College Composition II: Assignment 1 - Research Proposal

Instructor: Karen Schweitzer
If you are seeking college credit for this course, you must submit a research proposal and two research papers, and then pass the proctored final exam. You must submit your proposal and papers before registering for the final. Below you will find prompts and instructions for submitting your proposal.

About This Assignment

Throughout this course, you've learned about finding sources, crafting a research proposal, and ultimately writing a research paper. As part of your grade for this course you need to complete one research proposal and two research papers. For this assignment, choose one of the prompts you plan to write a full research paper on and create your corresponding research proposal.

Your research proposal should be between 500 - 800 words. In your research proposal, be sure to cover the following components:

  • The prompt and questions you want to address
  • Your thesis (your position regarding the main question you address)
  • Your goals for the paper
  • Supporting details
  • How and what you will research to support your thesis

It should be clear from your proposal not just which prompt you have selected, but how you intend to focus, develop, and prove it. Regardless of which prompt you choose, evidence from reputable sources must be used to support your claims.

Research Paper Prompts

Since you will be writing research papers on two of the prompts listed below, we highly suggest completing the research proposal first, based on one of the prompts you plan to choose for your full-length research paper. That way, the work you complete for your research proposal will set you up for greater success when you complete the related research paper.

Prompt 1

The Gender Gap is defined as 'the discrepancies in opportunities and status between men and women.' Many believe the gender gap is still very present in America, saying that women have fewer opportunities in STEM-related fields and make less money than men regardless of time on the job, education, or experience.

However, there are also those who believe the gender gap problem is just a myth. To them, these claims do not consider the type of job, the fact that men may work more hours, and that men are more likely to pursue high-stress advancements.

Is there evidence to suggest that the gender gap still exists today? If so, is there a solution to this problem? If not, what do you think is causing so many to believe that it still exists?

Prompt 2

Since the 1990s, reality television shows have gained popularity in the United States and across the world. These shows range from competition, dating, documentaries, following famous people, and even strangers living together.

Most people agree that reality television is far from reality. The cast members are placed in staged settings, yet we accept these lies because these shows are entertaining. But the debate with reality television has moved beyond just the 'reality' of the production and to the message that the shows are sending. Often, people are cast into stereotypical roles, are asked to behave a certain way, and are edited to reinforce these stereotypes. In addition, many have criticized the type of people cast on reality television, believing that their beauty and wealth does not reflect most people.

Consider the impact reality television has had on society since its debut. For instance, what effect has reality television had on stereotypes, expectations of beauty, or competition? Using reputable sources and evidence to support your claims, research an effect that reality television has on society and explain the significance of its impact.

Prompt 3

The emotional aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was immediate and for some, the healing process persists to this day. However, there were other effects of these terrorist attacks. How did these attacks change the security policies in the U.S.? How did they impact U.S. foreign policies and foreign relationships? Other than the loss of many innocent lives that morning, what other losses did the United States experience? How did the country recover, or is it still healing?

Prompt 4

On August 6, 1965, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, President Lyndon Johnson signed The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting. Although the Fifteenth Amendment had already given male African American citizens the right to vote, many Southern states had various forms of intimidation and violence, including literacy tests, to suppress their vote. The Voting Rights Act finally provided a means to fight voter restrictions and encourage more African Americans to go to the polls.

Since its passing, the Voting Rights Act has been viewed as one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history. Looking back at it now, did the Voting Rights Act meet the goals that it had set? Is voter suppression still a problem today? If so, what methods are now used to fight it? If not, how does the country now guarantee that all citizens can have an equal say in the government?

Prompt 5

According to Gallup, an American research-based consulting company known for its public opinion polls, the worry of global warming is at an eight-year high. A recent poll shows about 70% of Americans believe that global warming is real and the effects of it have already begun.

However, even within these statistics, there is still a great divide between those who think that global warming is an important issue, what money should be invested into it, what effects it has, or even what exactly is causing it.

Looking closer at the issue of climate change, do you believe that it is an important problem in our country to address? Why or why not? What measures, if any, should be taken to help with global warming? What role should the United States take when it comes to climate change? Or has the U.S. invested too much time and money into climate change, ultimately costing jobs and development? Pick a side and present evidence regarding this issue.

Prompt 6

Since the start of the 21st century, the increasing rate of technological advancement has led to new breakthroughs in computing and robotics, both creating a demand for new engineering jobs, but also replacing many existing jobs with automation. Consider the socio-economic ramifications of this technological revolution - how have new technologies affected the economy in the U.S. and globally? How does modern connectivity affect how people work?

The 21st century isn't the first time technology has replaced and created new jobs. Analyze the historical precedence for this shift -when technology advanced and displaced workers in the past, how did they respond and adapt?

Formatting & Sources

Please write your paper in the MLA format. As part of your research, you may refer to the course material for supporting evidence, but you must also use at least four credible, outside sources and cite them using MLA format as well. Please include a mix of both primary and secondary sources, with at least one source from a scholarly peer-reviewed journal. If you use any Study.com lessons as sources, please also cite them in MLA (including the lesson title and instructor's name).

  • Primary sources are first-hand accounts such as interviews, advertisements, speeches, company documents, statements, and press releases published by the company in question.
  • Secondary sources come from peer-reviewed scholarly journals, such as the Journal of Management. You may use like JSTOR, Google Scholar, and Social Science Research Network to find articles from these journals. Secondary sources may also come from reputable websites with .gov, .edu, or .org in the domain. (Wikipedia is not a reputable source, though the sources listed in Wikipedia articles may be acceptable.)

If you're unsure about how to use MLA format for your paper and sources, please see the following lessons:

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