Composing A Good MLA Style Research Paper Proposal
Most instructors request students to write research proposals in MLA format. The style is quite conducive to proposals, especially in connection with in-text citations. You should therefore arm yourself with useful MLA nuggets before starting off.
- Here, the title page would be the initial venture. Yu begin with a running head and place the title (in all caps) after a colon. You then switch to the middle of the page and place the title again (this time, only the initials in caps), your name and the university you are affiliated with.
- The second page carries the abstract and you start with the word abstract in all caps in central alignment as a heading. IT is necessary to note that you don’t have to italicize, underline or embolden the word ABSTRACT. The paragraph that follows is in double spacing and in 12 pts Times New Roman font. It is about 150 words and is not indented at the beginning. Incidentally, it is the only paragraph of the paper which is not indented.
- The abstract carries your view on the subject; the problems you visualize and the solutions you venture to highlight. Remember that this is only the proposal and the actual solutions will come out forcefully only after due methods and analysis.
- The whole body is in double spacing and the mentioned format. 1-inch margins ought to be left on all four sides. You need to make in-text citations with the last name of author and the page in parentheses after the references are made in the body.
- The reference page carries the wholesome description of the resources you have utilized in alignment with in-text citations. Of course, you can offer short descriptions of the citations in the actual research paper to make it appear more authentic and potent.
- The proposal should be in form of a proposal. You need to impress the instructor with the fact that you can handle the topic with maturity and deserve the chance to tackle it. You should also suggest a time period by which you will furnish the paper.
You should take a cursive look at the various samples related to the topic and subject so you know how proposals are carved. You should also check the format style vividly to understand and interpret the guidelines methodically. Make sure that errors don’t creep at the edges. Create a sound and effective paper.
The Basic Format for a Research Paper Proposal
If you thought you would be able to get through college without much writing, you may find yourself asking, “Isn’t writing a research paper enough?” No. In many cases, you will need to write a research paper proposal before you write your actual paper. Ultimately, your professors will grade your final paper on your ability to interpret and intelligently discuss your topic and be able backup your findings with solid evidence. To be able to achieve this goal, you need to provide evidence that you are on the right path with a well thought out research paper proposal.
Below is a research paper proposal template for you to use. You will need to fill your information into the [ ] brackets where I have instructions and tips for you. Keep in mind that your professor may have some different requirements based upon their preferences. However, the following fields should suffice for most of your needs.
Date: [Add in the date you submit the proposal.]
To: [Add in your professor’s name.]
From: [Add in your name and your email address.]
Subject of my paper: [Provide the broad topic for your paper.]
My Major and why writing about this topic will be beneficial to me: Write why you are specifically interested in this topic and how it will benefit advancing your education. As I state in another post, “Steps to Writing a Winning Term Paper Using Reference Software” you must have an active interest in your subject (amongst other things) otherwise you will struggle writing your paper and your statements will lack conviction.
My thesis: Keep in mind that your thesis should only be a sentence or two long and it is an answer to a specific relevant question; it isn’t a question. Often your thesis will be more effective if it answers a how or why question instead of a who, what, when or where query.
Approach to the subject of my paper: There are several ways you can present material in your paper in support of your thesis statement. Will you have to define certain terms? Will you include anecdotal evidence? Will you include opposing views and comparing and contrasting them to your views? You want to think of a logical, orderly fashion in which you will lay out your research paper so it transitions well from thesis to conclusion. Your choice of target audience should influence your approach.
Intended audience: Selecting a specific intended audience will define the level of education and biases of your readers. It will alter the information you include in your research paper and how you present your viewpoints. When selecting an audience, target a demographic that has your level of education, but doesn’t necessarily have your background or major. While organizing your thoughts, think to yourself, “What do I need to explain to this audience to help them understand this topic?”
Graphs or charts: Graphs and charts are a way to visually support your written analysis and data. They are not intended to be filler to help you reach your page count requirement. Most professors do not count them towards meeting that goal. Make sure you cite your charts and graphs from other sources using the proper formatting style.
Documentation Style: Your professor will usually assign the APA, MLA or other formatting style to you. If you are unsure what style you should be using, ask them. If they don’t assign a style, the type of class you are preparing your research paper for usually will. Don’t forget; when it’s time to write your paper, there are MLA and APA format software products that can greatly diminish your time formatting the document.
Kinds of sources I will use and why they will benefit my paper: Professors like to see a balanced approach to selecting types of sources for your paper. If you are struggling finding good sources for your research paper while creating your proposal, it’s a good indication you should pick another topic. When you state the types of sources you will be using, include how these sources will strengthen your paper.
Tentative List of References: Your professor will often give you a minimum number of references for you to include as a tentative list of references for your research paper proposal. This will be higher than the actual number of references you include in your final paper since you likely will not use all of those on your tentative list. Your professor wants to see if you know how to select appropriate sources within your field. Check with your professor if you need to get their approval to use sources in your final paper that you did not include on your tentative list.
David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. For more information, log onto http://www.referencepointsoftware.com/ or write to:
info @ referencepointsoftware.com
Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).