Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grading Research Proposals - What I'm Looking for

Hi, students. Here's a link to a video I made of a graded Senior Seminar research proposal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb10REmWNIE

This is pretty typical of the corrections I make to student papers, and I hope that by watching this video (5 minutes long) it will sensitize you to the need to write clearly, use correct words, use proper spelling and grammar, etc.

Good writing is important! It can get you into graduate school, as well as the career you want. Poor or mediocre writing will lead to graduate school/law school rejections, and competitors for the job you want getting that position instead of you. Boo! You may be very smart, but if you don't express yourself well in writing, no one will know how smart you really are.

The GOOD news is, poor writing is fairly easy to clean up. Some suggestions are: print out your paper and read it aloud on paper. Don't read off the computer screen. Also, ask a friend or fellow student to read your work, preferably out loud. Sometimes phrasing sounds clearer in your head that it does on paper. Getting another person's feedback pre-submission to me can help.

What makes good proposal writing for Seminar? Some general suggestions would be:

(1) Clearly express your ideas. Don't be vague.
(2) Follow the instructions in the syllabus.
(3) Use proper grammar and spelling. You'll never get an "A" in my course if you don't spell properly and use good grammar.

Common mistakes to avoid:

(1) Run-on sentences
(2) Sentence fragments
(3) Subject-verb agreement problems. Example: Students study for the exam, NOT students studies for the exam. (Nooo!) Also: The student studies for the exam (yes!). Not: The student study for the exam (no!).
(4) Text that is quoted without including the page number from the source material.
(5) Misuse of the apostrophe
(6) Not ending sentences with period, or other appropriate punctuation. End sentences with periods. End questions with question marks.
(7) Spelling mistakes. When in doubt, consult the dictionary.
(8) Sentences that are unclear and don't make sense
(9) Using the wrong word. There's an example of this in the video: "participates" is used when it should be "participants." Two common incorrect words I see in proposals:
-Lots of researches have found.... COMMENT: It's either research or researchers.
-I conducted a convenient sample.... COMMENT: It's a convenience sample.

Again, the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb10REmWNIE. Hope it helps, and good luck with your proposal writing.



  1. Very nice post thank you for sharing. It should be more helpful to Study and doing Thesis or Research.

  2. Really informative article, indeed. Amazing designs and attention to details. Find Research paper help and Thesis writing .

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