Students who study arts and humanities are often asked to submit their academic writing in the MLA style. This style is a set of rules and guidelines for structuring, writing, and formatting research papers and reports. If you need to prepare a research paper proposal, you should learn the MLA formatting basics and follow them carefully. The guidelines below provide important information about how to write a proposal for a research paper correctly:
Describe the background of the paper, establish the study framework, and divide this section into a few subsections if you need to write about several different ideas. Make sure that you grab the attention of the audience and outline whether your research is quantitative or qualitative.
Explain what approach you’re going to use and why, describe the problem that you intend to address, and answer the question why your study is important and worth the effort. Keep in mind that you should be specific and write about the problem as it’s related to your research topic.
Provide a reasonable explanation why your study should be done, formulate your working hypothesis, and state the questions you want to answer. This section should be brief and clearly indicate the purpose of your writing.
Do a literature study, discuss the information written about the problem, mention controversial issues related to the study subject, and list the sources that you’ll use in order to prepare your paper.
Disclosure your testing hypothesis in this section, provide important details that might help and on the contrary create difficulties for your work, and write briefly what testable theories can support your hypothesis.
Choose key methods and theoretical approaches that will help you prove your hypothesis and achieve the purpose of research. Pay special attention to parameters and indicators that you need to analyze and mention where you can get the materials that you need.
List the methodology limitations that might influence reliability of your study. If you aren’t sure whether you can get enough data for analysis, you should write about it.
Make sure to format all the reference materials in the MLA style in a works cited section.
What follows is a short proposal for a paper on the rapid growth of convenience store chains in America. Note how admirably the proposal takes advantage of the stylistic tips noted in the list on the previous page. Also note that because the proposal author took the initiative to go to a convenience store chain’s business office, she found out that the chain had an historian, who provided her with abundant and excellent data, such as that generated by exit polls, to supplement her library research. This proposal was submitted by an earth science student and received enthusiastic approval and concrete feedback from the professor.
Click here to open a sample proposal within this page.
"The Burgeoning of Convenience Stores Across the American Landscape"
by Janet Lerner
In a little over two decades we have witnessed the emergence of a new concept in retail buying for the American consumer—the convenience store. The United States government defines convenience stores as "food retailer(s) of limited lines in a freestanding sales area of 3,000 square feet, concentrating on selected fast-moving products" (Directory of Supermarkets, Grocery, and Convenience Store Chains, 1990). To this definition I would add that typically the products on the shelves of convenience stores are priced higher than those carried by their competitors.
RATIONALE FOR MY INVESTIGATION
While spreading across the country like politicians on a campaign trail, convenience stores appear to have maintained a fairly distinctive regional character. Uni-Mart and Sheetz are common names for these stores in central Pennsylvania, but in Iowa we find Casey’s, in Massachusetts Cumberland Farms, and hundreds of other names specific to a state or region. I am intrigued by the rapid growth of convenience stores, which, from my early research, seem to retain a local flavor for such a widespread national phenomenon.
Through my library research, I will examine the burgeoning of convenience stores by exploring the answers to questions such as the following:
—How does the rapid growth of convenience stores reflect demographic trends?
—What determines the location of convenience stores? (macro-geography?)
—How have the unrelated markets of food retail and gasoline sales evolved into a common store?
I also plan to interview several key executives at Uni-Mart, including Charles R. Markham, who is the executive vice-president.
Directory of Supermarkets, Grocery, and Convenience Store Chains. CGS, 1990. This is a comprehensive guide to all major and many minor stores and their data (number of stores, size, brief history, top personnel). It also includes maps that illustrate regional concentrations of stores, and provides an overview of the industry today.
Curtis, C.E. "Mobil Wants To Be Your Milkman." Forbes. February 13, 1984, pp. 44-45. This article provides a concise but informative discussion of the combining of the food retail and gas industries.