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Assignments:

Topic Proposal: By the end of the second week everyone will choose a topic for research.  In a short paragraph, explain your topic, your reasons for selecting that topic, and some possible sources you might use to begin your writing. 

Outline with Thesis: The thesis and outline should be a fairly detailed, 1-3 page map of the paper you are writing.  The thesis should be clear and manageable, and the outline should specifically illustrate the structure and support for your paper.

Peer Editing:  Each student will be responsible for submitting 4 photocopies of a “rough” draft to peers for editing. I will arrange the groups and make an announcement, and it will be your responsibility to exchange papers online either through a peer group space you can create in Canvas or simply through email.  You will read each others’ work, evaluate it critically, and give written feedback with the intent to help the writer more fully realize the work.

Annotated Bibliography: The annotated bibliography must contain at least fifteen sources.  You will critically evaluate the sources you find, which will help you select those that you find most valuable to include in your writing.

Rough Draft:  The initial draft of the paper should be a minimum of 7 pages with an additional works cited page.  You will also have a minimum of 5 sources cited within the body of the paper.  This paper will go through peer review, and I will read and contribute feedback on it as well.

Final Paper:  The final draft must be 10-12 pages with at least 10 sources cited within the text and a complete Works Cited Page.

 



Minimum Requirements:1-2 pages, double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 10-12 point font.

I just want a proposal for your topic, what you want to research. Remember, you are creating your own curriculum, your own course of study this quarter. By choosing a topic you are passionate about, you will remain engaged and, hopefully, have fun! Below are links to some sample proposals. I am not particular about the format, but I want to get a sense of what it is you want to research and write about. Provide a short list of five potential sources, listed in MLA style, at this point. Your style of choice may change once you start your research, depending on your topic, but at this point just use MLA (guidelines below). The guidelines will probably be useful for later assignments, so I recommend creating a bookmark for them. Exchange rough drafts with your peer group members, give feedback and then submit a revised copy to me.

 

Guide: Sample Research Paper Proposal (ANNOTATED)

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Notes:

A standard research paper proposal should not in general be longer than ten per cent of the total length of your planned paper. For example, if the required word limit for your research paper cannot exceed ten thousand words, the proposal should be approximately one thousand words in total.

A standard research paper proposal contains:

· the topic,

· the thesis,

· the outline of planned research written in proper academic style,

· the outline must demonstrate that you have researched preliminary sources in your topic and have analysed your paper

Additionally, a research proposal has to present a list of annotated bibliography describing the main significance of each source for the paper and advisably a list of further sources which you intend to use in addition to the main literature.

RESEARCH PROPOSAL

Topic of the research paper: ‘Human Rights Protection in the Post-Communist Countries: the Disquieting Case of the Baltic States’

Why this topic?

1. The Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are ex-communistic countries that were reborn as self-determined nation-states 16 years ago, in 1991. Major economical, political and social changes that were caused by the ’Big Bang’, i.e. the collapse of USSR, have resulted in several legal and social issues in the societies that need to be researched and analysed.

2. The Baltic States are the member states of the United Nations and European Union and thus face serious obligations concerning human rights protection arising from several ratified international treaties. So far the feedback from the UN has pointed out various important shortcomings in the population policies and legislation, particularly concerning minorities’ issues.

3. Russia, as the official succession state of the former USSR is interested in keeping the constant pressure on the Baltic States by sending out signals to the international community about alleged on-going discrimination of Russian minority groups.

4. The topic has become the target of both, international and national interest, due to the recent events (e.g. April riots in Estonia) which requires Estonia, but also other Baltic States, to reconsider and revise the whole population policy and human rights legislation.

These aforementioned reasons and the overall need to develop human rights protection, to update current legislation and to revise national population policies have given me incentives to discuss the human rights issues in my research paper.

Notes:

In this section I presented the topic and the main reasons for choosing this topic. Sometimes it might not be required by the university or college or a professor of the subject matter to reason your choice of topic to such extent but simply state it in one sentence. However, it is always advisable to state the rationale of the topic and explain why it is necessary to examine the chosen issues. It demonstrates your capacity for critical analysis and your ability of independent academic research. Even more, it provides the evidence that you have not made your choice of topic randomly but you are genuinely interested in the subject and consulted various different sources and studied about the main problems or questions in the field of research. For the overall writing process you might find it extremely useful to formulate the reasons of your topic choice for yourself as it helps you to clarify the focus of your research, define your thesis and makes the writing much easier.

Outline of the research paper

My thesis: human rights protection is the national and international responsibility and obligation of a democratic state.

I seek to answer the question whether current population policies and legislation are effective, adequate and sufficient towards promotion and protection of human rights.

In the first part of the paper I give an overview of historical background from socialist to post-independence multi-ethnic societies by analysing the impact of the collapse of the USSR. Further I discuss the establishment of human rights legislation and the reasons behind the performed political choices. The explanation for the current human rights situation has its roots obviously in the history and in Soviet era.

In the second part of the research paper I analyse the main issues and difficulties with the situation of national minorities in the Baltic States and respective legal frameworks. One of the main difficulties with the situation of minorities seems to be the insufficient integration. Internal and international security issues in relation to the protection of minority rights are being discussed as well.

In the third part I seek to find solutions for improving the protection of human rights in the Baltic States and particularly the update of legislation concerning ethnic minorities.

There is a need to develop and implement legal framework to stimulate the protection of human rights. The stipulation of human rights needs to be applied in practice guaranteeing equality in law on paper and in reality. The Baltic States as post-modern democratic states are obliged under international treaties to guarantee human rights protection in their societies for the sake of international peace and security.

Notes:

In this section I presented the thesis of my research paper. In this case the thesis is formulated as a statement which I need to defend in my paper by providing compelling arguments supported by the information in various sources. Sometimes a thesis can be formulated as a question that needs to be answered or a problem that needs to be resolved. However, you should make sure whether there are any specific requirements or limitations set by your university, college or professor in the subject matter.

In the outline of my research paper I have provided an overview of the issues to be discussed in the paper. I have presented the discussion points in a linear order and divided them into three parts demonstrating the planned course of the paper. The outline of your paper has to be envisioned in a logical manner considering also the audience of your research. Be clear and concise and explain the concepts or terms you intend to use in a simple language. It is an added bonus if people can benefit any new ideas or information from your work.

Annotated Bibliography

Gerner, Kristian and Hedlund, Stefan (1993), The Baltic States and the End of the Soviet Empire, (London, Routledge). This book provides information and analysis of the Soviet empire fall and re-independence of the Baltic States. It is a valuable source to give the necessary overview of historical background from socialist to post-independence multi-ethnic societies, the collapse of the USSR and its impact on the societies.

Smith, Graham (1994), The Baltic States (London, The McMillan Press Ltd). It is a comparative overview and information about self-determination and population policies in three Baltic States. The book examines how the struggle for national self-determination and the re-establishment of state sovereignty has reconstituted ethnic relations by focusing on what has emerged the most burning political issue, that of the ethnic minorities question.

Müllerson, Rein (1994), International Law, Rights and Politics (London, Routledge). This book discusses human rights issues in the former soviet republics, concentrating on the ethnic diversities situation, nationalism and envisages also international law requirements on human rights issues and their implementation in the Baltic States. Thus it provides information about the connection between human rights protection and international peace and security.

Further Sources

Müllerson, Rein (1993), ‘Minorities in Eastern Europe and the Former USSR Problems, Tendencies and Protection’ The Modern Law Review, Vol. 56, No. 6 (November 1993), pp 793 – 811

Periodic briefing Understanding Global Issues ‘Russia and Its Neighbours. Uneasy Relationships’, 1996 Vol. 5

Notes:

The annotated bibliography is to provide evidence that you have performed academic research in the chosen topic and assessed the value of the sources to the paper.

Make sure you use a combination of literature and not only internet sources. I have presented also few further sources that are professional journal articles in the chosen topic. Although I have given only five sources in my sample research proposal the usual requirements are much higher. Depending on the university, college or the subject the minimum number of sources to be used is usually seven to ten sources. A good balance of sources supports your thesis and contributes towards writing the whole paper. Make sure you do your research before writing the outline of your paper and stating your thesis.


…(download the rest of the guide above)



Sample Proposals for the Undergraduate Engineering Review

Contents:


Proposal #1


Proposal #2

Proposal Links:



Proposals






Proposal Request






Proposal Checklist







UER


Before an article, report, or brief is accepted into the Undergraduate Engineering Review, the author must first submit a proposal that specifies the importance of the research, the scope and limitations of the research, and the methods for the research. Submitters should read the journal’s 
Request for Proposals
 before submitting.




A Proposal to Research the Storage Facility
for Spent Nuclear Fuel at Yucca Mountain

Roger Bloom
October 1997

Introduction

Nuclear power plants produce more than 20 percent of the electricity used in the United States [Murray, 1989]. Unfortunately, nuclear fission, the process used to create this large amount energy, creates significant amounts of high level radioactive waste. More than 30,000 metric tons of nuclear waste have arisen from U.S. commercial reactors as well as high level nuclear weapons waste, such as uranium and plutonium [Roush, 1995]. Because of the build-up of this waste, some power plants will be forced to shut down. To avoid losing an important source of energy, a safe and economical place to keep this waste is necessary. This document proposes a literature review of whether Yucca Mountain is a suitable site for a nuclear waste repository. The proposed review will discuss the economical and environmental aspects of a national storage facility. This proposal includes my methods for gathering information, a schedule for completing the review, and my qualifications.

Statement of Problem

On January 1, 1998, the Department of Energy (DOE) must accept spent nuclear fuel from commercial plants for permanent storage [Clark, 1997]. However, the DOE is undecided on where to put this high level radioactive waste. Yucca Mountain, located in Nevada, is a proposed site.

There are many questions regarding the safety of the Yucca Mountain waste repository. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory disagree over the long-term safety of the proposed high level nuclear waste site located in Nevada. In 1994, Charles Bowman, a researcher at Los Alamos, developed a theory claiming that years of storing waste in the mountain may actually start a nuclear chain reaction and explode, similar to an atomic bomb [Taubes, 1995]. The stir caused by theory suggests that researchers have not explored all sides of the safety issue concerning potentially hazardous situations at Yucca Mountain.

Bowman’s theory that Yucca Mountain could explode is based upon the idea that enough waste will eventually disperse through the rock to create a critical mass. A critical mass is an amount of fissile material, such as plutonium, containing enough mass to start a neutron chain reaction [Murray, 1989]. Bowman argues that if this chain reaction were started underground, the rocks in the ground would help keep the system compressed and speed up the chain reaction [Taubes, 1995]. A chain reaction formed underground could then generate huge amounts of energy in a fraction of a second, resulting in a nuclear blast. A nuclear explosion of this magnitude would emit large amounts of radioactivity into the air and ground water.

Another safety concern is the possibility of a volcanic eruption in Yucca Mountain. The long-term nuclear waste storage facility needs to remain stable for at least 10,000 years to allow the radioactive isotopes to decay to natural levels [Clark, 1997]. There are at least a dozen young volcanoes within 40 kilometers of the proposed Yucca Mountain waste site [Weiss, 1996]. The proximity of Yucca Mountain to these volcanoes makes it possible to have a volcanic eruption pass through the spent fuel waste repository. Such a volcanic eruption could release damaging amounts of radioactivity to the environment.

Objectives

I propose to review the available literature about using Yucca Mountain as a possible repository for spent nuclear fuel. In this review I will achieve the following two goals:

(1) explain the criteria for a suitable repository of high-level radioactive waste; and

(2) determine whether Yucca Mountain meets these criteria.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), a repository for high-level radioactive waste must meet several criteria including safety, location, and economics [Roush, 1995]. Safety includes not only the effect of the repository on people near the site, but also people along the transportation routes to the site. In my research I will consider both groups of people. As far as location, a waste site cannot be in an area with a large population or near a ground water supply. Also, because one of the most significant factors in determining the life span of a possible repository is how long the waste storage canisters will remain in tact, the waste site must be located in a dry climate to eliminate the moisture that can cause the waste canisters to corrode. The economics involved in selecting a site is another criterion. At present, the Department of Energy (DOE) has spent more than 1.7 billion dollars on the Yucca Mountain project [Taubes, 1995]. For that reason, much pressure exists to select Yucca Mountain as a repository site; otherwise, this money would have been wasted. Other costs, though, have to be considered. For instance, how economical is it to transport radioactive waste across several states to a single national site? I will try to account for as many of these other costs as possible.

After explaining the criteria, I will assess how well Yucca Mountain meets those criteria. In this assessment, I will not assign a numerical score for each criterion. Rather, I will discuss qualitatively how well Yucca Mountain meets each criterion. In some situations, disagreement exists among experts as to how well Yucca Mountain meets a criterion. In such cases, I will present both sides. In this assessment, only Yucca Mountain will be considered as a possible site. Although many sites in the United States could meet the DOE’s established criteria, I will consider only Yucca Mountain because the DOE is considering only Yucca Mountain [Taube, 1995].

Plan of Action

This section presents my plan for obtaining the objectives discussed in the previous section. There has been an increase of interest in the nuclear industry concerning the Yucca Mountain site because of the January 1,1998, deadline for the DOE. Several journal articles and papers discussing the possibility of Yucca Mountain as a spent fuel repository in our near future have surfaced as a consequence of that interest. These articles and books about the dangers of nuclear waste should provide sufficient information for me to complete my review. The following two paragraphs will discuss how I will use these sources in my research.

The first goal of my research is to explain the criteria for determining whether a nuclear waste repository is suitable. For example, will the rock structure be able to withstand human invasion in the future [Clark, 1997]? What will happen if the waste containers corrode and do not last as long as predicted? Will the natural setting contain the waste? To achieve this goal, I will rely on “Background on 40 CFR Part 197 Environmental Standards for Yucca Mountain” [Clark, 1997], the DOE Yucca Mountain home page [1997], and the book Understanding Radioactive Waste [Murray, 1989].

A second goal of my literature review is to evaluate Yucca Mountain meets those criteria. I will base my evaluation on the sources mentioned above as well as specific Environmental Protection Agency standards. I also intend to research the validity of possible environmental disasters, such as the explosion theory. To accomplish this goal, I will rely on the paper presented by Clark [1997], and on the book Blowup at Yucca Mountain [Taubes, 1995].

Because engineering students are the primary audience for my proposed research topic and may not be familiar with the history of nuclear waste, I will provide a background on past methods used for waste storage. People in the nuclear field with some knowledge of the waste problem facing the industry may be a secondary audience.

Management Plan

This section presents my schedule, costs, and qualifications for completing the proposed research. This research culminates in a formal report, which will be completed by December 5, 1997. To reach this goal, I will follow the schedule presented in Figure 1. Since I already possess literature on the subject of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste site, most of my time will be spent sorting through the literature to find key results, and presenting those results to the audience.

Figure 1. Schedule for completion of the literature review. The formal presentation will be on October 27, and the formal report will be completed by December 5.

Given that all my sources are available through the University of Wisconsin library system, there is no appreciable cost associated with performing this review, unless one takes into consideration the amount of tuition spent on maintaining the university libraries. The only other minor costs are photocopying articles, creating transparencies for my presentation, printing my report, and binding my report. I estimate these expenses will not exceed $20.

I am a senior in the Engineering Physics Department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, majoring in nuclear engineering and physics. I have taken several classes related to nuclear waste, economics, and environmental studies. I believe that these courses will aid me in preparing the proposed review. For further information about my qualifications, see the attached resume.

Conclusion

More than 30,000 metric tons of nuclear waste have arisen from U.S. commercial reactors as well as high level nuclear weapons waste, such as uranium and plutonium [Roush, 1995]. This document has proposed research to evaluate the possibility of using Yucca Mountain as a possible repository for this spent nuclear fuel. The proposed research will achieve the following goals: (1) explain the criteria necessary to make a suitable high level radioactive waste repository, and (2) determine if Yucca Mountain meets these criteria. The research will include a formal presentation on November 11 and a formal report on December 5.

References

Clark, Raymond L., “Background on 40 CFR Part 197 Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Yucca Mountain,” Proceedings of the 1997 Waste Management Conference (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997).

Kerr, R., “New Way to Ask the Experts: Rating Radioactive Waste Risks,” Science, vol.274, (November1996), pp. 913-914.

Murray, Raymond L., Understanding Nuclear Waste (Battelle Press, 1989).

Roush, W., “Can Nuclear Waste Keep Yucca Mountain Dry-and Safe?” Science, vol. 270, (December 1995), pp. 1761-1762.

Taubes, G., “Blowup at Yucca Mountain,” Science, vol.268, (June 1995), pp. 1836-1839.


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A Proposal to Review How Geophysical Precursors
Can Help Predict Earthquakes

Christopher Gray
February 1995

Introduction

Throughout the world, devastating earthquakes occur with little or no advance warning. Some of these earthquakes kill hundreds of people. If the times, magnitudes, and locations of these earthquakes could be accurately predicted, many lives could be saved. This document proposes a review of how monitoring geophysical precursors can help in the short-term prediction of earthquakes. The proposed review will discuss the physical principles behind the monitoring of three common precursors and evaluate how accurate each monitoring is in predicting earthquakes. Included in this proposal are my methods for gathering information, a schedule for completing the review, and my qualifications.

Justification of Proposed Review

On the morning of April 18, 1906, the population of San Francisco was awakened by violent shaking and by the roar caused by the writhing and collapsing of buildings [Hodgson, 1964]. The ground appeared to be thrown into waves that twisted railways and broke the pavement into great cracks. Many buildings collapsed, while others were severely damaged. The earthquake caused fires in fifty or more points throughout the city. Fire stations were destroyed, alarms were put out of commission, and water mains were broken. As a result, the fires quickly spread throughout the city and continued for three days. The fires destroyed a 5 square-mile section at the heart of the city [Mileti and Fitzpatrick, 1993]. Even more disastrous was the Kwanto earthquake in Japan that devastated the cities of Yokohama and Tokyo on September 1, 1923 [Hodgson, 1993]. In Yokohama, over 50 percent of the buildings were destroyed [Bolt, 1993], and as many as 208 fires broke out and spread through the city [Hodgson, 1964]. When the disaster was over, 33,000 people were dead [Bolt, 1993]. In Tokyo, the damage from the earthquake was less, but the resulting fires were more devastating. The fires lasted three days and destroyed 40 percent of the city [Hodgson, 1964]. After the fire, 68,000 people were dead and 1 million people were homeless [Bolt, 1993].

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the Kwanto earthquake were two of the most famous and devastating earthquakes of this century. These earthquakes struck without warning and with disastrous results. If earthquakes could be predicted, people would be able to evacuate from buildings, bridges, and overpasses, where most deaths occur.

Some earthquakes have been successfully predicted. One of the most famous predictions was the Haicheng Prediction in China. In 1970, Chinese scientists targeted the Liaoning Province as a site with potential for a large earthquake. These scientists felt that an earthquake would occur there in 1974 or 1975. On December 20, 1974, an earthquake warning was issued. Two days later, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake struck the Liaoning Province; however, further monitoring suggested a larger earthquake was imminent [Mileti and others, 1981]. On February 4, 1975, the Chinese issued a warning that an earthquake would strike Haicheng within 24 hours [Bolt, 1993]. The people in Haicheng were evacuated, and about 5.5 hours later, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake shook the city of Haicheng. If the people hadn’t been evacuated, the death toll could have exceeded 100,000.

Using geophysical precursors, the Chinese have predicted more than ten earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 5.0 [Meyer, 1977]. For example, the Chinese predicted a pair of earthquakes of magnitude 6.9 that occurred 97 minutes apart in Yunnan on May 19, 1976 [Bolt, 1993]. Despite these successes, the Chinese failed to predict the earthquake that struck the city of Tangshan on July 27, 1976; this earthquake killed 250,000 people and injured 500,000 more [Bolt, 1988]. This earthquake wasn’t completely unexpected, but the Chinese believed it to be a few years away. Other earthquakes have been predicted, but the predictions didn’t have enough precision for warnings to be issued. For example, in 1983, a young geophysicist predicted that an earthquake of magnitude 8 would strike Mexico City within four years [Deshpande, 1987]. Two years later, an earthquake of magnitude 8 did strike Mexico City. Because the prediction was not more precise, no warning was issued and the earthquake took the population of Mexico City by surprise. Other predictions have turned out to be false warnings. For example, an earthquake warning was issued in August 1976 near Hong Kong [Bolt, 1988]. During the earthquake alert, people slept outdoors for two months. No earthquake occurred.

Objectives

I propose to review the available literature on how geophysical precursors can be used for short-term predictions of earthquakes. In this review, I will achieve the following three goals:

1. explain three commonly monitored geophysical precursors: ground uplift and tilt, increases in radon emissions, and changes in the electrical resistivity of rocks;

2. show what happens to each of these precursors during the five stages of an earthquake; and

3. discuss how each of these precursors is used for short-term earthquake predictions.

Geophysical precursors are changes in the physical state of the earth that are precursory to earthquakes. In addition to monitoring geophysical precursors, there are other strategies for predicting earthquakes-in particular, analyzing statistical data on prior earthquakes. Analyzing statistical data on prior earthquakes, however, is solely a long-term prediction technique [Bolt, 1993]. For that reason, I will not consider it.

In my review, I will discuss three common geophysical precursors: ground uplift and tilt, increases in radon emissions, and changes in the electrical resistivity of rocks. Earthquakes occur in five stages as there is a build up of elastic strain within faults in the earth, followed by the development of cracks in the rocks, then the influx of water into those cracks. The fourth stage is the actual rupture of the fault and the release of seismic waves. The fifth stage is the sudden drop in stress in the fault. In this stage, aftershocks occur.

During these five stages, the geophysical precursors follow distinct patterns. For instance, the ground uplift and tilt increases during the second stage as the volume of rock increases. In my review, I will relate how the three geophysical precursors relate to the five stages of an earthquake and how well this relation can be used to predict the oncoming fault rupture.

Plan of Action

This section presents my plan for obtaining the objectives discussed in the previous section. Because of the recent earthquakes in California and Japan, there has arisen a strong interest to predict earthquakes precisely. As a consequence of that strong interest, many books and journals have been written on earthquakes and earthquake prediction. I have gathered five books and several articles on the subject. In addition, there are dozens of books and articles available in the library. These books and articles should provide sufficient information for me to write my review. The following paragraphs discuss how I will use these sources in my research.

The first goal of my research is to explain the physical principles behind monitoring geophysical precursors. For example, why does the electrical resistivity of rocks decrease before an oncoming earthquake? Or, what does a sudden increase in radon emissions reveal about the future likelihood of a massive earthquake? The second goal of my research is to show what happens to each of these precursors during the five stages of an earthquake. To achieve these two goals, I will rely on three books that give an overview to earthquake prediction: Earthquakes [Bolt, 1988], Earthquakes and Geological Discovery [Bolt, 1993], and Earthquakes and Earth Structure [Hodgson, 1964].

A third primary goal of the literature review is to cover the accuracy of monitoring each precursor. By accuracy, I mean how well does the method work in predicting the time, place, and size of earthquakes. This discussion will not include many statistics on the predictions of earthquakes, because at present there just haven’t been enough successful predictions to validate these types of statistics. Instead, I intend to evaluate the potential accuracy of monitoring each precursor based on the opinions of experts and preliminary data. To achieve this goal, I will rely on two of my most recent sources: The Great Earthquake Experiment [Mileti and Fitzpatrick, 1993] and Earthquakes and Geological Discovery [Bolt, 1993].

Should I require additional sources other than the ones I have, I will search for them in the library system at the University of Wisconsin. Should I not be able to find that information, I will modify the scope of my research accordingly.

Because the primary readers for my proposed literature review are engineering students who are probably not familiar with the theories behind earthquakes, I will have to provide selected background information frommy sources. These engineering students already know that earthquakes are devastating. They also know that if earthquakes could be predicted, people would be able to prepare for them and lives would be saved. However, they may not know the different methods of predicting earthquakes. My intent is to inform these students of three methods of predicting earthquakes.

A secondary audience for the review would be non-technical readers who either live in earthquake-prone areas or are affected financially when earthquakes occur. My proposed literature review will provide this group with an unbiased discussion of three methods for earthquake prediction. This discussion, drawing much from overview chapters in Earthquakes, Animals and Man [Deshpande, 1987] and California Quake [Meyer, 1977], will put into perspective how accurate, or inaccurate, the named methods are and what hurdles face engineers who try to predict earthquakes.

Management Plan

This section presents my schedule, costs, and qualifications for performing the proposed research. The proposed research project culminates in a formal report that will be completed by December 6, 1995. To reach this goal, I will follow the schedule presented in Figure 1. Because I already possess several books and articles on earthquake prediction, most of my time will be spent sifting through the information, finding the key results, and presenting those results to the audience.

Figure 1. Schedule for completion of literature review. The two triangles represent milestones for the project, the first being the formal presentation on November 11, 1996, and the second being the formal report on December 6, 1996.

Given that I can obtain all my sources for the literature review from the library, there is no appreciable cost associated with performing this literature review. The only costs, which will be minor, are for copying articles, printing the review, and spiral binding the review. I estimate that I can do these tasks for under $10.

I am a senior in the Geological Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In my undergraduate courses I have taken rock mechanics, soil mechanics, geophysics, and stratigraphy, all of which have included the principles of seismology and stress-strain relationships. In addition, I have taken field courses on structural geology that have introduced me to subsurface behaviors. I believe that these courses and my hands-on experience will aid me in assimilating the proposed literature review. For further information about my qualifications, see the attached resume (not attached on this web site).

References

Bolt, Bruce A., Earthquakes (New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1988).

Bolt, Bruce A., Earthquakes and Geological Discovery (New York: Scientific American Library, 1993).

Deshpande, Prof. B. G., Earthquakes, Animals and Man (Pune, India: The Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science, 1987).

Hodgson, John H., Earthquakes and Earth Structure (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1964).

Meyer, Larry L., California Quake (Nashville: Sherbourne Press, 1977).

Mileti, Dennis S., and Colleen Fitzpatrick, The Great Earthquake Experiment (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1993).



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Political Science/LSJ/School of International Studies Writing Center
Gowen 111; Phone: 206-616-3354

Website: http://depts.washington.edu/pswrite/

Writing a Political Science, LSJ or Jackson School Paper Proposal

The purpose writing a paper proposal is to give your professor, TA, and/or peers an
opportunity to provide feedback on your topic, argument, and research goals. Perhaps
most importantly, a paper proposal requires you to narrow your topic and begin
formulating the argument you’ll make. Paper proposals help students by possibly
redirecting you away from a potentially unworkable topic and toward one that is
answerable in a quarter’s worth of research. The point is to avoid the problem of
finding out too late that your topic/research question isn’t going to work. However,
to make the exercise meaningful, you need to do at least some real research before
you write your proposal.

These are general guidelines; as always, you should follow any specific instructions
from your professor or TA.

1. Description/Justification for your topic

• Given the possible universe of things to research, why did you choose this
topic?

• How is your topic relevant to this course? That is, what themes or issues from
the course will be central to your research?

2. What is your Research Question?

• If the assignment gives you a research question, you should obviously use it.
But perhaps use a paragraph to consider the significance of the question; what
answering it might help make sense of or illustrate course themes; how your
response might gesture toward larger, more generalizable phenomenon; etc.

• Writing a strong research question that is neither too narrow or too broad is
actually quite challenging. It is essential to get feedback from your TA or
Professor to ensure that your question is in the right range.

• For more empirical investigations, “why” questions are often a good place to
start: for example, “Why did the UN support to creation of a Israeli state in
1948?” or “Why were Democrats able to pass healthcare reform in 2010?”

• For more theoretical investigations, questions might take a different form, such
as “Do Socrates and Aristotle agree on the definition and content of virtue?
What are the assumptions and implications of their definitions? Whose
definition is better, and why?”

Political Science/LSJ/School of International Studies Writing Center
Gowen 111; Phone: 206-616-3354

Website: http://depts.washington.edu/pswrite/

• Make sure that there are enough sources on your topic that you can actually do
research: if you are having difficulty locating sources, you may want to consider
changing your question.

3. Thesis Statement: Your Answer to the Research Question

• You will need to do some research before you can even begin to offer an
answer here. For your paper proposal, you just have to do enough research to
figure out the puzzle that remains unanswered: that will be your research
question, and given what you already know, you can formulate possible
answers.

• How do you explain the outcome that you are considering? (This is the
Dependent Variable. The DV is the thing that your IV is trying to explain.)

• How did the event/movement/legislation you’ve chosen effect future events?
(This is the Independent Variable (IV), which is one of many potential causes.
In the hard sciences, the IV is the thing that YOU have control over.)

• Should be brief – Make sure your thesis statement addresses your primary
research (“why”) question.

• Explain what you think happened and make sure to point toward causal
mechanisms.

4. Preview your argument
• Clarify what steps you will take to address your topic: identify sub-arguments

you need to prove your larger argument true.
• Connect your theory to your examples – how will you measure things like

corporate power or worker cooperation?
• Make sure that these steps will logically support the claim you make in your

thesis statement.
• This should look like your outline in one paragraph – you are letting the reader

in on how you’ve structured your argument.

5. Provide a preliminary list of sources
• Focus on scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources: instructors will usually specify how

many and what kinds of sources are required at this stage.
• For each source, explain how it contributes to your paper.
• List any interviews you’ve done/plan to do.

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