Professor William Burgos
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.