The Research Proposal Assessment

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The Research Proposal Assessment

The Research Proposal:

  • Your Proposal should be speculative in nature. (You want to find out about the topic you have chosen).
  • It should be approximately two pages in length (double-spaced) with 1” margins and 12 point Times New Roman font
  • It should use two articles that we read and discussed in class, and relate them to 4 sources of your own finding.
  • The Proposal should include the following information in paragraph form:


– General overview of the topic, problem, theme, or issue addressed.

What conversation, debate, discussion, or controversy will you enter?

How will you focus this topic in terms of a defined location and time period? (What are the parameters of your research?)



-In what ways will those theories be applicable?  (In other words—HOW will you use the theoretical frame(s)?  For example, it is not enough to say: I’d like to use Murray and Rostis’s idea about “technologically tethered workers.”  You would need to show HOW you would use their idea. The Research Proposal Assessment


– Being able to clearly articulate the main research question is key to successful research, as then you will know precisely what you are looking for. So what, in is your main research question at this point?  This may change during the research process.

– Does the research question contain sufficient challenge and controversy, so that it has the potential to be seen from many angles?

– Does the research question seem manageable in scope?  (Some questions are too broad and would be more suitable for a book than for a research paper.)


– The Tentative Hypothesis is the expected answer to the Research Question you asked above. Is this clearly articulated? This is important because, as the paper develops from draft to draft, your Hypothesis will gradually evolve into your Thesis.  Tentative means just that.  After doing research your mind may change.


Sample Research Proposal-

  • My topic is on the ethics behind executive compensation on Wall Street. In the aftermath of one of the worst economic downturns, many critics have directed their blames to the practice of Wall Street. Many of them believe that the overly profit-driven banking industry is the cause for the loss in economic output. Even though the excessive greed of these banks caused great suffering to ordinary middle class Americans, the banks’ executives received record-breaking bonuses. My paper will explore whether or not it is ethical for these CEOs to receive the bonuses while knowing that they have caused American citizens a great amount of distress and agony.
  • The controversy that I am going to debate is that, under a completely capitalistic society, everyone should be free to act based on self-interest. However, is it acceptable from an ethical standpoint for individuals to collect a large sum of money even though their actions indirectly or unintentionally caused damage to others? As many economists have argued, a free economy will automatically achieve efficiency if everyone only worries his or her costs and benefits. So for those who lost money in the recession, many economists would argue that they “deserved” it because they miscalculated the risk in some of their investments. On the other hand, other people might argue that these executives who are receiving a large sum of money have made mistakes that triggered a financial crisis, which eventually negatively impacted a majority of the assets in the economy. In addition, some would argue that it is just simply unfair for Wall Street executives to be paid so much when more than ten percent of the Americans are struggling to find the means to live.
  • My defined location will be the Wall Street companies, and my defined time will be the year of the practice between 2006 and 2009, a time period that marks the beginning and end of one of the worst recessions to date.  (I might research on my topic of prior time period to find similar trends to help me analyze some of the causes.) The Research Proposal Assessment

The Theoretical Framework 

  • Utilitarianism – I will be examining whether or not it is ethical to give one person a salary that is equivalent to that of a thousand people based on the theory of Utilitarianism.
  • Veil of Ignorance – I will be examining whether or not it is ethical to pay one person a large sum of money while millions of Americans cannot find employment based on the theory of Minimaxing.


 Main Research Question:

  • Should Wall Street executives have taken well-over a hundred billion dollars in bonuses from an ethical standpoint while knowing that their actions have indirectly or unintentionally caused a tremendous amount of distress to the overall economy?
    • This question is controversial because a completely free-market thinker will argue that the bankers are entitled for what they have earned while those who are self-righteous or morally conscious will argue that the bankers are being too greedy and selfish.

Related Research Questions:

  • Who should be the one to take the blame for the economic crisis? Is it because of the banks that made risky bets? The conclusion is hard to say because it always takes two to make a bet. Shouldn’t those who have bet against the banks thought about their potential risks before making the bet?
  • Should the government have had better over-sight on the enforcement of the laws and regulations to prevent such crisis?

A Tentative Hypothesis

  • If I had to guess, I would say: I will go along with the majority of the public to make a hypothesis that the executives from major wall-street companies should forgo their bonuses just because my instinctive feeling tells me that that’s the fair thing to do. I think regardless if they have acted intentionally or not, their actions have caused others great suffering. Despite what an economic theory claims that individuals’ selfish actions will lead to economic efficiency, in a society where the participants have to share a limited amount of resources, I believe it is not ethical for bank executives to be rewarded so handsomely for the harm they have caused on others’ well being. The Research Proposal Assessment

Four sources that I plan to use in the paper: 

I plan to use the scholarly journal article “Ethics From Main Street to Wall Street” by Susan Jones and Alexander Smith.  This article, published in Economics Quarterly provides real life cases about the 2008 economic crisis.  I also plan to use another scholarly journal article entitled “The Need for Economic Responsibility.”  This is by Leonard Shulman and Stephen De Paul and is published by the Harvard Business Review.  The authors believe that companies should be less risk averse.


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