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complex relationship between language and culture


ENG 231: Proposal Assignment and Rubric


Research efforts often benefit from a framework to help focus, as best as possible, your efforts and to avoid becoming lost amid, or overwhelmed by, the mass of information and the many directions you could explore.  Proposals can also, during their construction, reveal dead ends and fruitful avenues for thought; they can reveal problems before they become insurmountable during the drafting process.  Finished proposals, on the one hand, allow you the opportunity to convince readers you are capable of, and equipped to, accomplish the project and that it is worthwhile.  On the other hand, readers get the chance to suggest changes, if needed, to your project.
Specific Requirements

  1. Content:

    Write a proposal describing and explaining your research project (which will be on constructing a position toward a controversial issue emerging out of the complex relationship between language and culture) and initial efforts to complete it. Use the questions provided below to help construct the document.  The proposal need not be lengthy, only clear and as detailed as you can be at this early stage.  One to two paragraphs of explanation for each heading should be sufficient, but usually the more you can explain on the front-end of the project the more prepared and focused you will be when researching and writing later.Be sure to address the bolded items in “a.” through “f.” below.

  2. Arrangement:

    Use the underlined questions in the Outline section below to help organize your proposal. Use all other questions to help spur your thinking. For consistency purposes among proposals, keep the sequence of headings as they are presented here.   The document must be2 – 4 pages long, double-spaced, written in 12-point font with one-inch margins, and formatted in accordance with Baker College’s APA the easy way!(i.e. a cover page with a tentative essay title and headers).

  3. Outline:

    What will Iargue?
    What is the general topic and specific subject about which you will establish a defensible position? What primary texts will you interpret?  Why these sources and not some other?  What is your interest in this topic and subject (or these works)?List the full APA formatted reference for each primary literary text you plan on using in your essay.

    b.  How will I explain it?
    What writing strategies (e.g. comparison, description, narration) will you most likely use to present your evidence and by which you will analyze the primary research?  What concepts might be useful to apply to the readings to help develop your argument? For example, how might Kingston’s notion of silence be used to interpret or analyze male and female discourse practices?

    c.  What will I say about the research and how will I support my position?
    What general or specific questions do you have that will inform or guide your research efforts?  Provide here what might be your tentative thesis (or answer to these questions) for this researched position essay.  What are you trying to persuade the reader to think?

    d.  How does context affect this Researched Essay?
    Do you need to explain background for the primary research, general topic or specific subject area, like socially pervasive ideas or political events?  Do current events impact how the work may be received or interpreted?  Summarize a background source on your topic or text(s).  (You may not eventually use this source in your final essay, but it is helpful if you have the information nonetheless.)

    e.  What, and how many, resources do I need?
    What kind of research (e.g. 2-page reviews, or 20-page research articles by scholars, cultural critics, or other professionals) will you need or already have?  Why might this kind of research be helpful or necessary do you think?  What questions emerge from this research?  Are they really important now?  List here the full APA formatted reference for two useful articles or sources you have found for this project.

    f.  What’s the significance and why is writing worthwhile?
    Research is intellectually heavy-lifting, as well as time-consuming;therefore, you want to maximize your efforts by being clear about your work’s direction and potential benefits.  Additionally, your readers must be convinced that the work you’ve done and the position you’ve crafted is significant so that they will not feel as if they have not gained anything from reading your proposal nor that they might waste their time reading your final Research Essay.  This does not mean you have to create the breakthrough argument on gender differences in communication.  Rather, what makes the work beneficial, original, and significant is that the ideas are yours crafted by your own thinking into a meaningful, holistic, and non-obvious position.  Briefly explain what you think your reader should value and appreciate after reading your Researched Essay.

Proposal Rubric (50 Points)
Criteria Points Comments
Proposal draft is developed sufficiently with cogent reasoning and specific description to understand the research project’s significance and the proposed essay’s main idea. /25  
All bolded directions/questions have clearly articulated and correct responses. /15  
Document meets minimum formatting requirements, including appropriate headings. /10  



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