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Writing a Research Proposal: Delimiting a Thesis Statement

Identifying a Tentative Title

You will first write a research proposal in which you will delimit a thesis statement, explain the process through which you identified relevant sources, annotate your sources and present your provisional findings. The proposal will be returned with comments and suggestions. You will take this feedback into account to revise and expand your analysis.
For your research proposal you should:
1. Write a tentative title.
2. Narrow the topic of your choice down to a researchable question.
3. Do a library search to find at least five articles or book chapters published within the last ten years that are relevant to answer your question. When you read sources think whether what authors are saying will help you to develop your argument and whether different authors offer similar, different or contradictory points of view about the issues. Describe the process through which you found these sources and mention two sources you considered and rejected and present the reasons why you rejected them. You may use the textbook and other class material to narrow down your topic and to find relevant information but they may not be included in this part of the assignment. Use only academic sources and reliable news outlets. Do not use Wikipedia or other sources that are not widely known. Contact me if you are unsure about the quality of a source.
4. Compile an annotated bibliography of the articles and/or chapters you expect to include in your research paper. An annotated bibliography is not a summary of the text. Each annotation should identify important points in your sources and describe how your sources answer your research question and relate to the issues your question raises. Include a complete bibliographical reference for each of the
sources and indicate when you have transcribed the exact words from the source by using quotation marks around those words and the page number from which you quoted them. Also keep track of the page numbers of ideas that you have summarized or paraphrased from your source. This will help you avoid plagiarism in your paper.
5. Based on your question and your sources, list the subtopics you expect to discuss in your paper, and indicate how each of them relate to your question and how each of your sources relates to these points. Include as many subtopics as you need to make your point.Subtopic Relevance of subtopic to questionRelevance of sources to subtopic
6. Present a preliminary answer to your question. This preliminary answer is a thesis statement. A thesis statement is an arguable statement that condenses the argument you will make in the paper. Your thesis statement is not a factual statement about the topic. Neither is it your opinion on the subject. It is an assertive claim that you will then support with evidence from your sources. When writing your provisional thesis statement be sure that you engage with different views about the topic honestly. Identify possible difficulties in supporting your thesis statement on the basis of the sources you analyzed and discuss what additional information you need to overcome these difficulties.

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