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SOM H01 Honors Colloquium -- Writing for Research
Rationale/Proposal for Research

To complete this assignment, you must write a 3-4 page paper that provides a rationale for further research into your topic. This assignment is due one week before the last day of classes at the end of the semester.

What is a rationale for research?

You know from SOM 491A/B that proposals (see Proposal Writing Assignment listed under SOM 310A/B at this website) are usually documents that define and describe a problem and then define and defend a solution to the problem. Proposals are persuasive, but they are also "speculative" -- that is, they tell readers how you'll carry out your plan -- costs, timetable, facilities, training, and so forth. Proposals also list reasons for acting, and the outcomes expected as a result of action. The details of a proposal may be technical, but the arguments (see Arguments in the SOM Writing Lab under SOM 310A/B at this website) in a proposal must be persuasive -- selling your idea, your competence.

A rationale is a kind of sub-proposal within a proposal: it offers the reasons for proceeding to address a particular problem with a particular solution. A rationale for research is a set of reasons offered by a researcher for conducting more research into a particular subject -- either library research, descriptive research, or experimental research. Since you have already conducted library research (your literature review), you are now ready to propose to your Honors Advisor that s/he authorize you to conduct further study and write a Thesis on your subject.

Your rationale (for this assignment) should cover the following "sub-arguments":

  1. your objectives in conducting further research -- What do you hope to find out?
  2. the significance of the subject in your field -- Why is this subject important?
  3. ) reasons why more or better research is needed -- a summary of your concluions from your literature review -- the gaps in our knowledge, flawed prior research, etc.) -- What was wrong or incomplete about prior efforts and what is needed to address these probems?
  4. your proposed research method -- Will you want to do qualitative (descriptive) or quantitative (experimental) research?

You may also want to share with your reader the following:

  1. your expected outcomes or hypotheses about the research you hope to conduct (if you are ready to articulate these)
  2. your credentials or strengths as a student and researcher
  3. your expectations about how you'd like your future research to be evaluated Revised 8-15-97/EdC