What would you need to tell them in terms of context so that they can understand and appreciate your work?
In the last neighborhood Profile, I already choose the neighborhood East Scarborough including 135,132137,136,134, or you can check the neighborhood list to find the Esat Scarborough. and in this research proposal, the topic and question are about education and immigrants.
research Proposal: Students are required to write a research proposal in which they outline a
research question, position the research in the broader policy/social planning context, sketch out
their research approach and methodology, outline the structure of the paper, and contextualize
the project in the larger academic literature. The proposal includes an annotated bibliography of
6-8 substantial scholarly sources relevant to the research project. Please note that the goal is to
compile all sources in one master bibliography to be shared with all members of the class.
(Format: approx. 1000 words proposal text + approx. 1000 words annotated bibliography)
The research proposal is the first installment of a scaffolded research assignment in the course Proposal/Annotated Bibliography (20%) Feedback from Instructor and Peers Final Research Paper (35%) Presentation (10%)
The proposal is an essential step in the development of your research project and final paper. Please don’t leave this to the last minute. You are required to do some preliminary research on the topic and produce a preliminary research bibliography. Both take time!
It is recommended to spend a good 10 hrs (2 half days) working on the proposal. This will set you up for success later on when doing the research and writing the final paper.
What is the purpose of a proposal?
As the name suggests, a research proposal is proposing a research project. Don’t confuse this with the actual research. The proposal comes before you do the research. Its purpose is to
(1a) Formulate a (clear) research question and (1b) highlight the relevance of the research;
(2) Contextualize the research and research question by reviewing existing work on the topic;
(3) Outline a particular research design and method(s) to answer the research question.
It is particularly point (2) that requires quite a bit of time as you need to explore what is already known about your topic through a preliminary literature review on your topic.
Carefully review the U of Guelph handout on Research Question, the UCLA handout on Writing a Proposal, and Ch.3 of our Methods textbook (see Week 3).
What makes a good research question?
The research question should be clear and concise. Its purpose is to guide and centre your research. The research question should be framed in a way that it supports and enables you to search for and identify pieces of information that will help you answer the question and also which information is irrelevant and can be discarded or excluded. (Please review the several handouts posted on Quercus on developing a research topic and a proposal)
Ideally, you want to choose a question that you genuinely care about and are interested in. This will make the research more rewarding and perhaps even fun!
For this course, start with a review of the course subject, place-based social policy, review your neighbourhood profile, and browse the media coverage on the topic (remember we collected news coverage on the topic together). It is also advisable to read the TSNS 2020 report (Week 4) and identify some other City of Toronto reports/policy documents that might be relevant to your research topic. Do some preliminary research on the topic through academic journals, books, and a general internet search. Try to get a sense of what’s already known about the topic.
Think of the different levels of abstraction/scales for a potential research project:
Macro level: For example, national strategies for place-based policies; a comparison of different national policy frameworks, a comparison of different municipal approaches, …
A research project at this scale might sound like “Canada’s urban policy framework in comparative perspectives: Implications for neighbourhoods and communities.”
Meso level: For example, a study of a particular policy issue, its spatial dimension in relation to specific areas (neighbourhoods) in the city, and its implications for place-based policy development.
A research project at this scale might sound like “Revitalization high-rise rental towers in the inner suburbs: An analysis of the City of Toronto’s Tower Renewal project.”
Micro level: A single or multiple neighbourhood case study.
A research project at this scale might sound like “Increasing food security in the inner suburbs: A case of the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada.”
[I just made the topics and titles up. These are meant to give you a sense of the types of research topics/titles you might want to develop and the scale at which you situate your research]
Your project may very well be a combination of different levels but will probably emphasize one level. It is good to reflect on this as you are working on your proposal. The scale of your research will have important implications on research design and methods.
Contextualizing the project, highlighting its relevance, and literature review
Imagine you write this proposal for someone who doesn’t know anything about your topic or the geographic area you are writing about. You need to provide sufficient context for the reader to fully understand the historical, geographical and political context. Imagine you are talking about this research to someone in Vancouver or outside of Canada. What would you need to tell them in terms of context so that they can understand and appreciate your work?
Explain why your research matters. What is its scholarly, political or ethical relevance? Why should we care about this research?
Importantly, what scholarship exists on your topic? What have other scholars written about this topic. You want to put references throughout your proposal and link the development of your own research question to the broader literature. As yourself, confidently, how will my paper contribute to the literature and what we know about the topic? This is often the most underdeveloped.
You need to describe how you will go about answering your question. Literally, what are the things you will do to answer the question? Question and methods are intimately connected. This course does not require you to collect primary data “in the field.” You probably won’t step away from the computer to complete the research for this assignment. If you want to do “key informant interviews,” you need to let me know asap. That said, there are a multitude of different pieces of information (data sources) or data that you can collect as part of your research. Review the methods textbooks for this course (posted in Week 3, reach chapters 1-5) and review some of the methods texts (Week 4 on Measuring and Mapping) we read throughout the semester. You can also consult and cite additional methods texts based on your need.
And then there are different approaches to what you can do with the data or information, i.e., how you will analyse the data. This needs to be clearly spelled out in the proposal. When asked “what’s your research design or research method?”, you should be able to answer in a short and succinct way.
The most common data or information sources I anticipate you will use are: scholarly literature, “grey literature,” quantitative data in the form of territorial social indicators (Census data and other statistical data), government publications, and print media. But surprise me with other data! Remember that human participation (interviews etc.) would require ethics approval. Please speak to me asap if you plan to engage human participants in your research.
The last pages of your proposal should be a preliminary bibliography of 6-8 scholarly sources on your topic. I strongly recommend scoping the scholarly literature on the topic first before moving on to other publication types. I expect the majority of sources listed in your bibliography to be scholarly, e.g., academic books, book chapters from edited volumes, or academic journal articles. Please don’t include newspaper or website in your annotated bibliography.
Provide the full reference (ideally in APA style) and then write relatively short (approx. 150 word) annotations highlighting why the source is included in your bibliography. If you can’t say it succinctly or are not sure how it will contribute to answering your question, I recommend excluding it. Please do not copy text from abstracts or use quotations from the text, please. It should be you as the researcher articulating why you included it in the bibliography.
12-point font, double spaced, include page numbers. Use paragraphs to structure the flow of your proposal text (each paragraph should have a clear purpose).
Provide a title for your project.