Research Proposal Assignment

[ Research Proposals are a persuasive genre of writing that are used in workplaces to service ]

The Research Proposal Assignment is the first time your team works to coauthor a document for the Consulting Simulation (see Professional Writing).

This document establishes the problem you are investigating,
identifies your main research questions, and outlines your plan to investigate those research questions. In this simulation your teacher is playing the role of your manager at a research consulting company. Your purpose is to seek approval from the manager for your team to do further research on a problem.

Note: This is not a proposal to implement a solution at this time. Rather, the goal here is to seek approval to do a bit of textual research and empirical research.

Early in the sequence of assignments leading up to the Group Research Proposal, students first developed a Problem Definition and a pitch. Those were single-authored projects, and that’s a good place to begin developing any idea–i.e., developing proposals based on personal observations and interests and a pinch of preliminary research.

Now, the Research Proposal extends those efforts: students have listened to one another’s pitches based on the pitches and selected the most interesting ideas. In some instances, students have synthesized the efforts of several Client Proposals. In others, students have developed entirely new proposals. Now, based on these efforts to revise, redesign, and edit one of the earlier Client Proposals, they are engaged in their first effort at collaboration–the Group Research Proposal.

Assignment Guidelines

  1. Review the conventions for the Research Proposal
  2. Project Manager: Break down the tasks of the Research Proposal and assign them to team members so that the tasks can be completed in sufficient time to inform the final Research Proposal
  3. Senior Editor: Compile the pieces of work completed by team members and integrate those contributions into a proposal draft.
  4. Team: Collaborate with one another on the final version of the Team Proposal and submit it for review.

Note: The Research Proposal, at a minimum, should have the following sections: Purpose; Summary; Introduction; Visual Representation of the Problem/Stakeholders/Potential Solutions; Proposed Plan of Work (with Gantt Chart); Qualifications, Budget, Bibliography. Other common parts of Research Proposals are not required but welcome:

SectionQuestion it answersNotes
PurposeWhat is the purpose of this proposal?Begin with a clear statement of the purpose of this document (not the Consulting Simulation project in general).  
SummaryWhat content is included in the document?This functions as a short-form version of the proposal. Briefly cover the major elements of the document for readers who might not read anything but the summary  
IntroductionWhat problem(s) does the proposed research project address?Problem statement: Clear, concise statement of problem; 1-3 sentences (move other detail to Background)

Objectives: Concise statement of the problem definition and needed textual and empirical research

Background: Explain how, why, and for whom the problem exists. What circumstances led to its discovery, relationships or events that affect the problem/solutions, etc.

Literature review/sources of information: Draw on your preliminary research to describe relevant literature/research related to this problem/research initiative.

Benefits: Describe potential benefits expected from the research in concrete, specific language.

Scope: Describe what you are going to research and what you are not going to research

Organization: Describe the organizational pattern the proposal uses

Key terms: Define any specialized terms you will use in the report
Visual Representation of Rhetorical SituationProvide a Visual Representation of Problem, Solutions, Stakeholders
Proposed Plan of Work:What work will be done? How will it be done?Organize by tasks to show your boss what research you will doing.

Be specific and detailed. (i.e. if you’re doing interviews, say specifically who you’ll be interviewing, why you are interviewing them, and what you want to find out.) Convince the reader that you know what you’re doing by presenting clear, specific plans with a rationale for each.  
QualificationsHow are you qualified to lead this project?Provide biographical profiles of the members of your team who will be doing the work.  
BudgetHow much will it cost to do this research and deliver our final product?This is the budget for doing this research project (not a budget for implementing the solution.)

For this project, provide one clear sentence describing your budget requirements. In the real world, this section can be very lengthy and detailed, but for our purposes, the budget should be very close to zero.
ScheduleHow long is this going to take?Include a short summary/overview of the task schedule here. Make note of deadlines for major milestones. Provide a Gantt Chart for proposed Textual and Empirical Research 
BibliographyWhat sources did we cite in the literature review?Include a bibliography of the sources you addressed in the literature review formatted in a style appropriate for your field: APA, Chicago, MLA, IEEE  
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Student Learning Outcomes

The Research Proposal Assignment aims to help students

How to Create a Gantt Chart in Excel (Free Template) and Instructions