In a 6-10 page paper write a research proposal. The research proposal should have the following components:
I. Research Topic: a broad area within political science you want to examine (e.g. American Politics)
II. Research Focus: a more specific area within your topic (e.g. Congressional Elections)
III. Research Question: e.g. How does an individual’s religion affect the way that they vote?
IV. Hypothesis: e.g. people who self-identify as Jewish are more likely to vote Democrat
Explanation: why did you choose this particular hypothesis?
V. Operationalization: explain what you mean by any complex terms: e.g. my definition of Jewish is…
VI. Literature Review:
You have already looked at and summarized five works for your annotated bibliography, discussing the works as individual pieces. Put the pieces together and discuss the literature on your particular topic in general, while giving specific references to individual works. A literature review is short synopsis of what the existing work has already said on your question/ focus.
A literature review, like a term paper, is usually organized around ideas, not the sources themselves as an annotated bibliography would be organized. This means that you will not just simply list your sources and go into detail about each one of them, one at a time. No. As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider instead what themes or issues connect your sources together. Do they present one or different solutions? Is there an aspect of the field that is missing? How well do they present the material and do they portray it according to an appropriate theory? Do they reveal a trend in the field? A raging debate? Pick one of these themes to focus the organization of your review.
Then use the focus you’ve found to construct a thesis statement. Yes! Literature reviews have thesis statements as well! However, your thesis statement will not necessarily argue for a position or an opinion; rather it will argue for a particular perspective on the material. Some sample thesis statements for literature reviews are as follows:
The current trend in treatment for congestive heart failure combines surgery and medicine.
More and more cultural studies scholars are accepting popular media as a subject worthy of academic consideration.
VII. Choose a research method: survey, interviews, content analysis, case studies, game theory, historical analysis, experiment, participant observation
Why did you choose that method? Why is it the best method to test your hypothesis?
If you had time and resources, how would you actually go about doing the research?
For example, if you were doing content analysis on Barrack Obama, you would choose what kind of material you are going to examine (e.g. press conference speeches, signing statements, etc.), what you are looking for (what words, phrases, ideas you are looking for in the text), and why (why did you choose those particular words, phrases, ideas). What do expect you will find?
If you are doing a survey, how will you conduct your survey (phone, email, in person, online), how will you choose your sample of people to survey (stratified, random, combination), how many people will you survey, what are the specific questions that you will ask in the survey and why did you choose those specific questions. What do you expect to find in the survey results?
VIII. Bibliography/ Works Cited