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Writing Across the Curriculum

FALL 2005 WORKSHOPS

Professor William Burgos
COS 50

Research Proposal Guidelines

 

One of the goals of Core Seminar is to introduce you to the fundamentals of doing research and presenting your research in a formal essay, which includes proper citation of sources. The research paper is also an opportunity for you to explore in depth a topic of your own devising.

Because the sub-theme of our course focuses on Utopia/Dystopia, I would like you to select for your research project an example of what you would argue is a contemporary utopia or dystopia.  To get started, you should think about the different categories of utopia/dystopia that we’ve discussed:  economic, social, political, religious, technological, or any other category you might think of.  What would be a contemporary utopia/dystopia that falls within the category you choose?

Begin by choosing the contemporary utopia/dystopia you want to research, and finding out if there are enough resources available for you to use.  Once you’ve ascertained if you have enough material to base your research on, you will be ready to write your research proposal.  Please prepare your proposal using the following guidelines.

  • The proposal must be at least three pages in length. It must be typed and follow the basic format as outlined in the format sheet (or see the Hacker style manual).

 

  • The goal of your research essay will be identify an example of a contemporary utopia or dystopia, and to argue why you think it is utopian/dytopian. For the proposal, however, you don’t need to have worked out your argument.  The purpose of the proposal is to outline the topic you’re interested in researching and how you think you might approach it.

Begin your proposal by identifying the contemporary utopia/dystopia you would like to write on.  What definition of utopia/dystopia will you work with in your essay? What readings from the Core Seminar Anthology would be relevant to your topic?  (You don’t have to limit yourself to the assigned readings.  Look around in the reader and see if there are any texts you might want to use as a resource.) What concepts or key terms would you use from the readings to help you develop your topic?  What other sources besides the CSA do you think will draw on to develop your topic?

  • Include in a separate section marked “Research Questions” at least 4-8 questions that you believe might arise during the course of your research and that you could attempt to answer in the paper you will write.

 

  • You must include an annotated bibliography listing at least two books, two articles (from a newspaper, magazine, special journal, etc), and two journal articles found through the library’s databases related to your topic. An annotated bibliography is a list of sources along with a description and brief assessment of each source.
  • Unfortunately, there is no information in A Writer’s Reference on how to prepare an annotated bibliography.  For this information, I refer you to two useful websites:

When you get to the web pages of these sites, type in “annotated bibliography” in the “search” box, and you will be taken to the appropriate links.  These sites are extremely useful for other issues related to writing.  Explore the sites, and make use of them.

 

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