Research Project

Research Proposal Due:                       April 1

Research Project Due:                           April 15

I want your research project to be on a subject that appeals to you. For that reason, I will require you to identify your topic, develop a Research Proposal, discuss your ideas as a class, and have your final proposal approved by me. In terms of narrowing your topic, I suggest that you find something in which you are genuinely interested.

Here are some general ideas; I sincerely hope you can find texts with which you enjoy working closely.

  • Grammar/Stylistic/Rhetorical Analysis of Technology-Mediated Text (texting, tweets, etc.)
  • Grammar/Stylistic/Rhetorical Analysis of Specific Jargon/Slang
  • Grammar/Stylistic/Rhetorical Analysis of a Professional Style
  • Grammar/Stylistic/Rhetorical Analysis of a Short Story

As you choose the topic for your research, it might help to think of someone who has a unique “voice.” If you choose written work, you might focus on a specific writer, but the dialogue of characters within fiction or drama might also prove fruitful. If you choose spoken work, you might focus on a specific speech or speaker, but you also might consider professional broadcasters (anchormen, play-by-play announcers, etc.).

Research Proposal

The Research Proposal will provide a brief (about 750 words) description of, and justification for, your research project. Do not feel obligated to follow the standard format for an academic paper. In fact, here is a nice outline, complete with headers for you:


You will need to identify a specific topic and a working title for your final Research Paper. I reserve the right to deny any topics if the Research Proposal is poorly defined and/or does not communicate your genuine interest in the topic. In order to facilitate the development of your topic, I suggest that you include the following in your prospectus:

    • A justification of the topic
    • A specific research question
    • If the research question is a good one, the answer to that question can serve as a preliminary thesis.
  • Some main ideas you want to develop and/or a scratch outline

Research Plan:

I won’t require one, but I strongly suggest that you develop a timeline for completion of your research and the project as a whole. Regardless, use the following questions to help you consider how you approach your research:

    • What do you already know about the issues?
    • What information and sources do you want and need to know about the issues?
    • How you will proceed to locate the information you need within the time available?
  • What challenges do you anticipate as you investigate the issues and write this paper? How do you propose to deal with those challenges?


Cite two possible sources as you would for a works cited page in MLA format, briefly summarize those sources, and explain how and why you might use those sources.

Research Proposal Template

Working Title of Researched Argument


Under this header you will develop a description of your topic, including a justification of your topic, and, if applicable, the sections of the book that prompted your interest in the topic. You should also discuss why the topic is important to you by connecting it to your personal and/or professional (major?) interests. In short, this is the section in which you explain why the topic is important, to both you and your audience. It should answer the “So what?” and “Who cares question?”

Research Question/Thesis

You will need to draft a specific research question that your final researched argument will answer. The one-sentence answer to this questions will serve as your preliminary thesis sentence.

Structure/Organization of Final Draft

This is where you might include a scratch outline of your draft. Do not feel like you need to do a formal outline, but you can do so if you would like to.


Here is where you will list the primary source and at least one of the secondary sources that you will use documented in MLA format as they will appear in the works cited. After each source, you must include a brief summary of each source and a brief discussion of how you will use the source.

Challenges (Specific to Your Topic)

What challenges do you expect to confront. This is also the area where you might identify specific counter arguments and opposing arguments.

Timeline (Due Dates)

Use this area to give yourself due dates for accomplishing specific tasks. Feel free to use the class schedule as a general guide, but you will want to include more due dates specific to your plans.

Research Project

Regardless of your topic, you must engage in a rhetorical analysis of the message(s) you are analyzing, particularly if you choose one of the non-literary approaches. Consider the occasion, purpose, audience, etc. of the message. Then, what kind of grammatical and stylistic choices are present in support of the rhetorical analysis?

The final paper should be about 1,500 words and include three to five sources documented parenthetically and in a list of works cited in proper MLA format (unless I approve another format). At least one of the sources will be the primary source that you will be analyzing. Feel free to use graphics, images, etc. but make sure that they are properly documented and do not interrupt the reading of your paper.

Research Project Goals/Objectives

Nonfiction (including “social media” analyses)

    • Why did the author choose to place specific “moveable” elements where they are located in a sentence? (Consider context.)
    • How and why do short and long sentences work where they do?
    • How and why are certain ideas combined?
    • How does each grammatical and/or stylistic choice work for the piece’s specific audience?
    • How does each grammatical and/or stylistic choice contribute to the piece’s purpose?


    • How does dialogue reflect what we know about specific dialects and/or purpose and audience?
    • Why did the author choose to place specific “moveable” elements where they are located in a sentence? (Consider context.)
    • How and why do short and long sentences work where they do, especially in expository and descriptive passage?
    • How and why are certain ideas combined?
    • How does each grammatical and/or stylistic choice contribute to the piece’s theme?
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *