a) A "problem statement"
/ statement of topic, which should be at most three sentences.
This isn't easy: to do it well you'll need to have a good grasp
of your topic and how you intend to handle it. One way to think
of your problem statement is as an "executive summary"
of your paper or project. Imagine you are at a party and meet
a person who might either offer you a job or an internship, who
wants to get a sense of your research skills and how your mind
works. He or she asks you about your paper. How would you describe
your project in a minute or less--before someone interrupts and
your opportunity is lost?
b) Statement of the reason
for your choice of topic. In at most 2 sentences, explain
how your chosen topic relates to your interests. Why did you
choose the topic? How does your topic relate to your professional
goals, interests you already have, or interests that have grown
with the independent reading you're doing? This statement very
loosely corresponds to the "need for the study" in
a formal (long form / graduate level) proposal. In the INFORMAL,
small-scale short form of a proposal, a carefully considered
statement of the reason you chose your topic will help to provide
focus. A clear understanding of why you chose your topic will
affect the way you approach your topic and organize your paper.
c) Outline. In simple
outline form, or in one paragraph, explain how you plan to approach
your topic. Based on the reading and thinking you've already
done, and on the bibliography you've assembled, what is the tentative
structure of your paper? This is not intended to be "written
in stone," for the project / paper will grow as you work
on it. HOWEVER, be sure that your outline rests on the strong
foundation of the work you've done so far.
d) The annotated Bibliography
is the final part of a short proposal. By the time you write
your proposal you should have already assembled a solid bibliography.
Look again at the section titled "Assess
your Bibliography" and be sure that your bibliography
is balanced, and has a wide enough range of appropriate sources.
you are certain you have a solid bibliography, you may want to
organize it in sections. If you choose to do this, under the
heading "Selected Bibliography" say something like
"I have organized this bibliography under the following
headings: a) . . . b) . . . c) . . . " And then under your
chosen headings, list your sources alphabetically by author's
your sources in the University of Chicago style (format),
noting that the format for a bibliographic entry differs in format
from a footnote;
an annotation for each entry:
will the source you've listed be useful to you? This might or
might not be obvious. And,
are you going to access the source? Is it your local Library?
Is it online? Will you buy it or get it through InterLibrary