Inventory, Controlling Idea Statement, and Short Proposal
Part I: Topics Inventory
For the Topics Inventory, you will construct a list of topics from which you may choose one to develop into a Research
Paper for this course. This exercise is based on the models on p. 318 of Strategies for Writing Successful Research
Papers, so you will want to refer back to this page for examples. (NOTE: The book does not always provide three possible
topics per category, but you will be required to do so. Please see the Unit I Example.
The purpose of this assignment is to help you formulate an inventory of topics that you are interested in so that you may
choose one to research in Unit II and develop into a Research Proposal. Be sure to choose a topic that you are invested in,
as you are more likely to be motivated and excited about a subject that interests you. You will want to choose a topic that is
academically viable, for as Lester et al (2011) state, “You can’t write a personal essay and call it a research paper, yet you
can choose topics close to your life” (p. 318).
You will supply three (3) possible topics in each of the following four (4) categories:
1. Academic subject
2. Social issue
3. Scientific subject
4. Cultural background
Within each of these four (4) categories, you will supply three (3) possible academic topics. Use the following format to
organize your topics inventory:
1. Personal interest
2. The category (repeated from above: academic study, social issue, scientific subject, and cultural background)
3. Three possible academic topics (each should be distinctive, developed, and as specific as possible)
After you complete Part I, you will have twelve (12) possible topics that you could choose from and develop into a research
project. You will choose one of these and work with the same one for Part II and Part III.
Example: Academic study
1. Personal interest: Cars
2. Academic subject: Eco-engineering
3. Possible academic topic:
• “The Fate of Hybrid Vehicles: The Cost Is Not Worth the Environmental Toll”
• “Hydrogen Cars: Are They a Safe Alternative?”
• “Electric Cars Are Not ‘Saving’ Environmental Resources, Only Saving Money at the Gas Pump” The Topics Inventory is worth 40 points of this assignment.
Part II: Controlling Idea Statement
Understanding your controlling idea will aid you in your research endeavor in Unit II as you launch into researching
materials to help you better develop your research paper.
The purpose of this exercise is to help you bridge between your Topics Inventory and your Short Proposal by helping you
to formulate a controlling idea statement.
You will formulate a controlling idea statement through one of the following: a thesis, an enthymeme, or a hypothesis. For
this assignment, you are required to only produce one Controlling Idea Statement. It should be a statement, not a question.
Further, your final Research Paper will be an argumentative, research-based, academic-style Research Paper; therefore,
your Controlling Idea Statement must propose an argument. In other words, your Controlling Idea Statement must be a
contestable statement that invites argumentation—something that you must prove or support with research.
Refer back to your Topics Inventory and Chapter 14, Section 14f, of Strategies for Writing Successful Research Papers,
“Developing a Thesis Statement, Enthymeme, or Hypothesis” (pp. 328-331).
Follow these steps, and draft a Controlling Idea Statement:
1. Choose one topic from the list of twelve possible topics that you created when you wrote your Topics Inventory.
Consider these questions when choosing your topic: Which of these topics is most appealing to you? Which one
seems as though it has the most possibility for ease of researching and for developing a research paper?
2. Choose one type of Controlling Idea Statement you would like to write:
• a thesis statement “advances a conclusion the writer will defend”;
• an enthymeme “uses a because clause to make a claim the writer will defend”;
• a hypothesis “is a theory that must be tested…to prove its validity” (Lester & Lester, 2010, p. 328).
3. Draft your statement; use the examples in Section 14f as examples to assist you.
4. Save a copy of this statement for yourself, and submit your Controlling Idea Statement with the Unit I Assignment.
The Controlling Idea Statement is worth 10 points of this assignment.
Part III: Short Proposal
For the Short Proposal, you will write a research proposal developed from the Topic Inventory you constructed and the
Controlling Idea Assignment (a thesis, an enthymeme, or hypothesis).
Your Short Proposal must be between 150-200 words and written in one cohesive paragraph. All source material used in
the Short Proposal must be cited correctly according to APA convention and style. If material is quoted, then quotation
marks must be used, along with a parenthetical citation. If material is paraphrased, then a parenthetical citation giving
attribution to the author must be used. A list of references must be included as well. Textbooks should not be included on a
The purpose of this assignment is to help you prepare for the next stages of the Research Paper writing process that you
will participate in for Unit II, which will give you the foundations of research methods. In Unit II, you will be writing a full fledged Research Proposal as well, so you will want to seriously consider what you write for this Short Proposal as a
precursor to that assignment.
This assignment is based on the models in Chapter 14, Section 14f, of Strategies for Writing Successful Research Papers
(p. 331), so you will want to refer back to this page for an example. Your Short Proposal should include the following five
1. The specific topic.
2. The purpose of the paper: Your paper must be an argumentative paper, so you will want to cast your purpose
statement towards this argumentative end.
3. The intended audience: If you are unsure about whom your audience might be, consult Chapter 1, Section 1d, of
The Little, Brown Compact Handbook with Exercises (p. 7-8).
4. Your voice as a writer (informer, advocate, concerned citizen, etc.).
5. The preliminary thesis statement or opening hypothesis.
The Short Proposal is worth 50 points of this assignment.
Unit II Research Proposal
Follow the directions below for the completion of the Research Proposal assignment for Unit II.
The purpose of the Research Proposal is to mold the preliminary ideas you have about your topic and to develop them in
an academic manner. This development occurs as a direct result of your research on the subject. Therefore, this is your
first formal articulation of your project. The Research Proposal is the next step towards writing assignments that will help
you construct your Research Paper.
In this 500-600-word, essay-style Research Proposal, you will develop the project that you intend to write about for your
final Research Paper for this course. If your Research Proposal is less than this word count, then it is likely you have not
fully developed your proposal or adhered to the assignment appropriately, which can severely impact your grade for this
assignment. Your Research Proposal will include the elements listed below.
Your Research Proposal should also include a list of references in APA style and should adhere to APA convention
throughout for in-text citation and style. When you write for academic or public audiences, it is imperative that you are
supported by voices other than your own. In other words, even if you are an expert, you still must support your assertions.
In a Research Proposal, the same is true. For this assignment, you will include at least one source in your description of
your tentative argument. The source cannot be yourself, an interview, or your text book. You must research your topic in
order to gain a valid academic source that speaks to your topic in some way.
Your Research Proposal grade will be largely based on your inclusion of the elements listed below, as well as your
development of the project. For assistance, you might want to refer to Chapter 1, Section 1a, of The Little, Brown Compact
Handbook with Exercises (pp. 3-4). Your Research Proposal must contain the following elements:
1. Cover page and APA formatting:
You will include an APA-style cover page for your Research Proposal.
EH 1020, English Composition II 6
Review the purpose statement on p. 333 of Strategies for Writing Successful Research Papers. You may also want
to refer to Chapter 1, Section 1c of The Little, Brown Compact Handbook with Exercises (pp. 6-7). The following
questions should be addressed in the first paragraph of your Research Proposal, which should be dedicated to
establishing your purpose for doing this particular project.
• What is your rationale for this project?
• What do you hope to learn from the project, or what to do you want to see happen as a result of it?
• Who is your audience for this project? Chapter 1, Section 1d, of The Little, Brown Compact
Handbook with Exercises (pp. 7-8)
• What role will you play in this project: investigator or advocate?
3. Statement of qualification:
Address the following questions as they are applicable to your project.
• What is your investment in the topic?
• What personal experience do you bring to the topic?
• What special qualities do you bring to the project?
• How might your investment, experience, and special qualities make you particularly apt at developing this
4. Tentative argument:
Your final Research Paper for this course will be an argumentative, research-based, academic paper. While it is
unlikely that you will have a concrete idea of what your entire argument will be at this point in the writing process, it
is necessary for you to articulate your argument as you understand it to be right now. Address the following
• What is the context surrounding your topic? In other words, is there some event that was a catalyst
for bringing your topic into the public eye? (Optional)
• What is your explanation or definition of the topic?
• What is your analysis of the specific issue surrounding your topic?
• What is your tentative thesis statement or hypothesis?
Include a references list as the last page of your Research Proposal.
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