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In the final project for this course you will create a 6-8 page Research Proposal for a longer paper you will write during LIB 495: Liberal Arts Capstone. (See the Week 1 Introduction for more information on the connection between LIB 356 and LIB 495.) Your research project must have a clearly defined original thesis that answers a significant research question with potential to advance knowledge in the humanities. In other words, you will need to go beyond what others have written. Build on what other scholars have written, and use their research to support your own viewpoint.
Your research proposal should include an explanation of your topic, an overview of what other scholars have already written about the topic, a preliminary statement of your own original thesis about the topic, and a brief outline of the reasons and evidence you plan to give in support of your thesis. You should follow the following outline.
- Revised paper topic from the Week 2 Assignment (1-2 pages).
Follow the same format from Week 2: “I am studying _____ because I want to find out _____ so that my reader can better understand _____”. Don’t forget to also explain what problem you are trying to solve and what the consequence of not answering your research question would be, along with any potential practical applications of answering the question.
Be sure to revise your topic based on the feedback you received from your Instructor and your classmates. Remember that your topic must be in a humanities field. You may use social science to supplement your research, but you must primarily approach your topic from the perspective of one or more humanities disciplines. (See the Week 2 Introduction for more information on the humanities.)
- Review of Current Scholarship (3-4 pages).
Give your evaluation of the current scholarship about your topic, and justify how your research will attempt to advance human knowledge about the topic beyond what others have previously written about it.
Drawing on your Annotated Bibliography assignment from Week 3, evaluate what other scholars have said about your topic. You may need to summarize some of your sources, but don’t simply summarize your sources one-by-one like you did in your Annotated Bibliography. Rather take a step back and look at the big picture. You should think about the following sorts of questions and address any that seem relevant to your topic. (You don’t need to answer all of these questions. Only address those that seem relevant to your specific case.) Are there certain themes you see recurring throughout your sources? Do these themes seem to be trending in a certain direction over time as you compare older and newer sources? Is there an emerging consensus toward which most scholars seem to be pointing, or are there two or more schools of thought that seem to reflect divisions in the scholarly community’s ideas about the topic? Are there aspects of the topic that have not been adequately addressed by previous scholars, either because these aspects have been misunderstood or ignored entirely? Are there problematic assumptions that most scholars make when addressing this topic? Are there older ideas that seem to have been forgotten by newer scholars, which you think might be helpful in solving current problems? How will your research help us understand the topic in new ways? What will you do differently than previous scholars have done? Etc.
Note that this section is similar to what’s called a “literature review”. For more guidance on how a literature review differs from an annotated bibliography, consult the Ashford Writing Center handout here https://awc.ashford.edu/PDFHandouts/Writing_a_Literature_Review.pdf. The overall purpose of this section is to show how your research fits into the larger conversation that scholars have had about your topic. See thisAshford Writing Center handout: https://awc.ashford.edu/PDFHandouts/Entering_the_C…
- Thesis and outline (2-3 pages).
Building off your workshop discussion from Week 4, state your overall thesis (i.e., the main claim that answers your research question) and summarize the argument you will use to support this claim. Outline all aspects of your argument, including each claim and sub-claim, along with each claim’s reasons, warrant, evidence, and response to alternative viewpoints (p. 116-117).
You only need about one sentence for each claim or reason. Remember that you are not writing your whole paper yet. You are just giving an outline. You will explain all the details and provide documentation of the evidence in the final paper, which you will write in LIB 495.
The Research Proposal
- Must be 6 to 8 double-spaced pages in length (not including title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include a separate title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’s name
- Date submitted
- Must use at least 10 scholarly sources in addition to the course text.
- Must document all sources in APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include a separate reference page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.