Research Paper Proposal Instructions
PROPOSAL FORMAT REQUIREMENTS
Program: Microsoft Word (For submitting to Safe Assignment. Do not submit as .RTF or Pages.)
Length: One to two pages
Line Space: Double-space all (except for your name & assignment name at top of first page).
Margins: All should be one inch. Please do not right justify.
Font: Times New Roman, 12-point
Citations: This proposal does not require citations, but if you include any, they should be in APA style.
A. For this proposal, you will select TWO possible paper topics addressing problems related to diversity and/or identity in organizations, and rank them in order of preference. This is to avoid duplication in the class. You will receive your first choice if it meets the criteria of the assignment and has not been duplicated by another student. In the case of duplication, the student who best describes the proposed paper topic will receive that topic.
B. Remember that you are examining some type of problem related to identity or diversity. Your project should not simply celebrate how great some organization is. Here are a couple of examples of the types of topics you could propose:
1. How a particular social identity or social group is treated within a particular type of organization
2. How one particular organization has dealt with diversity in terms of its staff, customers, members, etc.
(Remember that an organization is not just a business, but could also be a social club, a government agency, a nonprofit organization, a school, etc.)
C. Take into consideration: You are required to conduct at least one interview for the full paper, so this should be considered as you are selecting your topics. Your interview subject could be an academic expert on the topic, or a person who has had personal experience with some aspect of your topic. For example, if your topic involves discrimination against a particular group of people, you could interview someone who has faced this discrimination. If you are examining diversity in a particular organization, you could interview a member of that organization who has the power to make policy decisions about diversity, or a member who has witnessed the effects of diversity or policy in that organization first-hand.
D. Take into consideration: In the full paper, you must relate your topic to academic theory by including at least two citations from scholarly sources:
1. One citation must be from the Brenda Allen textbook.
2. The other citation may come from any other scholarly source:
a. Another communication textbook
b. Academic journal articles posted to our Blackboard site (i.e., Booth & Spencer; Tracy; Schilt & Connell)
c. Any other articles from peer-reviewed academic journals
PROPOSAL CONTENT REQUIREMENTS
DESCRIBE EACH TOPIC AND EXPLAIN WHY YOU SELECTED IT (8 points each). How do these topics relate to diversity and/or identity in organizations? Why do they interest you? Have you had personal experience with them? Do you know other people who have had personal experience with them? (You do not need to do any actual research or conduct any interviews at this point.)
MECHANICS / FORMAT / APA (i.e., spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, adherence to instructions, APA style if citations are used)
Research Paper Instructions
Program: Microsoft Word (For submitting to Safe Assignment. Please do not submit as PDF, RTF, or Pages.)
Length: Minimum of 4 full pages
Spacing: Double-space all lines, including all lines of reference list. Your name may be in an upper corner of the first page, or on a cover page (optional). Page numbers should be in the header, not typed by hand on each page.
Margins: All should be one inch (not 1.25). Please do not right justify. (See Paper Format Sample document for visual.)
Font: Times New Roman, 12-point
Citations: APA style required for in-text citations & reference page. Reference page is required. The APA requirement only applies to citations; please do not include an abstract or running head.
1. Because this paper requires at least one interview, you will want to arrange your interviews as soon as possible. If you think you will want to include direct quotes in your paper, you will want to audiotape an in-person interview, or do the interview by email. (If you don’t have a record of the person’s exact words, you should not include direct quotes.)
2. Prepare a set of questions in advance of each interview. Think about what these people are likely to know about the topic, what you hope to learn, and what we are studying in class. Then, for each person, compose a set of at least five questions that you can have in front of you during the interview.
3. Do not attempt to avoid this requirement by locating an interview online, pretending that you asked the questions, and copying down the online responses. A previous student attempted this, and Safe Assignment flagged the copied responses, resulting in a low grade.
CONTENT REQUIREMENTS (with point values)
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON YOUR TOPIC. Remember that your paper concerns a problem related to identity or diversity in organizations. What is the history of this problem, and how has it been dealt with over time? What are some significant stories or cases in the history of this problem? Depending on your topic, this could be research about the history of one company or organization, about a particular type of company or organization, or about the topic in general at various types of organizations. (The research sources for this section are in addition to your interviews and citation of academic sources.)
IMPORTANT: As you research particular organizations, do not restrict your research to P.R. produced by those organizations (which is likely to be 100% favorable). While it is fine to include such P.R., you should indicate when information originated with the organizations themselves, and also find information from outside sources.
AT LEAST TWO CITATIONS FROM SCHOLARLY SOURCES
As indicated in the proposal instructions, you must include:
(a) at least one citation of communication theory from the Allen textbook, and
(b) at least one citation from another scholarly source (i.e., a communication textbook; the articles posted to our Blackboard site; other articles from peer-reviewed academic journals). [IMPORTANT: Many students have lost points for failing to include a second scholarly source. Using only the Allen book is not sufficient.]
These citations should be used where appropriate in the paper (most likely the analysis section) and the sources must also be included on your reference list.
NAME, DATE, AND LOCATION FOR EACH INTERVIEW you conducted. If you conduct an interview by email, list the dates when you sent the questions and the dates when the responses were received. (If an interview subject prefers to be discussed with an alias, please indicate that the name is an alias.)
THE MOST SIGNIFICANT COMMENTS MADE BY YOUR INTERVIEW SUBJECTS. Did they make comments that supported the research you did on this topic? Did their comments contradict your research in any way? If so, what do you believe is the reason for this contradiction?
[IMPORTANT: This section should be written as part of the paper (i.e., “When I asked about xxx, Mr. Smith said….”).
Do not just create a numbered list of your questions and the corresponding answers. You are telling your reader about the significant comments made by these people in order to connect their opinions to your other research. A list of questions and answers does not do this and, in most cases, the exact wording of your questions will not be necessary.]
SYNTHESIZE & ANALYZE YOUR MATERIAL AND DRAW CONCLUSIONS. Pull together your research on the topic, your interview results, the communication theory from Allen, and any other academic theory you’ve chosen to apply to this topic. What conclusions can you draw from all of this information? What recommendations can you make in terms of dealing with this type of problem now and in the future?
APA STYLE for in-text citation and reference list. List will include the Allen textbook, at least one additional scholarly source, and the sources for your research on the topic itself (such as info about particular organizations, etc.). Interviews should not be included on your reference list because they are not published and your reader cannot retrieve them. Interviews should be cited in-text only (see below*).
MECHANICAL ACCURACY, i.e., correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, formatting.