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What Is The Purpose Of A Proposal Essay

Collage Proposal

Introduction

In 1912, Pablo Picasso, an avid painter of nature and still life, tore part of a makeshift tablecloth and glued it to his painting, Still Life with Chair Caning, and thus, by adding different items to aid his painting, he began the art of collage making. (Pablo Picasso – Still Life with Chair Canning). A collage is simply a group of objects arranged together to create a complete image of an idea, theme, or memory. For example, David Modler created a collage called “Big Bug” to represent the irony that is the importance of insects to our natural world in comparison to their size. The bug in the image is the smallest feature of the collage yet it is to be viewed as the most important aspect (Modler, David). All these parts of a collage collaborate together to create a unifying theme or message and can be used as a helpful tool in education.

Statement of Purpose

I propose that each student make an artistic collage to be presented to the class that will symbolize the context, audience, setting, structure or any key ideas found in one of the readings this semester. Students who make a collage will be able to drop the lowest quiz grade.

Plan of Action

The students will have one week from the announcement of the project to complete the collage and prepare a presentation for it. Each student must choose one reading that we have done so far or will read in the future, and no two students may choose the same work. Conflict with students wanting to present the same work will be resolved by a first come first serve basis. The students will be given a rubric with the exact requirements of the project and what the purpose of the project is.

I will make the rubric myself and submit it for approval, or we can use the rubric that I have attached.

Benefits of Collage Proposal

  1. Making a collage would allow the students to think and inspect the readings and ideas visually (Rodrigo, “Collage”), thus giving them another perspective, or possibly clearing up any misconceptions and confusions they had about a work when we were just discussing it in class verbally.
  2. A collage provides the opportunity for revision of a certain work and would certainly help to clear up any topics in the readings that might come up on the final exam or a future test, via a visual and more creative method.
  3. If a student received a bad grade on a quiz because they did not understand the reading, the collage would give the student an opportunity to go back to the reading and understand it, or to read ahead and grasp concepts that might be useful to present to the class before the class does the reading. A collage would allow the student to become familiar with the work in a visual way and give them an opportunity to understand the main themes, topics, and ideas of a work, even one we might not have read yet.

Viability of Collage Proposal

Since a collage would be like giving the student an opportunity to go back and review a subject and at the same time would resemble preparation for a presentation, the time and effort required to go back and re-read a work as well as prepare the collage creatively would be sufficient to justify replacing the lowest quiz grade.

Our course mentor said that this project would be a nice addition to the class because, just like any play is better seen than read, the collage will allow students to get the visual aspect behind a work and help them to grasp the ideas better.

Past visuals that we have used in class to describe scenes from our readings such as The Tempest and The Odyssey have greatly helped me to understand some of the ideas of the stories. For example, I always pictured the cyclops as a nasty, vile creature, but after some of the “fuzzy” drawings on the board done by some of my peers, I imagined and understood that he could in fact be a gentle creature that was just angered by Ulysses trespassing and blinding him. I could not have seen that perspective of the story had it not been for some of the more innocent visuals on the board.

Finally, I have discussed with the students in our class about the idea of a collage replacing the lowest quiz grade and the overwhelming majority approved of the idea. Since a collage will substitute for a quiz grade, the assignment will be optional. Just as a quiz is almost always optional based on class initiation of discussion, the collage will also be optional based on similar student effort parameters. The students who do not want to do a collage can choose “door number 2” and take a quiz that would be created by the teachers and/or myself. This quiz can be used to make the total number of assignments for each student in the class even, and may or may not be graded based on the professor's discretion.

Desired Outcomes

The first goal of my collage proposal is to give students a chance to be creative and step outside the boundaries of classroom discussion. They can use their imaginations to find a way to creatively put together a collage that will help the class as well as themselves to better understand the course reading.

A second goal of my proposal is that the time and effort put into making the collage and presenting it in front of the class will equal the worth of dropping the lowest quiz grade. Because this collage requires the creator to examine the context, audience, setting, structure of any one of the readings, it is essentially like a quiz itself, which includes questions on similar topics.

Necessary Resources

The literary work that a student chooses to create a collage on will determine how much time is necessary to fully complete the project. One week to create a collage should give each student—no matter what reading they choose to do—ample time to create a presentable and educational collage for the class.

In terms of tangible resources, this project is not very demanding. A simple poster or a series of photographs or drawings assembled neatly together by the student will be about as resourcefully demanding as this project gets.

In addition, a few hours of class time will need to be allocated in order to present the collages. If each student takes at least five minutes to present the total time needed for the presentations will be 1 hour and 15 minutes. The presentation day(s) and time(s) can be decided by the class as a whole.

The rest of the resources needed are already available:

  • The readings are all published online if a student needs to refer back to them
  • Craft supplies are readily available

Skills for Successful Completion

  • As a good planner and organizer I made a rubric that is specific enough to give the students a good idea of what they should be doing for the collage. The rubric can be made available upon your request.
  • In addition I can also come up with a quiz if there are students who want to opt out of the collage project.
  • I can talk to the class and come up with a good presentation time and date for everybody.
  • I would volunteer myself to hold an early presentation session a few days before the due date so the others can get an idea of what their collage could look like and why they can benefit from the project.
  • I will make myself available to the class if they have any questions about the proposed project.

Conclusion

A collage will allow students to understand visually a reading or topic in a reading that they may have been confused about. The project is a fun and creative way to get students to think about a reading more in depth as well as review for future exams. As a result of the effort and time put into the collages, the students should be allowed to drop their lowest quiz grade in the semester.

Works Cited

Modler, David. Big Bug. Photograph.Kronos Art Gallery. Web. 12 Oct. 2011

"Pablo Picasso - Still Life with Chair Caning (1912)." Lenin Imports. Web. 12 Oct. 2011.

Rodrigo. "Collages." Web 2.0 Toolkit. 11 Mar. 2009. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.

THE ELEMENTS OF A PROPOSAL

Frank Pajares

Emory University

I.                  Introduction and Theoretical Framework

A.                 “The introduction is the part of the paper that provides readers with the background information for the research reported in the paper. Its purpose is to establish a framework for the research, so that readers can understand how it is related to other research” (Wilkinson, 1991, p. 96).

B.                 In an introduction, the writer should

1.                  create reader interest in the topic,

2.                  lay the broad foundation for the problem that leads to the study,

3.                  place the study within the larger context of the scholarly literature, and

4.                  reach out to a specific audience. (Creswell, 1994, p. 42)

C.                 If a researcher is working within a particular theoretical framework/line of inquiry, the theory or line of inquiry should be introduced and discussed early, preferably in the introduction or literature review. Remember that the theory/line of inquiry selected will inform the statement of the problem, rationale for the study, questions and hypotheses, selection of instruments, and choice of methods. Ultimately, findings will be discussed in terms of how they relate to the theory/line of inquiry that undergirds the study.

D.                 Theories, theoretical frameworks, and lines of inquiry may be differently handled in quantitative and qualitative endeavors.

1.                  “In quantitative studies, one uses theory deductively and places it toward the beginning of the plan for a study. The objective is to test or verify theory. One thus begins the study advancing a theory, collects data to test it, and reflects on whether the theory was confirmed or disconfirmed by the results in the study. The theory becomes a framework for the entire study, an organizing model for the research questions or hypotheses for the data collection procedure” (Creswell, 1994, pp. 87-88).

2.                  In qualitative inquiry, the use of theory and of a line of inquiry depends on the nature of the investigation. In studies aiming at “grounded theory,” for example, theory and theoretical tenets emerge from findings. Much qualitative inquiry, however, also aims to test or verify theory, hence in these cases the theoretical framework, as in quantitative efforts, should be identified and discussed early on.

II.               Statement of the Problem

A.                 “The problem statement describes the context for the study and it also identifies the general analysis approach” (Wiersma, 1995, p. 404).

B.                 “A problem might be defined as the issue that exists in the literature, theory, or practice that leads to a need for the study” (Creswell, 1994, p. 50).

C.                 It is important in a proposal that the problem stand out—that the reader can easily recognize it. Sometimes, obscure and poorly formulated problems are masked in an extended discussion. In such cases, reviewers and/or committee members will have difficulty recognizing the problem.

D.                 A problem statement should be presented within a context, and that context should be provided and briefly explained, including a discussion of the conceptual or theoretical framework in which it is embedded. Clearly and succinctly identify and explain the problem within the framework of the theory or line of inquiry that undergirds the study. This is of major importance in nearly all proposals and requires careful attention. It is a key element that associations such as AERA and APA look for in proposals. It is essential in all quantitative research and much qualitative research.

E.                  State the problem in terms intelligible to someone who is generally sophisticated but who is relatively uninformed in the area of your investigation.

F.                  Effective problem statements answer the question “Why does this research need to be conducted.” If a researcher is unable to answer this question clearly and succinctly, and without resorting to hyperspeaking (i.e., focusing on problems of macro or global proportions that certainly will not be informed or alleviated by the study), then the statement of the problem will come off as ambiguous and diffuse.

G.                 For conference proposals, the statement of the problem is generally incorporated into the introduction; academic proposals for theses or dissertations should have this as a separate section.

III.           Purpose of the Study

A.                 “The purpose statement should provide a specific and accurate synopsis of the overall purpose of the study” (Locke, Spirduso, & Silverman, 1987, p. 5). If the purpose is not clear to the writer, it cannot be clear to the reader.

B.                 Briefly define and delimit the specific area of the research. You will revisit this in greater detail in a later section.


C.                 Foreshadow the hypotheses to be tested or the questions to be raised, as well as the significance of the study. These will require specific elaboration in subsequent sections.

D.                 The purpose statement can also incorporate the rationale for the study. Some committees prefer that the purpose and rationale be provided in separate sections, however.

E.                  Key points to keep in mind when preparing a purpose statement.

1.                  Try to incorporate a sentence that begins with “The purpose of this study is . . .”
This will clarify your own mind as to the purpose and it will inform the reader directly and explicitly.

2.                  Clearly identify and define the central concepts or ideas of the study. Some committee Chairs prefer a separate section to this end. When defining terms, make a judicious choice between using descriptive or operational definitions.

3.                  Identify the specific method of inquiry to be used.

4.                  Identify the unit of analysis in the study.

IV.           Review of the Literature

A.                 “The review of the literature provides the background and context for the research problem. It should establish the need for the research and indicate that the writer is knowledgeable about the area” (Wiersma, 1995, p. 406).

B.                 The literature review accomplishes several important things.

1.                  It shares with the reader the results of other studies that are closely related to the study being reported (Fraenkel & Wallen, 1990).

2.                  It relates a study to the larger, ongoing dialogue in the literature about a topic, filling in gaps and extending prior studies (Marshall & Rossman, 1989).

3.                  It provides a framework for establishing the importance of the study, as well as a benchmark for comparing the results of a study with other findings.

4.                  It “frames” the problem earlier identified.

C.                 Demonstrate to the reader that you have a comprehensive grasp of the field and are aware of important recent substantive and methodological developments.

D.                 Delineate the “jumping-off place” for your study. How will your study refine, revise, or extend what is now known?

E.                  Avoid statements that imply that little has been done in the area or that what has been done is too extensive to permit easy summary. Statements of this sort are usually taken as indications that the writer is not really familiar with the literature.

F.                  In a proposal, the literature review is generally brief and to the point. Be judicious in your choice of exemplars—the literature selected should be pertinent and relevant (APA, 2001). Select and reference only the more appropriate citations. Make key points clearly and succinctly.

G.                 Committees may want a section outlining your search strategy—the procedures you used and sources you investigated (e.g., databases, journals, test banks, experts in the field) to compile your literature review. Check with your Chair.

V.               Questions and/or Hypotheses


A.                 Questions are relevant to normative or census type research (How many of them are there? Is there a relationship between them?). They are most often used in qualitative inquiry, although their use in quantitative inquiry is becoming more prominent. Hypotheses are relevant to theoretical research and are typically used only in quantitative inquiry. When a writer states hypotheses, the reader is entitled to have an exposition of the theory that led to them (and of the assumptions underlying the theory). Just as conclusions must be grounded in the data, hypotheses must be grounded in the theoretical framework.

B.                 A research question poses a relationship between two or more variables but phrases the relationship as a question; a hypothesis represents a declarative statement of the relations between two or more variables (Kerlinger, 1979; Krathwohl, 1988).

C.                 Deciding whether to use questions or hypotheses depends on factors such as the purpose of the study, the nature of the design and methodology, and the audience of the research (at times even the taste and preference of committee members, particularly the Chair).

D.                 The practice of using hypotheses was derived from using the scientific method in social science inquiry. They have philosophical advantages in statistical testing, as researchers should be and tend to be conservative and cautious in their statements of conclusions (Armstrong, 1974).

E.                  Hypotheses can be couched in four kinds of statements.

1.                  Literary null—a “no difference” form in terms of theoretical constructs. For example, “There is no relationship between support services and academic persistence of nontraditional-aged college women.” Or, “There is no difference in school achievement for high and low self-regulated students.”

2.                  Operational null—a “no difference” form in terms of the operation required to test the hypothesis. For example, “There is no relationship between the number of hours nontraditional-aged college women use the student union and their persistence at the college after their freshman year.” Or, “There is no difference between the mean grade point averages achieved by students in the upper and lower quartiles of the distribution of the Self-regulated Inventory.” The operational null is generally the preferred form of hypothesis-writing.

3.                  Literary alternative—a form that states the hypothesis you will accept if the null hypothesis is rejected, stated in terms of theoretical constructs. In other words, this is usually what you hope the results will show. For example, “The more that nontraditional-aged women use support services, the more they will persist academically.” Or, “High self-regulated students will achieve more in their classes than low self-regulated students.”

4.                  Operational alternative—Similar to the literary alternative except that the operations are specified. For example, “The more that nontraditional-aged college women use the student union, the more they will persist at the college after their freshman year.” Or, “Students in the upper quartile of the Self-regulated Inventory distribution achieve significantly higher grade point averages than do students in the lower quartile.”

F.                  In general, the null hypothesis is used if theory/literature does not suggest a hypothesized relationship between the variables under investigation; the alternative is generally reserved for situations in which theory/research suggests a relationship or directional interplay.


G.                 Be prepared to interpret any possible outcomes with respect to the questions or hypotheses. It will be helpful if you visualize in your mind=s eye the tables (or other summary devices) that you expect to result from your research (Guba, 1961).

H.                 Questions and hypotheses are testable propositions deduced and directly derived from theory (except in grounded theory studies and similar types of qualitative inquiry).

I.                    Make a clear and careful distinction between the dependent and independent variables and be certain they are clear to the reader. Be excruciatingly consistent in your use of terms. If appropriate, use the same pattern of wording and word order in all hypotheses.

VI.           The Design--Methods and Procedures

A.                 “The methods or procedures section is really the heart of the research proposal. The activities should be described with as much detail as possible, and the continuity between them should be apparent” (Wiersma, 1995, p. 409).

B.                 Indicate the methodological steps you will take to answer every question or to test every hypothesis illustrated in the Questions/Hypotheses section.

C.                 All research is plagued by the presence of confounding variables (the noise that covers up the information you would like to have). Confounding variables should be minimized by various kinds of controls or be estimated and taken into account by randomization processes (Guba, 1961). In the design section, indicate

1.                  the variables you propose to control and how you propose to control them, experimentally or statistically, and

2.                  the variables you propose to randomize, and the nature of the randomizing unit (students, grades, schools, etc.).

D.                 Be aware of possible sources of error to which your design exposes you. You will not produce a perfect, error free design (no one can). However, you should anticipate possible sources of error and attempt to overcome them or take them into account in your analysis. Moreover, you should disclose to the reader the sources you have identified and what efforts you have made to account for them.

E.                  Sampling

1.                  The key reason for being concerned with sampling is that of validity—the extent to which the interpretations of the results of the study follow from the study itself and the extent to which results may be generalized to other situations with other people (Shavelson, 1988).


2.                  Sampling is critical to external validity—the extent to which findings of a study can be generalized to people or situations other than those observed in the study. To generalize validly the findings from a sample to some defined population requires that the sample has been drawn from that population according to one of several probability sampling plans. By a probability sample is meant that the probability of inclusion in the sample of any element in the population must be given a priori. All probability samples involve the idea of random sampling at some stage (Shavelson, 1988). In experimentation, two distinct steps are involved.

Random selection—participants to be included in the sample have been chosen at random from the same population. Define the population and indicate the sampling plan in detail.

Random assignment—participants for the sample have been assigned at random to one of the experimental conditions.

3.                  Another reason for being concerned with sampling is that of internal validity—the extent to which the outcomes of a study result from the variables that were manipulated, measured, or selected rather than from other variables not systematically treated. Without probability sampling, error estimates cannot be constructed (Shavelson, 1988).

4.                  Perhaps the key word in sampling is representative. One must ask oneself, “How representative is the sample of the survey population (the group from which the sample is selected) and how representative is the survey population of the target population (the larger group to which we wish to generalize)?”

5.                  When a sample is drawn out of convenience (a nonprobability sample), rationale and limitations must be clearly provided.

6.                  If available, outline the characteristics of the sample (by gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or other relevant group membership).

7.                  Detail procedures to follow to obtain informed consent and ensure anonymity and/or confidentiality.

F.                  Instrumentation

1.                  Outline the instruments you propose to use (surveys, scales, interview protocols, observation grids). If instruments have previously been used, identify previous studies and findings related to reliability and validity. If instruments have not previously been used, outline procedures you will follow to develop and test their reliability and validity. In the latter case, a pilot study is nearly essential.

2.                  Because selection of instruments in most cases provides the operational definition of constructs, this is a crucial step in the proposal. For example, it is at this step that a literary conception such as “self-efficacy is related to school achievement” becomes “scores on the Mathematics Self-Efficacy Scale are related to Grade Point Average.” Strictly speaking, results of your study will be directly relevant only to the instrumental or operational statements (Guba, 1961).

3.                  Include an appendix with a copy of the instruments to be used or the interview protocol to be followed. Also include sample items in the description of the instrument.

4.                  For a mailed survey, identify steps to be taken in administering and following up the survey to obtain a high response rate.

G.                 Data Collection


1.                  Outline the general plan for collecting the data. This may include survey administration procedures, interview or observation procedures. Include an explicit statement covering the field controls to be employed. If appropriate, discuss how you obtained entré.

2.                  Provide a general outline of the time schedule you expect to follow.

H.                 Data Analysis

1.                  Specify the procedures you will use, and label them accurately (e.g., ANOVA, MANCOVA, HLM, ethnography, case study, grounded theory). If coding procedures are to be used, describe in reasonable detail. If you triangulated, carefully explain how you went about it. Communicate your precise intentions and reasons for these intentions to the reader. This helps you and the reader evaluate the choices you made and procedures you followed.

2.                  Indicate briefly any analytic tools you will have available and expect to use (e.g., Ethnograph, NUDIST, AQUAD, SAS, SPSS, SYSTAT).

3.                  Provide a well thought-out rationale for your decision to use the design, methodology, and analyses you have selected.

VII.        Limitations and Delimitations

A.                 A limitation identifies potential weaknesses of the study. Think about your analysis, the nature of self-report, your instruments, the sample. Think about threats to internal validity that may have been impossible to avoid or minimize—explain.

B.                 A delimitation addresses how a study will be narrowed in scope, that is, how it is bounded. This is the place to explain the things that you are not doing and why you have chosen not to do them—the literature you will not review (and why not), the population you are not studying (and why not), the methodological procedures you will not use (and why you will not use them). Limit your delimitations to the things that a reader might reasonably expect you to do but that you, for clearly explained reasons, have decided not to do.

VIII.    Significance of the Study

A.                 Indicate how your research will refine, revise, or extend existing knowledge in the area under investigation. Note that such refinements, revisions, or extensions may have either substantive, theoretical, or methodological significance. Think pragmatically (i.e., cash value).

B.                 Most studies have two potential audiences: practitioners and professional peers. Statements relating the research to both groups are in order.

C.                 This can be a difficult section to write. Think about implications—how results of the study may affect scholarly research, theory, practice, educational interventions, curricula, counseling, policy.

D.                 When thinking about the significance of your study, ask yourself the following questions.

1.                  What will results mean to the theoretical framework that framed the study?

2.                  What suggestions for subsequent research arise from the findings?


3.                  What will the results mean to the practicing educator?

4.                  Will results influence programs, methods, and/or interventions?

5.                  Will results contribute to the solution of educational problems?

6.                  Will results influence educational policy decisions?

7.                  What will be improved or changed as a result of the proposed research?

8.                  How will results of the study be implemented, and what innovations will come about?

IX.           References

A.                 Follow APA guidelines regarding use of references in text and in the reference list. Of course, your committee or discipline may require Chicago or MLA.

B.                 Only references cited in the text are included in the reference list; however, exceptions can be found to this rule. For example, committees may require evidence that you are familiar with a broader spectrum of literature than that immediately relevant to your research. In such instances, the reference list may be called a bibliography.

C.                 Some committees require that reference lists and/or bibliographies be “annotated,” which is to say that each entry be accompanied by a brief description, or an abstract. Check with your committee Chair before the fact.

Appendixes

The need for complete documentation generally dictates the inclusion of appropriate appendixes in proposals (although this is generally not the case as regards conference proposals).

The following materials are appropriate for an appendix. Consult with your committee Chair.

Verbatim instructions to participants.

Original scales or questionnaires. If an instrument is copyrighted, permission in writing to reproduce the instrument from the copyright holder or proof of purchase of the instrument.

Interview protocols.

Sample of informed consent forms.

Cover letters sent to appropriate stakeholders.

Official letters of permission to conduct research.


References

American Psychological Association (APA). (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (Fourth edition). Washington, DC: Author.

Armstrong, R. L. (1974). Hypotheses: Why? When? How? Phi Delta Kappan, 54, 213-214.

Creswell, J. W. (1994). Research design: Qualitative & quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Guba, E. G. (1961, April). Elements of a proposal. Paper presented at the UCEA meeting, Chapel Hill, NC.

Fraenkel, J. R. & Wallen, N. E. (1990). How to design and evaluate research in education. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kerlinger, F. N. (1979). Behavioral research: A conceptual approach. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

Krathwohl, D. R. (1988). How to prepare a research proposal: Guidelines for funding and dissertations in the social and behavioral sciences. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Locke, L. F., Spirduso, W. W., & Silverman, S. J. (1987). Proposals that work: A guide for planning dissertations and grant proposals (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (1989). Designing qualitative research: Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Shavelson, R. J. (1988). Statistical reasoning for the behavioral sciences (second edition). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Wiersma, W. (1995). Research methods in education: An introduction (Sixth edition). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Wilkinson, A. M. (1991). The scientist’s handbook for writing papers and dissertations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Pajares, F. (2007). Elements of a proposal. Retrieved from http://des.emory.edu/mfp/proposal.html

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