The other option is to propose a policy about your topic. This may be because you have found a gap in policies about the safety, research, or value of your particular topic, and action needs to be taken. Whether you chose the policy or research proposal, the focus of your paper is the construction and content, not so much your ability to process scientific fact or methodology. Again, the focus is how you use CSE.
The proposed research (or policy) will be on some aspect of the theme you have been pursuing all semester. You will compose and document your proposal in the style established by the Council of Science Editors or CSE. This style is used primarily by the natural scientists (biology, zoology, etc.) The CSE style allows for variations of documentation — name-year system, citation-sequence system, or citation-name system. The name-year system is similar to APA, with which you are familiar, but for this proposal use the citation-sequence system in which references are numbered in the order by which they appear. This is the only assignment we will do in CSE and you will need to refer to the CSE style section of your textbook (see pg 623).
Your proposal will be organized with a title page, an abstract, a main body, and a cited reference list. See page 241-248 of your An Insider’s Guide text for details and a sample proposal. I expect you to include an abstract, (unlike APA the abstract simply precedes the introduction, it is not on a separate page) and list of references (CSE calls it Cited References).
You will begin your main body with an introduction that briefly introduces the problem, identifies the exigence behind it, lays out the purpose and significance of the study, and concludes with research questions and a hypothesis. The introduction will also provide any other background information that is relevant and a very brief literature review.
The next part of the proposal is a section which is variously called Statement of the Problem or Aim of the Study—in any event the purpose should be clear. You must outline why this research needs to be done. This involves more than just stating the purpose of the proposed experiment as mentioned in the Introduction. This section answers the question “Why do this research?” There are basically four approaches you can take to this question, all of which spring from a good literature review:
a. Your hypothesis is a counter claim. You believe that some idea or theory is wrong, and you wish to disprove it.
b. There is a gap in scientific knowledge or policies about your topic and it must be addressed (you can discover gaps in knowledge by conducting literature reviews).
c. There are unanswered questions which have been raised and which must be addressed (again the literature review would tell you this).
d. Your experiment is continuing a tradition (which should be clear from the lit review), or your policy is fixing an obvious and apparent issue within the field
Between these two sections – the Introduction and the Statement of the Problem, the reader should be able to come to a conclusion about the worth of the experiment. Other subheadings you can use as needed for clarity’s sake are Purpose, Hypothesis, and Definitions. However, these sections are not sufficient to argue for the feasibility of the experiment. In other words, the introduction and statement of the problem sections may show that the experiment is a good idea, but the question of whether it can be done with the expertise, tools, time, and knowledge at hand has not been addressed.
So, to answer that question, the next major section is the Methodology. Here is where you will explain the steps of the experiment and argue for its feasibility. Since we are not really doing an experiment, and I am hardly qualified to judge in any case, you may be as creative as you like here—simply suggest something that might be reasonable. Some of the possible subheadings here are Research Design, Instrumentation, Data Collection Procedures, Protection of Human Rights (if you are using human subjects), and Budget. Feel free to make up budget figures – their accuracy is not the point of this assignment. In any event, these elements are important for the audience to judge the feasibility of the experiment. Can it be afforded? Do the tools exist, etc.? Don’t worry about the details here – simply demonstrate that you know what would go in these sections.
Finally you will have a Discussion section which is your last opportunity as the author to sell your experiment. You might consider it your last “sales pitch.”
This assignment is worth 50 points. There are no minimum words but do not exceed 1000 words. You must provide 3 appropriate citations and references.
Your paper must…
• Not exceed 1000 words. It must have a clear hypothesis, purpose, and reason.
• Contain a brief literature review with a minimum of 3 credible and appropriate sources for this study. Social media and content sharing sites (Wikipedia, e-How, etc.) are not acceptable as sources.
• Have a descriptive title which highlights the nature of the study and the perspective you are taking.
• Cite the sources for any graphics. Direct quotations are not required but may be used if desired.
• Contain unified, coherent, well-developed paragraphs with strong topic sentences, with clear and logical transitions between the paragraphs. Headings may be used if desired.
• Use proper CSE documentation and manuscript format, to include a title page and a reference list.
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