Title: Give your project a succinct yet illustrative title. A title like “Juvenile Justice Today” doesn’t give enough information to know what you’re studying. A title like, “How the Juvenile Justice System Robs Kids of Their Youth” is more like the title you would give an opinion piece. A research proposal title would be, “Understanding the Role of Juvenile Probation on High School Completion.” Abstract: No more than 200 words. Provide a brief explanation of the project’s purpose, what you will do in your project, and what you hope to gain from your project. (Tip: write this after you’ve written the other components in part 1.) Problem statement: Usually about 2 pages long, this introduction to the proposal lays out the problem that will be addressed. You may select any problem related to sociological study. If you have questions about whether your topic is appropriate, please ask your professor or your TA. Select a topic you want to explore for the entire quarter because part 2 builds on part 1. In the problem statement you will want to use statistics, examples, news articles, or other ways to convince the reader that this is an important topic. Citations to the research literature are appropriate here, but do not use the research literature as a motivator. The problem should be a social problem that can be addressed or understood better through research. Do not use direct quotations from articles or other source materials. Summarize the argument in your own words. Literature review: About 2-3 pages, this part of the proposal lets you explain what research has been conducted on this topic to date and why your particular angle on the issue is warranted. You should cite at least 3 published articles or published books (more is better). Do not cite Wikipedia. Do not use direct quotations from articles or other source materials. Summarize the findings in your own words. Make sure every article or source you cite in the text is also listed in the references. Research questions: This will be about 1-2 pages and will describe the specific questions you intend to ask in your research proposal, along with any sub-questions. Make sure to review the materials from the syllabus on how to ask a good research question! You can add any explanatory information here about why you’ve selected those questions and how they will add to the literature, why they will help to address the problem, and how they will help to inform policy or practice on the topic. If you are proposing a community-engaged research project, it would be important to mention that here. Think about the type of research methods you might want to use in devising your questions. This is all hypothetical, so don’t worry about the reality of actually doing the work! Plan for the best study you could possibly conduct. Reference List: At the end of the proposal you should have a section called References that includes a full citation to every source material you use in your proposal. The list should be alphabetized by last name. If you use two sources from the same author, put the more current one first. We will be using the American Sociological Association’s manual of style for the citations (see link above). Here are some examples:
For a book: Bursik, Robert J., Jr. and Harold G. Grasmick. 1993. Neighborhoods and Crime: The Dimensions of Effective Community Control. New York: Lexington Books.