In order for this process to work, you must imagine that you are applying for the rough equivalent of an honors term—a semester devoted to a major research project. Similarly, you could imagine the kind of proposal you might write for a research project such as a master's thesis. In other words, you need to imagine that what you are proposing to do will be a significant amount of future work, and that you are asking for the go-ahead to pursue that work. For our purposes, imagine that your proposed research would result in a thesis or article in the 15,000-35,000 word range (50-100 pages).
The fact that you will not actually have to do every bit of that research in this class is no reason for taking the proposal less seriously. In fact, you may choose to do just that in a future class (or even in a graduate program. Above all, however, the skills you will build in the process will stay with you for the rest of your life. Take it seriously.
Your proposal will consist of six key sections (five of which you will complete). These will be due in draft form throughout the second half of the term. By the last day of finals, your polished revision (final draft) will be due. Pay close attention to the details below (and we will discuss them repeatedly in class).
Research Proposal Sections
*1. Executive Summary
*2. About the Author
*3. Historiography (Literature Review)
*4. Writing Sample (the draft "lead" of your final project)
5. "Chapter" Summaries (minimal in HIST 190 this semester)
6. Annotated Bibliography (not due in HIST 190 this semester)
*Very important for HIST 190 this semester.
1. Executive Summary (1,000-2,000 words; about three to five pages).
This is where you make the case (and argument) for your proposed research. Every section of a proposal is important, but few readers will continue beyond the executive summary if it is not compelling. Here is where you describe your proposed research and provide your approach to the topic.
Just sketch a rough outline of the rest of your 50-100 page final project, telling where your research project would go. We will discuss this in class, but (this semester) it is not central to your work. Just give a sense of what the final project would look like.