Sample English Research Paper Proposal Template

Lucy Burrows
WR 123, Prof. C. Agatucci
Research Proposal:  Final Draft
18 April 2002

Research Proposal

1.  Research Topic Introduction

            (a)  The research topic I have chosen for Writing 123 is focused on our mental health system, what services are provided in Bend, and what services are needed.  The research question I wish to answer is:  Homelessness among the chronically mentally ill is a community problem in Bend as well as elsewhere in the United States:  As a community, how can we address this problem?  I have chosen this topic partly as a result of my interest developed from my psychology professor last term.  She mentioned in class that there are some chronically mentally ill (schizophrenic) people who live in Juniper Park.  Additionally, I recently viewed a program on 60 Minutes which profiled a community in Geel, Belgium, that has a unique way to care for the mentally ill in their community.  I was intrigued by the total community commitment and support of the mentally ill.  In Geel, Belgium, you never see someone sleeping on the street.  I wanted to further investigate their system for caring for the mentally ill and see if their methods could be duplicated in other communities, such as in the United States. If some of the methods used in Geel, Belgium, could be used elsewhere, as in Bend, this might have significant implications for the services we can provide in Bend.  I feel as a community, we have a responsibility to care for those who are unable to care for themselves.  I do not feel it is acceptable to have the chronically mentally ill living in our community parks or on the streets. I think some of our social problems are just accepted as part of living in a community and perhaps they are not addressed as they should be.  In my research, I discovered a model program that was started in Long Beach, California, as a result of the frustration and dissatisfaction of family members of mentally ill, as well as professionals and business people who had an interest in improving the mental health system. As a result, the Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California, has received a growing amount of attention and commendation as a model mental health program.  It incorporates a number of innovative approaches that may be valuable in effecting widespread system change.

            (b)  I believe this is a very appropriate topic for Writing 123.  It fits in with the courses I have studied and presents a very real problem in Bend that can be addressed in a research topic.  Until I viewed the program that focused on Geel, Belgium, and their unique methods for providing for the mentally ill, I had not considered other community options for addressing the problem of homelessness of the mentally ill.  It is a very effective method to view problems from other perspectives to arrive at real solutions that may be helpful and appropriate in our community in dealing with this social problem.

            (c)  I intend to use the American Psychological Association (APA) documentation system for this research topic.  When I consulted our textbook regarding citation formats, I learned that “The APA form is a variant of the author-date system of citing sources, used in the field of psychology and often in other behavioral sciences” (Hubbuch, 2002).

2.Research Question and Working Hypothesis

            (a)My research topic is:  Homelessness among the chronically mentally ill is a community problem in Bend as well as elsewhere in the United States:  As a community, how can we address this problem?

            (b)Working hypothesis:  This is a problem not only in Bend, but in large, economically sound communities, as well.  It is a problem that must be addressed as a community to have a working, caring system to provide for the mentally ill who are homeless.  This involves having a community home to provide for these homeless individuals, having a foster care system that supplements a community home and having  people receiving these servicesbe treated with “respect, dignity and without labeling or discrimination of any type” (CareLink, 2002). 

3.  Research Strategy Description

            (a)What do I need to discover in my research?

Assumptions

            In the US you see many homeless people.  In Bend we have homelessness.  My psychology professor stated there are probably five or six schizophrenic people living in Juniper Park.  Our mental health system fails to care for the chronically mentally ill.

Research Questions

            Is our mental health system adequate?  What services are provided in Bend?  Why are the chronically mentally ill homeless?  What services are needed in Bend?

Assumptions

            There is a different approach for the care of the mentally ill in Geel, Belgium.  You never see a person sleeping on the street there.  They seem to have a successful way to care for the mentally ill.

Research Questions

            How do the people in Geel, Belgium care for the mentally ill?  What accounts for the success of their methods?  Would this model be transferable to other places, i.e., cities in the United States?  Bend?  If not, why not?

Assumptions

            The Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California, has received a growing amount of attention and commendation as a model mental health program.  It incorporates a number of innovative approaches that may be valuable in effecting widespread system change.  Dr. Mark Ragins, who is involved with the Village Integrated Service Agency, visited Geel, Belgium, and observed their system of care for the mentally ill in his process of gaining a worldwide perspective of psychiatric rehabilitation.

Research Questions

            What is the Village Integrated Service Agency?  How did it get started and why?  What is it doing differently and what is successful, not successful?  Would this approach work elsewhere?  In Bend?

            (b)  Where will I look for answers?

            I used Ebsco Host database for a web search of key terms:  mental health; mental illness; psychiatric rehabilitation, Geel, Belgium.  I have also searched Google.com.  I have found useful journal articles relating to my topic, including an article in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Summer 2000, outlining and describing the Denver approach which combines “the best rehabilitation models and influences into one system of rehabilitation services.”  Additionally, I discovered information about The Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California, which incorporates a number of innovative approaches in care for the mentally ill.

            I asked the librarian at the COCC library for sources of information about services provided in Bend.  She directed me to the appropriate website and the new Deschutes County Mental Health office located at 2577 NE Courtney in Bend to obtain information on what services are currently available in Bend.  I visited the new office in Bend and obtained a pamphlet of information describing the services currently provided.

            I have requested two books through interlibrary loan, Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation and The Role of the Family in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, which I hope will offer some valuable insight into how the family and community can integrate care for the mentally ill.

            Additionally, I have ordered a transcript of the 60 Minutes program concerning the unique care the community of Geel, Belgium, provides for the mentally ill.  Viewing this program provided me with a new awareness and heightened interest to investigate this topic further.

4.  SourcesConsulted

Anthony, W. A. (2001) Vision for Psychiatricrehabilitation Research.  Psychiatric             Rehabilitation Journal, 25, 1. (Journal Article)

Baxter, E. (1997) An Alternative Approach to Recovery-St. Dimpna.
       mentalhealthconsumers.org.
        <http://www.mentalhealthconsumers.org/connet/cnn/9711/alternative.htm> [Accessed 4 Apr 2002]. (Article)

Fallot, R. D., Ph.D.  (2001)  Spirituality and Religion in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and             Recovery from Mental Illness.  International Review of Psychiatry, 13, 110.  (Journal Article)

Hubbuch, S. M. (2002).  Writing Research Papers Across the CurriculumBoston:Heinle & Heinle. (Book)

Principles of Psychiatric Rehabilitation.  CareLink [accessed 12 Apr 2002]. (Website)

Ragins, M., MD.  History and Overview of the Village.  The Village Integrated Service             Agency. <http://www.village-isa.org/Ragin”s%20Papers/Hist.%20&%20Oveview.> [Accessed 4 Apr 2002] (Article)

Ragins, M., MD. (2000)  A Personal Worldwide Perspective of Psychiatric Rehabilitation.   The Village Integrated Service Agency.            <http://www.village-isa.org/Ragin’s%20Papers/worldwide_perspective.htm>             [Accessed 4 Apr 2002]. (Article)

Shern, D. L.; Tsemberis, S.; Anthony, W.; Lovell, A. M.; Richmond, L.; Felton, C. J.;            Winarski, J.; Cohen, M.  (2000)  Serving Street-dwelling Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities:  Outcomes of a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Clinical Trial.  American Journal of Public Health, 90, 1873.  (Journal Article)

Smith, G., (Executive Director).  Deschutes County Mental Health. N.p.:n.p., n.d.

            [Pamphlet obtained 12 Apr 2002]

Spaniol, L., et al. The Role of the Family in Psychiatric Rehabilitation.  (Book requested through interlibrary loan 4/12/02)

Spaniol, L., et al. Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation.  (Book requested through interlibrary loan 4/12/02)

© Lucy Burrows, 2002

Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences, Articles, and Books

Summary:

This resource will help undergraduate, graduate, and professional scholars write proposals for academic conferences, articles, and books.

Contributors: Martina Jauch, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-02-14 03:33:31

Introduction

An important part of the work completed in academia is sharing our scholarship with others. Such communication takes place when we present at scholarly conferences, publish in peer-reviewed journals, and publish in books. This OWL resource addresses the steps in writing for a variety of academic proposals.

For samples of conference proposals, article abstracts and proposals, and book proposals, click here.

Conference proposals

Beginning the process

Make sure you read the call for papers carefully to consider the deadline and orient your topic of presentation around the buzzwords and themes listed in the document. You should take special note of the deadline and submit prior to that date, as late submissions leave a bad impression and suggest poor planning skills.

If you have previously spoken on or submitted a proposal on the same essay topic, you should carefully adjust it specifically for this conference or even completely rewrite the proposal based on your changing and evolving research.

The topic you are proposing should be one that you can cover easily within a time frame of approximately fifteen to twenty minutes. You should stick to the required word limit of the conference call, usually 250 to 300 words. The organizers have to read a large number of proposals, especially in the case of an international or interdisciplinary conference, and will appreciate your brevity.

Structure and components

A conference proposal will typically consist of an introduction to your topic, which should not amount to more than one-third of the length of your submission, followed by your thesis statement and a delineation of your approach to the problem.

You should then explain why your thesis is original and innovative as well as important and interesting to scholars who might be outside your specific area of research. As Kate Turabian states, “whether your role at a conference is to talk or only listen depends not just on the quality of your research, but on the significance of your question” (Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P, 2007. p. 128). This portion takes up approximately three to five lines, whereas the rest (approximately another third of the total length) focuses on the conclusion that you will arrive at in your essay and exemplary evidence.

Important considerations for the writing process

First and foremost, you need to consider your future audience carefully in order to determine both how specific your topic can be and how much background information you need to provide in your proposal. Larger conferences, such as regional MLA meetings or the ALA (American Literature Association) will require you to direct your remarks to an audience that might not conduct research on the same time period or literary field at all.

Along those lines, you might want to check whether you are basing your research on specific prior research and terminology that requires further explanation. As a rule, always phrase your proposal clearly and specifically, avoid over-the-top phrasing and jargon, but do not negate your own personal writing style in the process.

If you would like to add a quotation to your proposal, you are not required to provide a citation or footnote of the source, although it is generally preferred to mention the author’s name. Always put quotes in quotation marks and take care to limit yourself to at most one or two quotations in the entire proposal text. Furthermore, you should always proofread your proposal carefully and check whether you have integrated details, such as author’s name, the correct number of words, year of publication, etc. correctly.

If you are comparing and contrasting two different authors or subjects, you should clearly outline the process at which you arrive at your conclusion, even in a short proposal. The reader needs to realize the importance and legitimacy of comparing these two themes and get a sense of cohesion.

Types of conference papers and sessions

As a scholar, you may encounter the following presentation types; they cannot be sorted into either the humanities or the sciences. On a general note, however, humanities papers are usually read aloud at a conference, sometimes with the use of audiovisual equipment, and can look at fairly specific aspects of their research area. Social scientists tend to summarize their longer projects and works in order to introduce them to a larger audience and emphasize their usefulness and practical application.

Panel presentations are the most common form of presentation you will encounter in your graduate career. You will be one of three to four participants in a panel or session (the terminology varies depending on the organizers) and be given fifteen to twenty minutes to present your paper. This is often followed by a ten-minute question-and-answer session either immediately after your presentation or after all of the speakers are finished. It is up to the panel organizer to decide upon this framework. In the course of the question-and-answer session, you may also address and query the other panelists if you have questions yourself.

Roundtables feature an average of five to six speakers, each of whom gets the floor for approximately five to ten minutes to speak on their respective topics and/or subtopics. At times, papers from the speakers might be circulated in advance among the roundtable members or even prospective attendees.

Papers with respondents are structured around a speaker who gives an approximately thirty-minute paper and a respondent who contributes his own thoughts, objections, and further questions in the following fifteen minutes. Finally, the speaker gets that same amount of time to formulate his reply to the respondent.

Poster presentations are not very common in the humanities and ask participants to visually display their ideas as either an outline of findings, an essay of several pages length, or, preferably, charts, graphs, artwork, or photographic images.

Reasons proposals fail/common pitfalls

Depending on the conference, acceptance rates of proposals might range from about 10 percent to almost 100 hundred percent of submissions. Accordingly, you will receive some rejections to your submissions in the course of your career, which, in contrast to book proposals or fellowship applications, do not come with an explanation for the rejection.

There are common pitfalls that you might need to improve on for future proposals.

The proposal does not reflect your enthusiasm and persuasiveness, which usually goes hand in hand with hastily written, simply worded proposals. Generally, the better your research has been, the more familiar you are with the subject and the more smoothly your proposal will come together.

Similarly, proposing a topic that is too broad, can harm your chances of being accepted to a conference. Be sure to have a clear focus in your proposal. Usually, this can be avoided by more advanced research to determine what has already been done, especially if the proposal is judged by an important scholar in the field. Check the names of keynote speakers and other attendees of note to avoid repeating known information or not focusing your proposal.

Your paper might simply have lacked the clear language that proposals should contain. On this linguistic level, your proposal might have sounded repetitious, have had boring wording, or simply displayed carelessness and a lack of proofreading, all of which can be remedied by more revisions.

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