The final paper proposal should follow this format and use these headings.
This is a one or two-sentence condensation of the argument that is to be discussed, analyzed and developed in your paper. It should test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two in order to better organize your argument. The thesis statement is the answer to your research question, which you will then defend in your paper. A thesis statement has two parts: a topic and an assertion about that topic.
Research Question: Is Neil Labutte just an interested, objective observer of human behavior or is he really a misogynist who ultimately reinforces sexual stereotypes in his plays and screenplays?
Thesis Statement: Neil LaButte has said that he is simply exposing the stereotypes and negative sexual behavior inherent in the contemporary office hierarchy, but by doing so in his plays, Fat Pig and In the Company of Men, he actually reinforces those stereotypes, encourages negative behavior, and betrays his personal misogyny.
Your thesis statement should express ONE topic for discussion and be specific in nature. Choose a topic that invites discussion and exploration and takes a particular "stand" on the subject matter. It may take a certain amount or preliminary research, and maybe even a bit of free-form writing, to organize your thoughts on your topic and come up with a decent thesis.
Specific objectives and significance of the project:
This part of the proposal deals with why this is an interesting or valid paper to research and write. To be blunt, it should answer the question, "so what?" asked by an potential reader. Why is this an interesting or important topic for discussion? What new insights will be explored? Why are you interested in writing the paper?
Preliminary research is essential to the development of a topic and a thesis. While your general exploration of an author's work may raise questions you would like to explore, it is through preliminary research that you begin to refine your ideas . . . or even find a more specific topic.
A preliminary annotated bibliography is part of this step. You may change your sources as you develop your paper, but you need to start with a strong set of sources to work from.
The annotated bibliography itself will consist of two parts: the citation of the source in correct MLA format, followed by two paragraphs. The first paragraph should provide a general description of your source. The second paragraph should discuss specifically how it is relevant to your thesis. In other words, discuss how you plan to use this source. Does it offer specific claims that will be part of your argument? Does it offer an argument that you plan to position yourself against?
While working on the annotated bibliography, please keep in mind the following:
Do not annotate everything you come across related to the topic. Rather skim the source for relevance and evaluate it for credibility before including it in your annotated bibliography.
Second, you are responsible for evaluating the sources for appropriateness and credibility. If you plan to use a web page that is not part of the library database, please remember that you will need to explain to me how and/or why this source is legitimate.*
Calendar of progress:
This calendar takes the form of a list of the deadlines for the project. This will include the dates as assigned for the proposal, and final submission, but should also include dates that you have set for yourself for the intermediary goals. It should look something like this:
• Date of proposal w/ prelim. annotated bibliography
• Completion of primary research
• Date of first draft
• Date of revised second draft
• Date of finished bibliography
• Due date of the paper
* The description of the annotated bibliography is taken, in large part, from an assignment sheet by Prof. Bryan Trabold, Suffolk University.