Back to the research paper page

Before you begin your research paper this year, you will need to submit a proposal, where you try to convince the board (me) that your topic is a worthwhile pursuit.
  • If approved, you may continue onward with the research process, taking notes and creating a paper.
  • If rejected, you'll have to revisit the proposal and resubmit it until I am convinced that your proposal is worthwhile.
thumbs_up.jpg The easiest way to understand the proposal may be to see the example below.

To find out more about each section of the proposal, click on the link.


Esther Jarndyce
Mr. Sheehy
Red 1 Eng 10
2 February 2010
Research Proposal

Topic: How is Evin prison in Tehran, Iran, a significant thing in the world?

Research questions:
  • Where is Evin and who gets held there?
  • What kinds of torture were (are?) inflicted at Evin?
  • What is the history of Evin--how did it get started?
  • Why hasn't it been shut down?
  • What can be done about Evin? (Should something be done about Evin?)

I have three sources so far:
  • The Harrison article from the BBC news can give me a basic overview of Evin.
  • The opinion article from the New York Times will show the perspective of a foreigner held prisoner in Evin for quite a while.
  • Finally, the opinion article from the National Review could let me share one perspective on what other countries might do in response to places like Evin existing.

Working Thesis:
Evin is a notorious prison in Tehran, Iran that should remind citizens around the world that freedom is not a world-wide norm.

CRACR on any non-library sources

(This is the BBC article by Harrison.)
  • Current: The article was written in 2006, which is sort of a problem if I want to talk about current problems, but I can still use the article's information about the basics of what Evin is like.
  • Reliable: The writer went into Evin herself and works for a reputed news source (the BBC) so I trust her authority.
  • Accurate: The information she shares is similar to what I've read in Nemat's book.
  • Complete: To my eyes, she's not hiding anything.
  • Reasonable: The article is very factual--the reporter is trying to tell us simply what she saw without slanting it.

Works Cited Page
This information needs to go on a separate page and be formatted according to the standards explained here.

works cited sample.jpg

Grounds for rejection

The board of approval may reject your proposal for any number of reasons, but these are the most common:

  • A weak source
    • Can be rejected even if two of the three sources are strongexternal image 2191404675_df9fc55ba5_m.jpg
  • A lack of purpose
    • No thesis or research questions suggests you have little direction or understanding of what you are doing and that the final product will be lousy
  • Improper format
    • With research, formatting counts. You may have to redo it to convince the board that you are capable of producing an actual research paper.

Why do this?

Choose your metaphor:
  • I am your boss.
    • I am asking you to spend some of the company's time doing some research and then submitting to me a report.
  • I am your family.
    • You are suggesting a vacation and are trying to convince me that you can put together a great trip to a particular place.
  • I am your potential customer.
    • You are trying to convince me that you can offer me a great solution to my problem and if I pay you lots of money you'll give me a great service.

Whichever metaphor you choose, whichever situation you might end up in later in your life, you'll engage in what we call the research process, and that often begins with the process of making a proposal.

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