10 McNair Summer 2009 Research Proposal Guidelines 1. Title by shelseaZvansky

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									                                        McNair Summer 2009
                                     Research Proposal Guidelines

1. Title Page: The first page includes the title of the project, name of the researcher(s) or
   organization proposing the research, and date of transmittal. The researcher’s address, telephone
   number and title are often included. The title should brief and descriptive of the proposed project.
2. Abstract: A summary of each of the sections to alert the reader, who is too busy to read the whole
   proposal, to the most important information. Sometimes the abstract is placed in a Letter of
   Transmittal which includes why the research is needed and accompanies the proposal. Since many
   people will look only at the abstract and the budget (and some will only read the budget), it is
   usually helpful to point out the value of the research results.
3. Problem: A description of what the specific problem was that initiated the research. This is a
   clarification of your research topic. It is a question, concept, or hypothesis which will guide your
   study. When considering a research topic, you should evaluate whether it meets your interests, is a
   realistically achievable research project, and serves your application to graduate school. The
   description of the research question will serve as a solid introduction to your topic.
       a. Identify the general subject area that will be addressed in your research.
       b. Indicate the significance of your chosen research area.
       c. Define the specific research topic you will explore.
       d. Make a central assertion or prediction that your research will test and/or defend.
       e. Suggest subsidiary questions, concepts or hypotheses that can guide your research by
           dividing it into steps.
       f. Narrow down and identify the scope of your research.
       g. State the way in which your project might contribute to research in the field.
4. Literature Review: This is the process by which you will begin an argument for your study. You
   should search for and gather sources that demonstrate a need for your topic. These sources should
   define and explain the terminology of your research area and the work of other scholars in the
   field. The literature review should also demonstrate how your topic fits within the field (i.e., how
   it builds upon or expands this area of knowledge).
5. Research Procedures/Methodology: Detailed descriptions of the operational definitions, the
   population, the sampling methods, the research design, data collection methods, instruments and
   data analyses. Charts and graphs are useful but may be placed in the appendices to keep the
   proposal brief.

       a. Describe how you will collect the data.
       b. Identify some of the challenges associated with your proposed method of data collection.
       c. Explain how you will analyze the data you’ve gathered.
       d. Demonstrate how your methods of data collection and analysis are aligned with traditional
            methodologies in your field.
6. Time Schedule: A realistic estimate of time required to complete the project. Your proposed
   timeline should illustrate the schedule by which you plan to conduct and complete your research
   (eight weeks?). It is essential that your timeline is designed in a logical and reasonable fashion.
   When preparing your timeline, please take into consideration the following items:
       a. The information-gathering methods you plan to use.
       b. Unforeseen alterations or changes in the project.
       c. Time for completing all research and drawing conclusions from it.
       d. Time for writing and revising your research paper.
7. Budget: A detailed listing of costs of the project. This should include costs for personnel,
   equipment, supplies, and travel, where appropriate. You can extract from this section the budget so
   that you can make a request to the McNair program for reimbursement of eligible expenses.
   **Please do not purchase anything which you expect to be reimbursed for without first requesting
   approval from the director of McNair.**
8. References: A listing of authors and information about their publications to which you referred in
   the body of the proposal. Include the author’s name, the title of the reference, and date and place
   of publication. Page numbers are given in some instances. Examine publications of the sponsor to
   determine the specific reference style desired.
9. Appendices: Charts, graphs and other information which may interfere with the flow of the
   proposal or lengthen it may be placed in the appendices.
10. Coversheet and Mentor’s Signature: Your finalized research proposal should include a cover
   sheet which states the following items:
       a.   Title of project
       b.   Scholar name
       c.   Date
       d.   Academic department
       e.   Mentor name
       f.   Mentor department
       g.   Indiana State University
       h.   McNair Scholars Program
       i.   Mentor signature

*Your mentor’s signature of approval is required on the cover sheet of your final proposal to be
turned into the McNair program no later than May 8th.
*Bear in mind that this is a suggested format (mentor signature is required regardless) and cannot
be imposed across all disciplines. If your mentor suggests a slightly different section be included,
defer to his or her authority.
*If you plan to conduct research involving human subjects, please complete your IRB application
before May 8th.

Other Guidelines:
You and your mentor should agree upon an appropriate length for your proposal. However, we
suggest 5-10 typed (font size 12, Times New Roman), double-spaced pages. Remember that
portions of your proposal can (and should) be incorporated into your research paper.

       Adapted from: Center for Instruction, Research, and Technology (CIRT)
                               Evangelos Kontaxakis
                     Evaluation and Research Support Specialist
                                 Normal Hall 105A

Your McNair paper should follow this general outline. Remember, this research should be written
stylistically like a journal article in your field. You may format the paper in APA, MLA, or whatever
style is used in your specific discipline.

   • Abstract: All papers, regardless of format, will have an abstract at the beginning.
   • Introduction: This section provides background material and sets up your thesis or controlling
   • Review of Literature: This section:
       - Organizes, summarizes and critically analyzes the major research relevant to your topic.
       - Demonstrates how the various authorities on your subject intersect.
       - Leads to your model/hypotheses.
       - Sets the theoretical context for your own research.
       - In some disciplines, this section is combined with the Introduction.

The main goal of the review of literature is to provide the substance for your hypothesis/model/ research
problem. In other words, where did your hypothesis come from? For some qualitative research, the
hypothesis may come from initial observations: a working hypothesis. What scholarly literature led you
to develop these hypotheses or this model? (Guesses, hunches, intuition, etc. are not scholarly or
graduate-level, and not a part of the literature review. In addition, keep editorial comments to yourself.
Stick to the facts gathered from prior research.) In many ways, the literature review is an analytic,
persuasive paper in which you use facts, concepts, and theories from the literature to support and justify
your ideas.

   •   Methodology: How did you conduct your research? Who did you talk to? How did you gather
       your data? What survey instruments did you use?
   •   Data/Findings/Analysis: What data did you collect? How (statistically or otherwise) did you
       analyze it? What did you find out?
   •   Conclusions: Were your hypotheses supported by the data? Why or why not? What is significant
       about your findings?
   •   Appendices: Material that does not fit in the text of your paper (for example, survey instruments,
   •   References: List only references cited in the paper. Follow APA, MLA or other format as
       approved by your mentor for use in your discipline.

NOTE: Draft papers are to be double-spaced (except tables which should be single spaced), in Times
New Roman, 12-point font, 1” margins, with pages numbered.

If you do not know how to use Microsoft Word contact the McNair Program Administrative Assistant for
technical support. Final copies should be single spaced, ready for publication. There is a 30-page single
spaced optimum. Math and science papers may be a bit shorter, humanities and social science papers may
be a bit longer. On all drafts, follow the format given on page 6 of this section.

NOTE: Writing is revising. No one gets it right the first time, and you will go through many
drafts/revisions before your paper is at its final stage - expect it.

                                    WRITING THE ABSTRACT
An abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the article; it allows readers to survey an
article quickly and, like a title, is used by abstracting and information services to index and retrieve
articles. Most journals require an abstract.

A well-prepared abstract can be the most important paragraph in your article. Most people will have their
first contact with an article by seeing just the abstract, usually on a computer screen with several other
abstracts, as they are doing a literature search through an electronic abstract-retrieval system. Readers
frequently decide, on the basis of the abstract, whether to read the entire article; this is true whether the
reader is at a computer, or is thumbing through a journal. The abstract needs to be dense with
information, but also readable, well organized, brief, and self-contained. Also, embedding many key
words in your abstract will enhance the user’s ability to find it.

A good abstract is:

       Accurate: Ensure that an abstract correctly reflects the purpose and content of the
       manuscript. Do not include in abstract information that does not appear in the body of the
       paper. If the study extends or replicates previous research, note this in the abstract, and
       cite the author (initials and surname) and year. Comparing an abstract with an outline of
       the paper’s headings is a useful way to verify the accuracy of an abstract.

       Self-contained: Define all abbreviations (except units of measurement) and acronyms.
       Spell out names of tests and drugs (use generic names for drugs). Define unique terms.
       Paraphrase rather than quote. Include names of authors (initials and surnames) and dates
       of publication in citations of other publications (and give a full bibliographic citation in the
       article’s reference list). Include key words within the abstract for indexing purposes.

       Concise and specific: Make each sentence maximally informative, especially the lead
       sentence. Be as brief as possible. Abstracts should not exceed 960 characters and spaces,
       which is approximately 120 words. Begin the abstract with the most important
       information (but do not waste space by repeating the title). This may be the purpose of
       thesis, or perhaps the results and conclusions. Include in the abstract only the four or five
       most important concepts, finding, or implications.

       Ways to conserve characters:

       •   Use digits for all numbers, except those that begin in a sentence
           (consider rewriting a sentence that begins with a number).
       •   Abbreviate liberally (e.g., use vs. for versus), although all
           abbreviations that need to be explained in the text (see section 3.21)
           must also be explained in the first use in the abstract.
       •   Use the active voice, third person, (but without the personal pronouns I or we):
           i.e., the researcher, the author.

       Nonevaluative: Report rather than evaluate; do not add to or comment on what is in the
       body of the manuscript.

       Coherent and readable: Write in clear and vigorous prose. Use verbs rather than the
       noun equivalents and the active rather than the passive voice. Use the present tense to
       describe results with continuing applicability or conclusions drawn; use the past tense to
       describe specific variables manipulated or tests applied.

       As much as possible, use the third person rather than the first person. Avoid “boilerplate”
       sentences that contain no real information (e.g., “Policy implications are discussed” or “It
       is concluded that”).

An abstract of a report of an empirical study should describe in 100 to 120 words:

       •   The problem under investigation, in one sentence if possible;
       •   The subjects, specifying pertinent characteristics, such as number, type, age, sex, and genus
           and species;
       •   The experimental method, including the apparatus, data gathering procedures, complete test
           names, and complete generic names and the dosage and routes of administration of any drugs
           (particularly if the drugs are novel or important to the study);
       •   The findings, including statistical significance levels; and
       •   The conclusions and the implications or applications.

An abstract for review or theoretical article should describe in 75 to 100 words:

       •   The topic, in one sentence;
       •   The purpose, thesis, or organizing construct and the scope (comprehensive of selective)
           of the article;
       •   The sources used (e.g., personal observation, published literature); and
       •   The conclusions.

If it exceeds the 960-character limit, the abstractors will truncate your abstract to fit the database. For
information on how abstracts are used to retrieve articles, consult the PsycINFO Psychological Abstracts
Information Services Users Reference Manual (APA, 1992b).

                              WRITING THE LITERATURE REVIEW 

•   Write out your thesis statement and tape it to your computer. Continually check your writing to make
    sure what you are saying is directly related to that controlling idea. You should justify every single
    sentence in the paper by showing that it is relevant and necessary to your main point.

•   Use the “so what” test. As you finish a paragraph, imagine a reader saying “So what? What does this
    have to do with your main idea (or with the previous and following paragraphs)?” Make the
    relationship clear on the page, not just in your head.

•   Organize by ideas, not authors. Make an outline or flow chart of what you want to say, and then plug
    the authors to support your statements.

•   Don’t let the authors determine the order in which you present the material. Take up the topics in the
    order that best suits your purpose, which may not be the order in the articles you’ve read.

•   Readers need signposts and gists (manageable chunks of material). They need the big picture in order
    to make sense of the details. Help your readers by creating preview statements, summaries, and
    connector paragraphs. Use statements like “Five hypotheses have been offered to account for this
    phenomenon.” Then list them and discuss each in detail. Repeat key words frequently (this is how
    the reader can tell they’re key words).

•   If you struggle with a section, put away your draft. A day or two later, without looking at what
    you’ve already written, start again. Or, write a few pages one day, then try writing about the same
    material the next day -- again without looking at what you’ve done before.

•   Don’t fall in love with your prose. Don’t start sympathizing with the poor sentences and paragraphs
    you’re cutting out. Get mean.

•   Get as much feedback as you can. Writing is a solitary activity, and most drafts are writer-based.
    Converting the writer-based draft to the reader-based final product is the most important task of the


•   Scrutinized             •   Examined              •   Looked at
•   Checked                 •   Investigated          •   Evaluated
•   Catalogued              •   Listed                •   Recorded
•   Tabulated               •   Indexed               •   Tallied
•   Filed                   •   Indicated             •   Denoted
•   Inventoried             •   Signified             •   Designated
•   Revealed                •   Manifested            •   Implied that
•   Specified               •   Disclosed             •   Exhibited
•   Presented               •   Characterized         •   Scheduled
•   Intimidated             •   Clarified             •   Fostered
•   Intimated               •   Submitted             •   Supported
•   Believed                •   Acknowledged          •   Declared
•   Asserted                •   Claimed               •   Affirmed
•   Avowed                  •   Stated                •   Considered
•   Described               •   Warned                •   Felt
•   Contended               •   Agreed                •   Formulated
•   Complained              •   Wrote                 •   Asserted
•   Cautioned               •   Pointed out           •   Demonstrated
•   Conceived of            •   Approached            •   Held that since
•   Proposed                •   Admitted              •   Referred to
•   Has shown               •   Suggested             •   Thought that
•   Made the distinction    •   Extended the notion   •   Questioned
•   Showed that             •   Accounted for         •   Reviewed
•   Argued that             •   Further showed        •   Did
•   Found that              •   Created               •   Generated the
•   Surmised that           •   Experimented with     •   Observed that
•   Distinguished between   •   Raised the question   •   Investigated the
•   Compared the means          as to                     relationship that


• Margins
Top 1.00 inch                        Left Side 1.00 inch
Bottom       1.00 inch                        Right Side 1.00 inch

This leaves room for headers, footers and gutter margins for publishing.

• Type/Font
Times New Roman -12 point font

• Title of the Paper and Authors’ Names
Type: centered at top of page, bold and upper and lower case.

                             DO NOT PUT TITLE ON A SEPARATE SHEET!
Use this example:

                           Characterization of T Cell Repertoire and Cytokines
                          Important for sHIgM12 Generation of T Cell Response

                                 Joseph Dolence, Biochemistry/Biology
                                        Indiana State University
                                      Larry Pease, Ph.D., Mentor
                                      Department of Immunology
                         Mayo Clinic College of Medicine - Mayo Graduate School
                                     Gerald Cizadlo, Ph.D., Advisor
                                      School of Sciences - Biology
                                        Indiana State University

•   Abstract
    Heading: centered, caps and bold and directly under title
    Body: italics

    Use this example:

An IgM antibody found in a Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia patient, sHIgM12, cross-links B7-DC
(PD-L2) on the surface of dendritic cells and generates a fast cytolytic T cell response in only six days to
numerous tumor cell lines such as B16 melanoma and TUBO. This response is perforin-dependent, a
CD8+ T cell . . .

• Titles or Section of Paper ~ See MLA or APA style guide manuals

    •   Subtitles ~ See MLA or APA style guide manuals

    •   Paragraphs
        Indentations: Tab set at .5 inches from left margin
                  One line space between paragraphs (single spaced)

              Two spaces at the end of sentences (double spaced)

•   Draft copies submitted for review should double-spaced and paginated. The final edited copy
    will be single spaced with double spacing between paragraphs. Continue to follow the format
    above with regard to title, author, etc.

•   Works Cited/References
    Use the term “References” for APA style or “Works Cited” for MLA style.
    Use APA, MLA, ACA or whatever style is appropriate for your field.
    Make sure you check the latest edition of style manual.

•   Miscellaneous Information
    Save your paper as a Microsoft XP word document
    Use tables to insert large amounts of information in columns
    Graphics should be saved as *.bmp or *.tif files
    Scanner available in computer lab
    Save your paper to floppy disk, CD-Rom, or jump drive
    Keep a hard copy of your final paper

•   Submitting Your Research Paper
    First: To the McNair Assistant Director (with signed approval of research mentor)
    Second: Paper goes to the Final Editor
    Third: Paper returned to you for final edits (mentor is informed)
    Fourth: Paper returned to McNair Assistant Director
    Fifth: Paper sent to McNair Administrative Assistant on jump/flash drive or by email


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