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 time as you need to explore what is already known about your topic through a preliminary literature review on your topic. 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.
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). 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.
A single neighbourhood case study: for this topic I choose Regent Park in Toronto
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.
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?
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. That said, there are a multitude of different pieces of information (data sources) or data that you can collect as part of your research.
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 (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 6scholarly 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.
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-pointfont, 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.
For more information on Housing Affordability read this:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordable_housing