Each student is required to prepare, and have approved by their unit, a proposal outlining the research project being conducted for their research thesis. The proposal will be the final product of the LMC 4701 (Undergraduate Research Proposal Writing). While a specific format and length is not required, the proposal, at a minimum, should contain the information below.
- LITERATURE REVIEW – The literature review should show that the student understands the research area and has situated the research to be conducted within that area. It should be written in narrative form, providing linkages between the information and decisions made in the current research. It should not be simply a listing of references. While a minimum amount of references is not required, students should place the research within a historical context in the discipline and compare and contrast other methods and approaches, providing references for each. Most proposals of good quality contain at least ten references, while many contain twenty or more for comprehensive coverage of the topic.
- DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH PROBLEM / IMPORTANCE – The student should concisely describe the work to be performed. The student should discuss its importance to the field and expected outcomes.
- WORK PLAN AND SCHEDULE – The research project should cover at least two semesters worth of work (six hours). The work plan and schedule should outline the goals and objectives of the research in a fairly detailed manner, presented with proposed deadlines and targets. Students should note, in preparation of their schedule, that a first draft of the thesis will be due during midterm of the final LMC 4702 (Undergraduate Research Thesis Writing) course. A majority of the data and analysis should be completed at that point. A suggested format to the work plan is as follows:
→ Low Target: At least this much must be completed, or the project will be deemed incomplete, and the Research Option designation not granted.
→ Ideal Target: This is the amount of work that the student and advisor believe is feasible in the time available.
→ High Target: These are more ambitious goals.
Additional sections and information over and above the three items mentioned above will be accepted (and are welcomed). Proposals that do not contain the above three sections will not be approved. Proposals will normally be completed at the end of the first term of research. They must be completed before the start of the final term of research and should reflect the entire research project’s contents and goals. An approved proposal and completion of LMC 4701 is required for admission to LMC 4702.
Research proposals must be approved by the student's faculty mentor and one other faculty member ("second reader"). Information on any co-mentors (i.e., graduate students, post-docs, research scientists, additional faculty) should be mentioned somewhere in the proposal. The proposal should also mention the location of the work, particularly if it is to be completed away from campus.
We also strongly suggest that students include in their plans opportunities to present their work in either poster presentation or oral presentation format. This can occur either in the unit, at UROP's Annual Spring Symposium, or at a professional conference.