A good research proposal should contain the following elements:

1. (Title Page)

Working Title, Your Name, Class information:ENGL 202, time, Spring 2019.


2. Research Question

(beginning page 2)

One sentence that clearly, specifically articulates a genuine, answerable inquiry relevant to the class theme.

3. Conversation Review

Briefly overviews “key ideas and information in the sources you've collected so far.” This is not your bibliography. Rather give a picture of the kinds/groups of resources you intend to work with. You should organize it in terms of conversations, perspectives, disciplines or areas of knowledge NOT source formats such as books, articles, websites, etc. Draw on both your conversation brainstorming AND your individual source evaluations. Use the guidelines for evaluating sources to help make the appropriateness or contribution of each type to your R.Q. evident.

Many students choose to name and number the conversations, ex.

1.) Medical research on cell phone health effects

2.) Legal regulations / testing on cell phone design

3.) Industry perspective (cell phone makers and vendors; Apple, Verizon etc.)

4.) Public media (journalism) addressing concerns, risks, skepticism about industry and current laws).

4. Annotated Bibliography

A properly formatted (use MLA, or another format such as APA) list of sources that you have uncovered thus far and intend to incorporate into your final paper.


Your final bibliography will list sources alphabetically by author. But for the research proposal please GROUP THEM into kinds of information (history, personal stories, academic studies, general websites, interviews, etc.)


In addition to bibliographic information, each source should be followed with a brief description and explanation of how it relates to your topic or how you will use it (2-4 sentences). In effect, the annotation should justify the inclusion of the source and demonstrate that have spent some time digesting it.

5. Primary Research/Fieldwork Statement



Propose the specific activity you will pursue as your primary research. Make clear what information you seek, from whom, and how you will obtain it. The purpose and the “nuts & bolts” should be clear (ex. for a survey, detail how it will be administered, to whom, and samples of the questions).

6. Abstract - (200-400 words)

Overview of the project, specifying: general topic and specific research question (R.Q.). This should summarize what the reader will learn and summarize why it is worth knowing overall (50-100 words) (examples: Learning from Failure, Can Regimes Discourse SN?, Getting a Quick Fix: Wikipedia)

7. Introduction

This is the first page of your full draft; it is NOT the same thing as an abstract. It prepares a reader for your study by: identifying the topic, relevant conversation(s), and research question. It lays the foundation for the research question in terms of: your interest, OR its importance, OR relation to ongoing conversations. The introduction also addresses how your purpose relates to the theme of the digital life. (2-4 paragraphs; note that the introduction to a long essay is always longer than one paragraph.)