Present Essay Literature Review & Proposal

For your History of the Present essay, you are to research a pressing issue germane to the field of education studies / foundations of education. A history of the present is less concerned with understanding the past than with developing a critical understanding of the present. A history of the present endeavors to achieve this understanding by disclosing the historical, economic, political and/or cultural circumstances through which a current issue has emerged and by identifying those circumstances upon which that issue still depends.

Part 1:  History of the Present Essay Literature Review*

Assessment weight = 2 grade points

Based on your literature review, write a few sentences to characterize what you intend to research. Integrate this statement into the lead paragraph introducing your literature review.

This review includes a brief survey of significant literature addressing your topic or problem. Use the review to define and limit your area of interest along with the parameters of your research. Compare and contrast how it is variously defined across the literature surveyed. Further, discuss how the topic is treated in the literature, i.e. what are the articles about, what are the educational and/or political perspectives of the articles, and so forth. In your literature review, include at least five (5) peer reviewed sources** (~1250 words).

*Please note: Course readings cannot be used for this assignment but they can be used in your final essay.

**Peer review is an academic term for quality control. Published articles, chapters, books, government documents that have been peer reviewed have been closely assessed by experts on the topic. Most websites have NOT undergone a peer review. If you are unsure if a source has been peer reviewed, please consult Dr. Shutkin.

Writing the Literature Review | From Boston College Library Guides to Effective Research

HOP Lit Review Assessment Rubric

Path to the JCU library digital card catalogue: Consider Finding books on your topic either available at the Grasselli Library or through OhioLink.

Path to the JCU library research databasesLibrary main page –> Library research page –> Articles, Data and Databases –> Research databases

Part 2:  Present Essay Proposal 

Assessment weight = 2 grade point

Assignment Due 11 April: Present Proposal

HOP visualized

HOP Proposal Assessment Rubric

A proposal is a thoughtful, detailed plan of your research paper. Of course, you can not know exactly where the process of your research will take you and the proposal does not bind you to avenues of inquiry that you discover to be fruitless. However, a successful proposal does convey to your readers that you have attempted to anticipate problems and have already figured out how to avoid them. For instance, if your paper is to focus on school desegregation in Cuyahoga County, you don’t want to write that you hope to find data by race of pupil. Instead, in a successful proposal, you will be able to inform your readers that you have a source for the data on desegregation by race.

Your goal: to convince your readers (Dr. Shutkin and fellow classmates) that your research topic has value and that you can complete it successfully and on time. Please include the following sections to guide and organize your proposal.  (~1500 words)


Introduce your subject in an interesting way. Do not assume that your audience has the same level of specific knowledge that you have. Guide your audience carefully and respectfully into the subject.  (~250 words).

Research Questions 

Formulate the questions your research will investigate. Questions should not be too broad or too specific. Research questions should derive from your introduction, problem statement and background/literature review. Research questions should be connected to each other (as opposed to being a disparate set) and be organized in a logical manner.  (~150 words).

Problem Statement

To demonstrate that your research is important, show how it address a particular problem in the field of educational studies. You might explain how it addresses a persistent historical topic while emphasizing a contemporary political, economic or cultural issue.  (~250 words).

Background | Literature Review

This review is an updated and expanded version of your initial literature review to include with more certainty those peer reviewed** sources that you intend to integrate into your final essay. (~1250 words).

**Peer review is an academic term for quality control. Articles, chapters, books that have been peer reviewed have been closely examined by experts on the topic. If you are unsure if a source has been peer reviewed, please consult Dr. Shutkin.

Expected Outcomes

Please explain what you hope to accomplish with your paper. Goals or outcomes will include reiterating the problem and explaining how your research and study will  advance your understanding of the problem.  (~150 words).


  • Provide a list of all references that you have cited in the proposal.
  • Use standard citation guidelines (e.g., MLA and APA) 
  • Check spelling, especially for proper names.