A research proposal is an overview of the argument contained in your working thesis statement sometimes called a hypothesis. It is not based on research but on what you already know or think you know about your topic.
If done well a research proposal will almost serve as a preliminary outline of your paper. It offers your working thesis (hypothesis) and explanation which should list the points you want to make. The sub-points are the main points of your paper. And the objections represent theother sideof the argument.
This is a good time to reconsider the initial thoughts you had earlier in the module about your thesis (or hypothesis): do you need to rewrite it? If you have trouble filling in the sections below an improperly formed thesis might be the problem.
The research proposal has 5 parts:
Working Thesis: a one-sentence paragraph; no introduction is necessary.Explanation: a statement that includes the points you think you will be discussing in your paper.Subpoints: each sub-point explains more fully a point mentioned in your explanation.Possible Objections: a brief discussion of the oppositions point of view.Reply to Objections: your brief answer to the opposition.
Your research proposal should look like the five parts listed above. The number of sub-points may vary but if you have only two you may not have enough material for a good paper. For a simple undergraduate paper limit your sub-points to 4 or 5.
The point of this exercise is to give you a focus to force you to think about your topic independently of any research you may do or have done. This will probably serve as a basis for your paper although it is quite likely that once you begin your research some of your ideas will change. That is the point of research: working to find an answer to a question!
Although your early research may have given you some great information it is not necessary to rely on research for a good research proposal: you are simply outlining the argument that you expect to make in your final paper.
A good research proposal follows the standard format described in this module.