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This is a€?Steps in Developing a Research Proposala€?, section 11.2 from the book Successful Writing (v. This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.
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Your first step is to choose a topic and then to develop research questions, a working thesis, and a written research proposal. Writers understand the importance of choosing a topic that fulfills the assignment requirements and fits the assignmenta€™s purpose and audience.
After identifying potential topic ideas, you will need to evaluate your ideas and choose one topic to pursue. In this chapter, you will follow a writer named Jorge, who is studying health care administration, as he prepares a research paper.
Jorge was assigned to write a research paper on health and the media for an introductory course in health care. If you are writing a research paper for a specialized course, look back through your notes and course activities. Once you have a list of potential topics, you will need to choose one as the focus of your essay. Jorge knew that he was especially interested in the topic of diet fads, but he also knew that it was much too broad for his assignment. Another way writers may focus a topic is to conduct preliminary researchResearch conducted early in the writing process for the purpose of exploring a topic and narrowing the focus.. Jorgea€™s freewriting exercise helped him realize that the assigned topic of health and the media intersected with a few of his interestsa€”diet, nutrition, and obesity. Jorge decided to focus his paper on a topic that had garnered a great deal of media attentiona€”low-carbohydrate diets.
Review the list of topics you created in Note 11.18 "Exercise 1" and identify two or three topics you would like to explore further. Your freewriting and preliminary research have helped you choose a focused, manageable topic for your research paper.
Using the topic you selected in Note 11.24 "Exercise 2", write your main research question and at least four to five subquestions. A working thesis concisely states a writera€™s initial answer to the main research question. Jorge began his research with a strong point of view based on his preliminary writing and research. One way to determine your working thesis is to consider how you would complete sentences such as I believe or My opinion is. Write a working thesis statement that presents your preliminary answer to the research question you wrote in Note 11.27 "Exercise 3". A research proposalA brief document that includes a writera€™s main research question, related subquestions, working thesis, and plan for gathering information. When Jorge began drafting his research proposal, he realized that he had already created most of the pieces he needed.
Before you begin a new project at work, you may have to develop a project summary document that states the purpose of the project, explains why it would be a wise use of company resources, and briefly outlines the steps involved in completing the project. Developing a research proposal involves the following preliminary steps: identifying potential ideas, choosing ideas to explore further, choosing and narrowing a topic, formulating a research question, and developing a working thesis.
A good topic for a research paper interests the writer and fulfills the requirements of the assignment.
Writers conduct preliminary research to identify possible topics and research questions and to develop a working thesis. A good research question interests readers, is neither too broad nor too narrow, and has no obvious answer. A good working thesis expresses a debatable idea or claim that can be supported with evidence from research.


Writers create a research proposal to present their topic, main research question, subquestions, and working thesis to an instructor for approval or feedback. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms.
However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. Your choice will help determine whether you enjoy the lengthy process of research and writinga€”and whether your final paper fulfills the assignment requirements. If so, you may benefit from identifying several possibilities before committing to one idea. Although a general topic was selected for the students, Jorge had to decide which specific issues interested him. Use brainstorming or idea mapping to create a list of topics you would be interested in researching for a paper about the influence of the Internet on social networking.
If your topic is too broad, you will find it difficult to do more than skim the surface when you research it and write about it. Preliminary online research and discussions with his classmates strengthened his impression that many people are confused or misled by media coverage of these subjects. He wanted to find out whether low-carbohydrate diets were as effective as their proponents claimed. This information can be useful in understanding trends in a given industry or generating competition. In this exploratory phase of your research, you do not need to evaluate sources as closely as you will later.
For each of these topics, spend five to ten minutes writing about the topic without stopping. Select one or two topics on his or her list that you would like to learn more about and return it to him or her. To work with your topic successfully, you will need to determine what exactly you want to learn about ita€”and later, what you want to say about it. Your main research question should be substantial enough to form the guiding principle of your papera€”but focused enough to guide your research. Check that your working thesis statement presents an idea or claim that could be supported or refuted by evidence from research. However, he knew he also had to explain how his research would be relevant to other future health care professionals.
You may also download a PDF copy of this book (47 MB) or just this chapter (4 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline). Focusing on one step at a time will help you develop a thoughtful, informative, well-supported research paper.
You instructor may provide a list of suggested topics or ask that you develop a topic on your own.
Most writers find that the topics they listed during brainstorming or idea mapping are broada€”too broad for the scope of the assignment. Narrowing your focusThe process of identifying a specific angle from which to approach a broad topic in order to limit it and make it more manageable. Surfing the web and browsing through newspaper and magazine articles are good ways to start. For example, a company may research a competitora€™s prices and use the information when pricing their own product.
Discuss why you found the topics interesting, and learn which of your topics your classmate selected and why.
Before you begin conducting in-depth research, you will further define your focus by developing a research questionA broad, open-ended question that a writer uses to guide the research process.
A strong research question requires you not only to find information but also to put together different pieces of information, interpret and analyze them, and figure out what you think.
Jorge will need to research his subquestions, which address narrower topics, to answer his main question.


Instead, it expresses a debatable idea or claim that you hope to prove through additional research. These statements are useful starting points, but formal research papers use an objective voice. Your purpose in writing it is to formalize your plan for research and present it to your instructor for feedback. In addition, he wanted to form a general plan for doing the research and identifying potentially useful sources.
Both documents define and limit a project, explain its value, discuss how to proceed, and identify what resources you will use. By taking your time and choosing carefully, you can ensure that this assignment is not only challenging but also rewarding. You may also use the list as a starting point to help you identify additional, related topics. Working with an overly broad topic, such as sexual education programs or popularized diets, can be frustrating and overwhelming. You may find it useful to skim a variety of reliable sources and take notes on your findings.
If you read a fascinating blog comment that gives you a new idea for your paper, be sure to check out other, more reliable sources as well to make sure the idea is worth pursuing.
In the research paper, the writer attempts to answer the question thoughtfully., a working thesis, and a research proposal. As you consider potential research questions, ask yourself whether they would be too hard or too easy to answer.
Your working thesis is called a working thesisThe first, preliminary thesis statement that a writer uses while outlining an essay.
In your research proposal, you will present your main research question, related subquestions, and working thesis. Develop questions within each of these major areas, shaping them to fit particularkinds of respondents. Discussing your ideas with your instructor will help ensure that you choose a manageable topic that fits the requirements of the assignment. Each topic has so many facets that it would be impossible to cover them all in a college research paper.
To narrow your focus, explore your topic in writing, conduct preliminary research, and discuss both the topic and the research with others. Determine your main questiona€”the primary focus of your papera€”and several subquestions that you will need to research to answer your main question. You will also briefly discuss the value of researching this topic and indicate how you plan to gather information. However, more specific choices, such as the pros and cons of sexual education in kidsa€™ television programs or the physical effects of the South Beach diet, are specific enough to write about without being too narrow to sustain an entire research paper. As you learn more about your topic, you may change your thinking in light of your research findings. Take care to word questions so that respondents are motivated to answer ascompletely and honestly as possible.5.
Let your working thesis serve as a guide to your research, but do not be afraid to modify it based on what you learn.
It doesnt have to pertaindirectly to what you are trying to find out (although it might), but this initialrapport-building will put you more at ease with one another and thus will make therest of the interview flow more smoothly.8.
Difficult or potentially embarrassing questions should be asked toward the end ofthe interview, when rapport has been established.10. The last question should provide some closure for the interview, and leave therespondent feeling empowered, listened to, or otherwise glad that they talked toyou.



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