This paper should contain your research question/hypothesis, an abstract, an
introduction/problem statement and a literature review.
Your Research Question/Hypothesis: Your specific research question(s) or
hypotheses should be stated in your introductory paragraph and in your abstract.
Abstract: Your proposal will begin with an abstract of your proposed study (one
paragraph). This is basically a summary of your proposal and it includes your research
question. Introduction/problem statement (1-2 paragraphs): After the abstract, research
proposals generally begin with an introductory section that describes the research
problem and establishes its significance. This section answers the following kinds of
questions: What exactly do you want to study? Why is it worth studying? Does the
proposed study have theoretical and/or practical significance? Does it contribute to a
new understanding of a phenomenon (e.g., does it address new or little-known material
or does it treat familiar material in a new way or does it challenge an existing
understanding or extend existing knowledge)?
Literature Review (2-3 pages): This section is a review of the literature on your topic. It
is basically a term/research paper on your topic and tells the reader information that has
already been discovered regarding your topic. The research problem or objective needs
to be situated within a context of other scholarship in the area(s). The literature review
presents a discussion of the most important research and theoretical work relating to
the research problem/objective. It addresses the following kinds of questions: What
have others said about this area(s)? What theories address it and what do these say?
What research has been done (or not done) previously? Are there consistent findings or
do past studies disagree? Are there flaws or gaps in the previous research that your
study will seek to remedy?
Three sources are required. All 3 sources must be from an academic journal, not books,
newspaper articles or magazine articles. You may use these as additional sources
beyond the required 3 journal articles. This section requires in-text citations in APA
format. You must document your sources using the social sciences standard citation
method, APA. This method is actually simpler than MLA. For example, to cite a textbook
after you talk about a theory, you need only put the author’s last name and year of
publication: His lack of self-control suggests Latent Trait (Siegel, 2008). Then in your
References (bibliography), you write: Siegel, L. (2008). Criminology: the core. Belmont,
CA: Thomson Wadsworth. To find out the rules for APA style, please refer to the
Berkeley Libguide at:
http://berkeleycollege.libguides.com/content.php?pid=197278&sid=1650985. You can
also look at the APA guide from the library at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal
Justice. http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/research/apastyle2010.pdf .
You can also look at the OWL Purdue Writing
Lab:http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ Also, some databases, such as
Proquest, will automatically put its listed sources in APA format for you. You can also
use citation assistants online or in Microsoft Word. Lastly, you can always go to the
ASC for assistance in writing, paraphrasing, and referencing. Include only those articles
that support the logic of the argument and/or the proposed research methods. For
instance, if you are interested in studying juvenile delinquency; the literature review
would include studies on that topic, not domestic violence. Discuss recent
developments and potential avenues for new research. Review the discussion and
conclusion sections of most scholarly articles – the authors will identify ways to improve
and/or expand research of a particular issue. Using the information is a good way to
come up with unique research ideas. Finally, your independent variable and dependent
variable should be the framework to use in developing the literature review. Remember
that your hypothesis will seek to test the relationship between the two core variables, so
knowing what the literature says about those two variables will become critical.