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Proposal Draft Section #1: Research Puzzle, Background, and Significance  A firs

Proposal Draft Section #1: Research Puzzle, Background, and Significance  A first step in any research proposal is to articulate a puzzle that you want to solve and the benefits that would result from solving it. Working through this process helps you focus your inquiry and make sense of your motivations for pursuing it.  Your draft of this section of your proposal will help you move towards accomplishing these goals. You should aim to explain three things:  · What is your research puzzle (or question)? This is the central social/cultural phenomenon that you want to understand. Try to specify this as clearly as possible. Work to move from vaguely worded questions/puzzles to more specific and targeted ones. For example, “What is the relationship between religion and beliefs about abortion?” could become “Do Christian individuals who regularly attend church tend to hold pro-life beliefs more strongly than those who don’t?” Or, “What is the impact of environmental education?” could become “How do students who major in environmental science make sense of their personal responsibility towards the environment?”  ·  What trends in contemporary culture and society make it interesting or important to explore this puzzle? In your discussion of this background, you should situate the puzzle in a broader context in order to help a reader understand how it connects with contemporary events or concerns. Try to be precise here and offer examples as needed. For instance, the first puzzle above might be situated in a background discussion of current efforts to restrict abortion access in Iowa and other states.  ·  How will answering this puzzle accomplish one or more goals of sociological inquiry? When explaining this significance, I would like you to engage with the goals that Ragin and Amoroso identify in chapter 2 of their book. Think about which goal(s) your inquiry is likely to advance, and explain how you think it will do so.  Importantly, I am not requiring you to do outside research for this draft, although you may draw from readings for other courses or news articles if you would like to do so. If you use outside sources, or if you include quotations from Ragin and Amoroso, you should provide in-text citations and a list of works cited. A citation guide appears at the beginning of our course reader.  You should plan to write 2-3 pages (double-spaced, 12-point Times or similar font) for this draft. Make sure to provide yourself with time to develop your ideas. When I grade your drafts, I will consider evidence of careful thinking (focused puzzle, thoughtful description of context, clear reflection on significance) as well as thoroughness (addressing all areas) and correctness of spelling, grammar, and citation.  Please bring your draft to class on Monday, February 11.

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