Research Plan

Research Plan

Refer to the lecture notes to help you with completing this assignment.  Talk about each point in a paragraph that consists of 4 to 5 sentences.


  • Research Topic:


  • Research Question:



  • Purpose of your Research Report



  • Choose a strategy/context to narrow your topic and determine your angle:


  • Tentative Thesis Statement. Identify your argument (This is an important step to express your voice).



  • Provide a counterargument:




  • Identify your audience:


  • Relevance of the Research to you:




  • Types of research sources you will use in your Research Paper:


  • The documentation style that you will use: APA or MLA

This week, our focus is going to be on starting the first milestone, which is creating and developing your research plan.  To complete this milestone, which is going to lead you to more important steps forward, it is important to define and understand certain concepts that relate to the research process.


  1. Research Topic:  The first thing that I ask you to work on is topic selection. This is a very crucial step because it is a starting point. In this assignment, you have the liberty and flexibility of selecting your own topic. This means that your topic is going to be a subject of your own interest.  We can teach you where to look, but not what to see. We can only provide you with tips that would help you with the flexibility that you have been granted to select your own topic:

A- Choose a topic of your interest: When you select a topic of your interest, you feel more comfortable to talk about it because you can relate to it and it would help you to reflect your voice as a writer. For instance, you may want to write about a subject that relates to your major and career or professional life.
B- Cover a topic that has not already been widely covered, which will stimulate your critical thinking and would appeal to your audience.
C- Choose a topic that would fit with the requirements and the limited scope of your assignment.  If your topic is very broad, try to narrow it down. If your topic is very narro, on the other hand, you may need to also look at the big picture to engage your readers and better approach the unerlying causes of the problem.

  1. Research Question: It is very important to ask a research question because it will prompt you to generate a response that would help you to compose your thesis statement. Refer to the activity that you completed in week 1 to differentiate between a regular question and a research question. To remind you, a research question is a question that takes longer to answer because it involves the use of more critical thinking, it is debatable, and requires sources to find information. Check the section about Research Questions in the book Choosing & Using Sources (14-17). You were already assigned this reading in week 1.

    3. Purpose of your Research Report: Why are you doing your research about the topic that you have selected? What are you trying to communicate (your message) and who are you trying to reach and convince (your audience)? If your topic has already been covered before, what special purpose do you have in mind to make your paper stand out?

    4. Choose a strategy/context to narrow your topic and determine your angle: It is very important to provide context for your research topic. How much do you know about it and how much do you think your audience might know about it. What background information can you provide your audience to create interest and serve the purpose of your paper? Which research strategies do you plan to use to achieve your research goals and purpose? To help you with some research strategies, think of the most important keywords that you can think of in connection with your topic. You can also list all the important information that you already know about your topic. Furthermore, list significant aspects that you would like to research further to help you narrow down your topic and determine your angle.  Watch the research strategy video in the supplementary materials.

    5. Tentative Thesis Statement. Identify your argument (This is an important step to express your voice). Now that you know your topic and the context and purpose of your research topic after you have asked your research question, it is time to generate your tentative thesis statement. It is time to reflect your voice in your main statement about your topic. Do not be intimidated by terms such as thesis statement, claim, and argument. It is beneficial to define terms and concept to be able to understand them well. Your thesis statement is basically what you want to tell your audience about your topic. It is what your essay is going to be about. To make a good argument in your thesis, make sure that your statement is debatable, logical, and impersonal. It is debatable because someone can agree or disagree with it. It is logical because it needs evidence for support, and it is impersonal because it should not rely on personal references and should not use the first person ‘I’ or ‘we’. As stated in the chapter “Making Arguments” in Choosing & Using Sources, “the claim, or thesis, tells people what you consider a true way of describing a thing, situation, or a phenomenon or what action you think should be taken.” (130).Your thesis statement at this stage remains tentative because you can modify it as you proceed to milestone 2. At this stage, it is beneficial to think of the components of an argument since your paper is going to be analytically persuasive.  Before we proceed to the next point on the list, we would like to remind you of the components of an argument:

A- The research question,
B- The thesis or claim,
C- Your reasons to support your claim
D-  Evidence for support
E-  The opponents’ counterarguments
F-  Acknowledgement of the counterargument
G-  Providing a response to the opponents’ counterarguments: Refuting and providing alternative solutions. Refer to the “Components of  An Argument” in Choosing & Using Sources (130-135)

6.  Provide a counterargument: a counterargument is the objection or reservation that your opponents have about your thesis/claim or any of the reasons that you are using to support your claim.  A counterargument is a component of the argument that you are making. It would put your claim to the test and strengthen it.

7. Identify your audience: It would help you immensely to identify your audience as you are working on your research topic. You can think about who is going to read your paper, how much you know about them, and think about what is going to interest them about your writing.

8. Relevance of the Research to you. What would help you to make sense of your research is to talk about its relevance to you. In other words, how is your topic and research relevant to you as a writer? This aspect of relevance is related to the purpose of your paper. If you find your paper relevant to your research goals, it will be more meaningful to you.

9. Types of research sources you will use in your Research Report: When you start working on your research topic, so many ideas start floating in your head about the various sources that you can use. This is the age of information and distraction. Try to manage your time and energy as important resources by thinking about the types of sources that you will use. You have in-print and digital sources available to you. As a researcher, you have to think of scholarly sources where the author is easily identifiable and is also credible. This is an important step in your research and should prepare you for Milestone Two, which is going to be about the composition of an annotated bibliography.  At this stage, you are not required to list the sources that you will use; you are asked to identify the types of sources you are going to use: in-print, digital, websites, books, journals, database…

10. Finally, you will have the choice of using either the MLA or the APA style of documentation.The MLA style of documentation is used in the field of the humanities and APA in psychology, education and other social sciences and in business. (Here is a guide to citation styles: ) Explain your choice and which style you are familiar with. Once you make your choice, you have to stay with it in Milestone Two and Milestone Three.   Check the resources about the MLA and APA styles in the supplementary materials.

Last Updated on September 20, 2019

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