English 102 Short Assignment

Preparing for the Synthesis Paper: Research Paper Proposal

The assignment:

In a brief memo addressed to your instructor propose a topic for your research/synthesis paper and include a brief discussion of how you might approach this topic.

Please discuss the following (in numbered paragraphs):

  1. What is your thesis or research question (the thing about your topic you want to find out)? Your topic must be opinionated and well-phrased and formulated, rather than a petty observation about your topic.
  2. What two or three outside scholarly sources do you plan on using? You don't have to have read all of them yet, but try to have at least 3 good sources ready by the time you turn in the proposal. Such an approach attempts to ensure that you don't go about getting sources at the last minute. It also ensures that you steer clear of topics for which you cannot find adequate resources.
  3. What's the whole point of this topic? What motivated you to pursue this topic? So what? Why do you care about this topic? Why should your readers? (Don't be fooled by how short this question is—it's of vital importance!)


If you intend to write on a topic from the Essay 5 Topics Sheet, you do not need any special approval. (After all, I wrote these things, so I pretty much think they are OK.) If, however, you intend to write on a topic which is not on the suggested topics sheet, you must get approval before proceeding.

Topics which will probably get rejected:

Mechanical details:

Due date:

This assignment counts as a quiz.

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Ashland University.

Revised 12/30/21 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: callen@ashland.edu.