Pioneer Pens

ENG 1023, Texas Woman's University (Fall 2012)

Getting Started: The Research Proposal

To get started on portfolio 2 (the research portfolio),  you need to choose a topic and write a research proposal. Details on both are below. Post your proposal as a reply to this post by midnight, October 9th.

Step 1: Consider the rhetorical context (author, purpose, audience, form/tactics, context). Then choose a topic.

To begin a research project, you obviously need a topic. In choosing a topic, it would help to think about both your interests, and those of your (eventual) readers (he folks who might visit our website) and their interests. The purpose of the website we will build with your final projects (pf 3, which you’ll write using your research from pf 2, remember?) is to teach others about people OR events significant (for good or ill) in women’s history (here or abroad). So, choose someone, or something you want to think others ought to know more about.

There are lots of ways to get at topics that both work for our publication and our intended audience that ALSO are interesting and meaningful to you. One way in is to think about groups, communities, issues, or activities that you engage in (or want to). For example: what’s your major? What kind of hobbies do you engage in? I love baseball, so I might begin by exploring women in baseball, and then see, from there, who or what catches my eye. Or (because I’m Scots-Irish and so find her fascinating, and because of the discussions over how women should/shouldn’t be soldiers even today), I might write about Boudicca, a Celtic warrior/queen. Being interested in social justice and equality, I might research the ERA, or the Payroll Equality Act. Having grown up in Texas, I might research Ann Richards, whom I admired, and contrast her to “feminine ideals” as well as some of the women in politics today. I’d have to decide which of these possible topics I REALLY think others should read about, and why. And then I’d write a proposal. So will you.

Step 2: Write (and post) a research proposal

The research proposal is NOT part of portfolio 2—it’s just something to have to do to get on with the rest of this assignment. Your research proposal will be graded as complete and thoughtful (full credit), incomplete/undeveloped (half credit), or not done (no credit), and will count as part of your participation grade. (We will do more “informal but important” writing like this as you work on this project. Take these seemingly-low-risk assignments seriously. They must be done, and done well, in order to succeed on portfolios 2 and 3.)

Your research proposal must be posted to the blog by midnight on Tuesday, October 9th.

The proposal should be at least 500 words in length, and should:

  • Identify the topic, and your initial research question.
  • Tell us a bit about the topic and research questions, and why it’s a problem worth addressing.
  • Your goal here is to create reader interest in your topic, and illustrate how this person or event is a topic online readers interested in women’s history should know more about!
  • Tell us what you already know about the topic.
  • Tell us what you think you need to find out, and where/how you will look for this information. Draft your proposal offline, in a word-processing program, to give yourself time to think and to polish your writing and your ideas.
  • When you post to the blog, first type in this information for me à Your name: the person/topic you are researching (your class time). For example, mine would begin Dundee Lackey: Women in Baseball/Alta Weiss (9:30). (thanks. This will help me build a list easily as I read.) When you’ve done this, just cut and paste the proposal you drafted into the comment box.
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123 comments on “Getting Started: The Research Proposal

  1. Cecilia Frias
    October 10, 2012

    Cecilia Frias: Mother Theresa (11am)

    For my research paper I choose mother Theresa. Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia on August 26, 1910. At age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God, and at age eighteen she joined the Sisters of Loreto. In 1948 she received permission from the superiors to leave the convent school where she taught to devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity”, whose task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. Mother Teresa was and will always be a great woman. She did so much for those less fortunate and therefore I believe people should know ought to know more about her. Mother Teresa is a great role model for all the young man and woman in the world. She dedicated her life to helping the needy and poor. I think I’m going to start by finding out more about her background, her family, education, etc.… I’m going to check out the library to see if they have any books about her life and look online to see if there are any movies about her. One doesn’t have to give up their life to helping others but we all have a duty as human beings to care for those who for some reason can’t care for themselves.

    • drL
      October 14, 2012

      This sounds great! You’re right–not everyone can/will/should give up everything in life, as she so wonderfully did, to help others, but we do all have an obligation to help where/how we can, and she is a marvelous inspiration. What are you finding out?

      • Cecilia Frias
        October 16, 2012

        I’ve actually found a book that some one else wrote (can’t think of the name right now) were they talk about how for the last 50 years of her life she “felt no presence of God whatsoever.” Instead of judging her I tried to understand, it has to be really HARD to live among the poor and care for them day and night, many of who weren’t even Christian. Or having to deal with people who thought she was doing all that to get attention. The only trouble I have is coming up with a research question, I chose Mother Teresa for her courage but also because she cared for others which is the reason why I want to be a nurse, to care for others and make a difference in their life some how.

    • ray
      October 16, 2012

      You chose a great topic! Most people don’t even talk about women who contributed in society through religion. I wish I had thought of her. Anyways, I hope I will be able to read your paper. 😀

    • Maritza Mauricio
      October 16, 2012

      This sounds really good I can’t wait to read all of year paper when its finish. Maybe add like what information you want to look up about her.

  2. Tiffany Lightner
    October 11, 2012

    Tiffany Lightner
    Catherine Hughes/Founder of Radio One Inc.
    T/TH 1:00pm
    From the Floor-Through the Ceiling

    In the mornings, noon, and nights when people are headed out into the world, they jump into their cars and in some cases turn on their radio and began to bob their heads. Most of the people that are listening have no idea that this woman, Catherine “Cathy” Hughes, founder and former President and CEO of Radio One Inc., is to thank for that experience. I chose to write about Cathy Hughes because she was the person of reference when the quote “From Rags to Riches”, was created. It is a known fact; that the percentage of successful executive women in the ever-progressing world of media is significantly stagnant. However, besides the likes of media moguls such as: Arianna Huffington and Janet Robinson, there is Catherine Hughes-“The Underdog”.
    Hughes is a woman of much integrity , determination, and ambition, with a fight inside of her so strong that being a sixteen year old mom or even sleeping on the floor of her first radio station with her adolescent son, with no place to go did not TKO her. Most women in this situation would have given up on their dream, packed their things and their kid and forfeited the challenge, but not so for Hughes. All of the adversity that Hughes faced in those days only forced her to not only shatter the glass ceiling but to create her own.
    In a world dominated by men and a city plagued with fearless scorpions, Cathy Hughes overcame the “Corporate Ten Commandments”, parted the Red Sea of defeat, and overthrew the Pharaohs throne of gender imprisonment and assumed her role as “Queen”. Hughes made her mark in history when she successfully labored and manufactured Radio One Inc. Radio One now has 53 radio stations in 16 different markets, with projected revenues of $443 million for 2012 (HuffingtonPost, 2012). The financial analysis of Radio One’s annual profit projections that were presented prior, does not even include her more recent creation and rejuvenation of black television-TV One. So as you can see, Hughes is a force to be reckoned with. But how did she do it?
    My main anticipation of this research adventure into the world of Cathy Hughes is to explore the question; how did she progress from the floor…to… through the ceiling? Women of my generation have fallen short through media subjection and hidden context, and it is imperative that young women see someone of her caliber, step out and step up to the challenge of “by any means necessary…” It has become trendy to amount to nothing and to accept anything, but as soon as the women of today and tomorrow realize that their self-worth is more valuable than anything tangible, they will see their future illuminate. So it is important to have women like Catherine Hughes with a story of high self-esteem, strong-will, and independence to be in place so that the world can see that nothing is impossible; no matter how tumultuous the circumstances appear.

    • drL
      October 14, 2012

      I had not heard of her! I look forward to learning more!

    • Cecilia Frias
      October 16, 2012

      I’ve never heard about her either, but look forward to reading your paper 🙂

  3. Monique Ruiz
    October 11, 2012

    Many times the immense amount of strength possessed by women is downplayed. Women have to deal with multiple issues during their lifetime. One woman that I truly admire is my mother, Pauline. This may sound cliché. However, her ability to continue to function without being committed a psych ward is beyond my understanding. My mother was the product of a teenage mother. As a “baby boomer” in a home with a single parent mother, she would often be required to stay home from school to care for her siblings. Her mother would go fishing and leave her to care for her young siblings. Upon her mother’s untimely death, she was forced to care for her younger siblings. Her aunt, my grandmother’s sister, allowed her to live with her. However, when my mother would do typical teenage things, my great aunt would say “Esther (my grandmother) is dead”. Pauline lacked support on all fronts. One thing she would often say “if I had any kind of support, I would have gone far”. Pauline managed to successfully complete high school. She attended college for several semesters but the lack of support and the urgency to care for her 4 year old daughter, forced her into trade school and ultimately the work force. Faced with an absent father who refused to acknowledge her existence, she continued to struggle to exist. George Greene, her father denied her up until the day he died. Though, my mother was not a teenage mother, she was faced with many challenges. She became a parent at a good age. However, she found herself single parenting her two children. Ryan, her younger child, would ultimately be wrongfully arrested, charged and convicted of first degree murder. Pauline continued to visit her son without fail. She managed to visit her son as often as the prison system would allow her to. She is truly an inspiration to mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. All of her life she was presented with challenges that most people would resort to drugs in an effort to cope with her issues. Pauline walked the “green mile” with my brother and was willing to walk all the way to the “death house” with him. Something that fascinates me is how her encounters many people, men and women, friends and relatives, could have been devastating. Her trials and tribulations have made her a true soldier, in my eyes. It is my prayer that I am able to inspire as many lives as my mother.

    • drL
      October 14, 2012

      Monique: I LOVE the idea of writing about someone you know, but remember: it’s a research project, so you have to be able to integrate sources as part of this. You could interview her and/or other family members, which would you give you one source, but you can’t use JUST that to satisfy this assignment. Build on this a bit more for me? What kinds of source information might help you tell this story in a way that helps readers outside the family connect to why you want us to learn life lessons from your mother’s story?

    • Vanessa Chambers
      October 16, 2012

      I love that you chose to write a paper about your mother. That was one of my ideas at one point, and I enjoyed how you started off your essay. I feel like as long as you do family interviews, and get sources your paper will be personable, and credible.

      • drL
        October 16, 2012

        maybe some published sources related to events or times or places in the story will help you tell her story in a way that connects to other individuals and times, too?

  4. Coren Majors
    October 11, 2012

    The topic I would like to discuss is the famous Court case of Roe vs. Wade. Not only would I like to talk about the court case but I also would like to talk about Norma Mccorvey a.k.a Jane Roe. I chose this topic because abortion is a big issue in America. It is worth researching because although the court case took place back in the 1970s abortion is still a problem and still being debated on in present day America. My initial research question is why do abortions seem very wrong to some and ok to some others. Other possible research questions are if the Supreme Court had a woman justice at the time would there have been a different outcome? And why is the decision that was made still very controversial. Before taking government at a college level I never really knew much about the Roe vs. Wade case. To be honest I first heard of Roe vs. Wade on the movie Monster in law. The reason that I chose this topic is because of the presidential candidates. I had to do a current event in my government class and as I went to CNN website I saw a link saying Romney’s is a pro-life candidate. Romney also said that as soon as he becomes president he will cut the funding for Planned Parenthood. I think some things I should find out are different articles on abortions, different president’s opinions on abortions, more information on Norma McCorvey, more information about the actual case it self and also more information about Wade. There are also many more things I feel that I need to find out more about for this paper because there really is so much. I feel that abortions are a woman’s choice. If a woman wants to have an abortion because she has been raped, is not a fit parent or is not ready to have a child that an abortion is ok for her. The issue of abortion is not only an issue involving American people but it also has to deal with different religions, other countries, women’s centers and also the American government. Abortion to me is like immigration which means that abortion is a problem that will never be solved. My paper will hopefully help others gain a better understanding about abortions and abortion issues. The roe vs. wade case was one of the most important cases of the 20th century. Also it is amazing how a woman changed the way for America which is a man’s country. The case of roe vs. wade interests me very much because I am amazed at different people’s opinions on such topic which may seem small to some like me and very big to others such as people who are against this paper. At the moment I am a little leery about my topic because I feel that I may not have enough information or sources needed for this portfolio but hopefully since we are doing things step by step everything will play out and my paper ends up very successful.

    • drL
      October 14, 2012

      This is a very timely topic. One caution, though. You note several possible research questions. I’d veer a bit away from the first one (My initial research question is why do abortions seem very wrong to some and ok to some others) and towards the others, I think, because the ethical issue here is very hard to address. It has to do with lots of variables (like when does life begin) that religion, science, and law have been duking out for years without really solving–so you probably wouldn’t be able to in part of one semester. You might review WHY folks think they do–but don’t get sucked into the impossible task of proving either side right or wrong. I think this will narrow and focus more as you read, but thinking through this question as you read those sources might help: Why do people need to read this NOW? What do I want them to feel/think/do as a result of my writing?

      • Catherine
        October 16, 2012

        You said near the end that you don’t think you’ll have enough information. I’m worried that you’re going to have too much! This topic is a massive undertaking, I considered something like this initially but decided not to because of the overall size. Good luck and I look forward to reading what you research.

    • Joy James
      October 16, 2012

      This is a HUGE topic. A viewpoint that you could talk about for your paper is that if it infringes on our amendments. The biggest fight with your topic though is that of our rights and a religious matter. You could also piggyback the idea that if Romney uses certain words you could say he’s inflicting our freedom of religion because I know that a lot of republicans go off of the religious standpoint.

  5. Joy James
    October 11, 2012

    Upon choosing something to write about for portfolio 2, the question that I pondered was not really much of a question at all, but more of a realization. I want to look at how American society views plus sized women in America. This is an issue because today, over half of America is overweight and plus sized but all that you see when you turn on the television is a woman no bigger than a size 5 or 7 and if you see a size nine woman it’s rare and they’re being playfully made fun of because of their weight. I felt that the perfect example for this particular problem would be Mo’Nique Imes-Jackson, better known as just plain Mo’Nique.
    What I know already about the subject is that back in the 50’s when television started becoming popular, image was more important than ever. Only a certain type of person could be on television; usually clean cut, White, male, and thin. Today, although there are still some improvements that have been made, the two leading factors are the ethnicity problems and being plus sized. Although the media’s negative outlook on plus sized women definitely doesn’t help because it’s one of the fastest ways of communication spreading; they aren’t the only ones who spread the negative outlook. Plus sized women are frowned upon by the newspapers, on the internet, radio and in the communities.
    It has been proven that plus sized, overweight women have it much worse in today’s society. I chose Mo’Nique because she is beautiful inside and out, she portrays a personality that would light up a room, she is down to earth and knows street slang but very sophisticated as well and she’s also a plus size woman. Because Mo’Nique is a plus sized woman, most of the roles that she has had to play have been society’s socially distorted views of “fat people”. Although the roles were acted out well they have always been the slob, the abusive selfish over-eater, the ghetto lady that hides food in her clothing, or the hopeless romantic that chases after men that clearly don’t want her, or the insecure fat woman who has low self-esteem and cannot get anything accomplished because of it. She has never had the luxury of being the princess or the drop dead gorgeous diva or the classy professional business woman and probably never will all because she’s not a size 5.
    The discrimination isn’t only for celebrities and high status icons either. For example, I myself am a solid plus sized girl, and proud of it. However, recently I tried out for a plus sized modeling agency and was told that I was too much on the hefty side to be one of their models and that they only took women and girls up to a size 9 and sometimes a 13. I won’t tell you my dress size but I will tell you that I’m only about half a size bigger than what they were asking for and the last time I checked, a size 9 was not a plus size.

    • drL
      October 14, 2012

      Great question (how American society views plus sized women.) I have a question about focus: Do you WANT to narrow it to one person, or talk about several examples of people in order to focus on exploring that larger question? It could work either way but will require different research paths, so think on it now.

      I read this the other night and thought of your research. It’s a blogger (a nutritionist, herself plus size, which I bet she takes a lot of mess for) talking about that news anchor’s video we talked about in class: http://www.fatnutritionist.com/index.php/about-that-video/

    • Vanessa Chambers
      October 16, 2012

      I love your topic I feel that it is something that needs to be addressed, but you should be a little more specific if you are going to write about monique’s struggle of being plus sized, or plus sized women as a whole in society. Maybe you should use monique as an example, and I feel that you should go into detail even more about your personal experience and relate it to the topic. I feel you are on a great track!

  6. Mollie Musick
    October 13, 2012

    Mollie Musick- Helen Keller
    I am going to be doing my topic over Helen Keller. I have always thought that she was an extremely interesting human and was always inspired by her. She was stricken with a disease while she was a very young child that left her without her sight or hearing. In my paper, I wish to identify how she overcame her limitations, and how society viewed her endeavors. Despite her disabilities, Keller was able to learn how to communicate with the outside world by using signing and touch thanks to her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Helen became obsessed with learning all that she could, and could not stop trying to figure out all the names of the different objects in her life. She could talk to people by having them spell messages out into her hands and by feeling their lips. She was also able to learn to read brail and she learned how to write. She was well educated, and became the first deaf and blind person to acquire a bachelor’s degree in art. She become a renowned author and was known to be admired by Mark Twain. She was a strong advocate for women’s rights, people with disabilities, pacifism, and birth control. She was also a radical socialist and was very much against capitalism. She also traveled the world. She wrote several books and advocated for many deaf and blind organizations. What I want to learn more about is what kind of books she wrote. I would also like to write about how she gained her popularity and was able to get attention. I plan to write in more detail about how she learned to communicate and write. I want to go into detail about her influence in politics and how the public received her. I am also interested in how she was influenced and how she came into her extreme radical opinions. I also want to go into what she did for the deaf and blind community, and how she inspired many who were in similar positions in life. To find this information, I plan on finding books, journals, and other writings that are about her. I also plan on reading some of her personal work, including an autobiography she wrote. I want to possibly find accounts of people who knew her, and what kind of influence they had on each other’s lives. I would like to find some information on the relationship between her and Mark Twain, as he was also a very influential figure in our culture. My goal of this paper is to show others that no matter how many odds may be against them, they still have the potential to overcome them and do great and influential things for society.

    • drL
      October 16, 2012

      I loved to read biographies as a kid and I remember being so moved by her strength and determination. She is a wonderful choice. You have good plans for research, I think, and your statement of purpose is right on. (Question: how do you think her experience would have been different if this happened today, with the ADA and such?)

    • Andrea Watson
      October 16, 2012

      I find this to be a really interesting topic. I think you are at a really good start and you have listed a lot of really good questions. I am actually really intrigued to know what you find out. I am really no sure what kind of advice to give you on this because I think you are really off to a wonderful start.

    • Cecilia Frias
      October 16, 2012

      She’s such an inspiration, looks like you know what you’re doing or will be doing! 🙂

    • Joseph Simmons
      October 16, 2012

      I understand that this last sentence is how you are linking others to you topic, but how will you accomplish this in your paper? how is this relevant to today’s society? I love the topic and Anne Sullivan herself was an interesting person so it only makes sense that her preoteges are just as interesting if nt more. Remember to try and include information about the background so we know why this is such a big deal and a radical thing.

  7. Brittnee Brody
    October 16, 2012

    My research topic will be over Margaret Sanger. She was born September 14,1879; she was born a Roman Catholic and into working class Irish American family. She started a publication promoting women rights to birth control. In 1916 she opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. Also, sanger started a campaign to educate women about sex in 1912. She wrote a newpaper column called “what every girl should know.” I want to go into detail about women and how they felt about birth control at the time. Talk about how American felt about Ms.Sanger and her wanting the right for women to take birth control. Also, tell how she got the right of the “pill”, how did women feel when birth control wasn’t made, and how they felt when Sanger brought the idea to America.

    • drL
      October 16, 2012

      Hi Britnee! One of my colleagues is doing some work on Margaret Sanger, and she identified this resource, which I thought might be of use to you (if you haven’t found it already): “Check this out: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=birthcontrolrev. Links will take you (or the student) to scanned images of the journal from 1917 forward”

      this is a .

      • drL
        October 16, 2012

        (ooops! accidentally hit enter too soon)

        this is a very timely topic, and one we need a reminder of. I don’t think people today realize how hard a battle birth control was, and how it has effected our society positively. It’s important to remember this at a time when reproductive rights seem so under attack.

        It’s interesting that she was Irish Catholic! So, she would have had not just societal, but also religious, pressures against her work.

    • dguebert@twu.edu
      October 16, 2012

      just a thought you might add also in the paper somewhere what role and effect on society the “pill” has today.

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