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Writing a Research Proposal

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Writing a Research Proposal
The Proposal
A research proposal is the presentation of an idea that you wish to pursue. A good research proposal presumes that you have already thought about your project and have devoted some time and effort in gathering information, reading, and then organizing your thoughts. A research proposal is NOT a project to be thrown together in one night with ideas off the top of your head. Thus, one might say that the research proposal is a second step, following the selection of a broad topic.
The actual proposal will indicate what analytical question you wish to address. The foundation of a good research paper is a good research question. Just a tree needs a good root system to grow to be strong, a good research paper needs a good analytical question.
What does "analytical" mean? An analytical question can take different forms and no one form is necessarily better than others. What all analytical questions have in common is the fact that they are not merely descriptive. That is, an analytical question moves beyond the "what" and explores the "how," and the "why." A good analytical research paper will use "the what" as part of the answer to "the why." But it is obligatory to address a question beyond the "what." For example, a descriptive paper would ask: "What was Gorbachev's economic perestroika policies?" An analytical paper would ask: "Why did Gorbachev's economic perestroika policies fail?" As part of the paper, you would then review what the policies were, but then you would go beyond that description.
The specific parts of the research proposal are as follows:
1. Statement of the question your paper will answer. Again, remember, the point of your paper is to explain something.
2. Brief literature review in which you review the major works on your topic and indicate what the arguments are.
If you are applying a theory to an...

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