You could research the different beliefs of different religions such as the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism, or Buddhism and Sufism, but you cannot research which belief is correct, because that is based on someone’s beliefs or faith, and that cannot be verified through academic studies or academic research. In fact, you cannot write about any topic from a moral perspective because morals are based on beliefs. Research papers are based on facts and verified data that originated from well-designed and administered studies at universities. Therefore, you cannot write about the moral issues related to abortion or your personal beliefs about global warming. In fact, if you decide on a topic concerning religion or some other controversial subject, Once you have decided on a possible topic, the next step is to frame what you need to know in such a way that you have a question or two you can use to begin your research. For example, if you need to make better grades, you might ask, “How can I improve my study habits?” Or you might ask, “Which study habits result in the best grades?” The questions you propose will determine your direction and focus, so be sure to complete the activities in this lesson that will you determine how to write good questions for research. You may find this Sinclair Library tutorial on ful, as it explains how to learn background information about your topic and when to narrow or broaden your scope. And click on the following links to access two presentations on writing good research questions. The first presentation is a YouTube video from George Mason University titled ” .” The second prezi is from Paul Cagio. s prezi talks about Both prezis provide valuable information to you write a good research question, and as Cagio says, “Good research starts with good research questions.” Once you have determined the for the research and you want to ask, you are ready to write the Research Proposal. The provides an opportunity for exploring and thinking about a topic before actually committing to a specific research domain. This document can be revised many times as you go along, but . It should spell out the main research questions and concerns, and it should be . Here is a link to you with ( . Note: When you click on the Sample MLA Paper link, a new window will open and you can easily see the instructions.) The first section of the research proposal . In other words, what happened that made you want to learn more about this subject? Did you see something on television that sparked your interest? Did something happen to you personally that caused you to want to know more about this topic? Does this topic affect someone you are close to? Or is there some other reason you the information you are asking questions about? Use first-person narrative (in other words, you can use “I”) to explain what motivated you to inquire about this particular topic. Include enough details to the reader understand the importance of this topic. You might want to include excerpts from conversations you have had about this topic. You could set up the scene in which you first became interested in the topic. This section should be at least one or two well-developed paragraphs. It should demonstrate your strong interest in the topic. If you don’t have a story about the topic, then it would probably be better to find a topic for which you do have a story. The second section of the Research Proposal addresses the affective aspects of the topic you are researching. This section is concerned with your current attitudes and ideas. Understanding and articulating your own thoughts, beliefs, and biases will you become a more objective and thus more effective researcher. In this section, simply begin by answering the following four questions. The answer to each question should be one to two well-written sentences. This section of the proposal will include at least eight sentences, one or two for each question. 1. How do I about this topic? 2. do I about this topic before doing the research? 3. do I about this topic? 4. do I already about this topic? The third section of the proposal discusses what you still need to know about your topic. is that you are hoping to learn? Where do you think you will start to find out the answers to the questions? Be sure to list at least two good research questions you have about the topic. Once you have drafted the Research Proposal, post it in the . Keep the Research Proposal in front of you as you work on the project and refer to it often. It will you stay focused. If you find your research is taking you in a different direction than you originally planned, revise the Research Proposal to fit your new focus. Let your instructor know that you are changing your focus a bit, and resubmit the new proposal in the same drop box as the first one. Click on the following link for formatted correctly:

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