This unit’s assignment, a proposal, requires you to describe a new project or product, propose a work plan, and describe the benefits of your proposed project. Your proposal directly relates to the formal report that you will write in Unit 4: In the proposal, you will ask (or, propose) if you can write about your chosen topic. If approved by the instructor, you will use that topic as the topic of your formal report (our next unit).

In the proposal, you should describe the problem/research question you would like to address, a research plan for exploring the problem/research question, benefits of your proposed project, and a timeline for your project.

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To begin, you will need to choose a topic (a crucial step to succeeding in both this proposal assignment and in the next, formal report assignment). Consider these important points before deciding:

Choose any topic (approval by me, however, is required), but the topic must be a real problem & one that can be addressed locally, such as the UMN community, your neighborhood, your workplace, etc. You should be able to identify the actual problem (where is it? why is it a problem?) and then propose a solution . This proposal should not be an informative report nor in the format typical of an essay from composition class.
Choose a topic that interests you, as you will spend a lot of time researching this topic
Ask a research question that you don’t already have the answer to
Choose a topic that relates to your major–a topic about which your future employer would need information
Your proposal should be written in memo form and addressed to me, your instructor, and any other decision maker of your project. You are responsible for identifying these other, relevant decision makers.

The proposed work plan is also critical, and it translates into your proposed research methodology. Remember that for the analytical report, you are required to use a minimum of seven sources and to triangulate your research by using one of each of the following information categories: electronic sources, print sources, empirical sources (section 14.5, page 401), not electronic encyclopedias, not dictionaries. For example, you may choose to do an interview, read a relevant journal article, and examine a relevant website. Under the category of print sources, you may choose to obtain this information electronically via the University Library site. This still will be considered a print source. As you discuss your research activities, use the terms discussed in the text: electronic sources, print sources, and empirical sources.

The report should contain the following sections:

Introduction: The introduction should describe your topic, purpose and main point. State your research question(s) and/or the problem your project will address. In this section, you should also identify your relationship to this problem. How has it come to your attention?

Current Situation/Problem: This section should outline the specific problem your project addresses. Include any research methods used to provide background on the problem such as electronic sources, print sources, or empirical sources (interviews and surveys).

Project Plan: State the steps you will take to work on the report, such as gathering research, drafting the report, and finishing the report. Remember that you need a minimum of seven sources to complete the project. Identify your research methodology–that is, any interviews or surveys you plan to conduct, as well as print and electronic resources you plan to consult.

Project Benefits: State the reasons your project will be beneficial; address how the project will provide insight on the problem you highlight. No “qualifications” or “costs” need to be outlined for this project.

Project Timeline: Insert a table, Gantt chart, timeline, or other graphic to display the project’s timeline. Then discuss it.

Conclusion: Summarize your progress on the project.

Works Cited: Include a works cited listing of the seven sources you plan to use for your project. These sources may change as you continue your research, but you need to have a preliminary list. Please ANNOTATE three of the sources in your works cited listing.
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