The scope of a proposal

While reading Chapter 15 of “Real World Research” by Colin Robson, I kept thinking about what type of proposal I’d want to read. What would I like to focus on for my research? I have a real interest in reluctant readers, especially males. I want to investigate what materials middle-grade boys seem to enjoy most, and to see if there’s any research available detailing whether access to these materials affects their reading fluency. I wonder how many readers wouldn’t be as “reluctant” if educators supported their interest in different genres and formats, including e-books, magazines, graphic novels and more.

On the flipside, I wonder how many English teachers encourage and support their students’ reading habits. How many are critical of “less than literary” works? Are age and education and number of years teaching factors in how much educators support or discourage alternative forms of reading?

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Robson suggest that the first two steps to beginning a real world research investigation are to choose a focus and then to create a working title. While I definitely agree with the first, I could not disagree more with the second. I believe having a title, even if it’s a “working” title subject to change, could limit investigation. Often, in my experience, investigation takes you to places you didn’t consider to begin with, and some people may feel trapped by their title, even if they know it can change. (I suppose I prefer the ‘flexible design’ more.)

When considering the considerations and things to avoid when choosing how to research and the focus, I’m wondering if one of my goals would fall under “too ambitious.” I would really like to speak to a school and see if they’ll allow me to survey students and teachers (I am aware that the survey would require parental consent).

A history of journaling

Before I begin this research journal, I’m going to give a brief history of my journaling career.

I’ve never been much of a journal writer, even though I love journals. I love the feel of a new journal, the open empty pages just waiting for my thoughts. But most of these books are left mostly unfilled – I have always had difficulty maintaining a journal once it’s begun.

During my undergraduate years, I had a journal writing project for creative writing. I was supposed to log in story ideas and whatnot, with at least two-three entries per week. Instead, I often sat and filled up the required number of pages the night before the professor was scheduled to look at them (he never graded us, just checked to ensure it was done).

 

That being said, I will make an effort to work diligently on this research blog, at least for the duration of this course.