Present Essay Proposal SP20

A History of the Present — What’s going on in this present moment?

For your History of the Present essay, you are to research a pressing issue germane to the field of Educational Foundations that is of interest to you. A history of the present is less concerned with understanding the past than with developing a critical understanding of the present and its conditions of possibility. 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.

Assignment Due Friday 17 April at Midnight: Present Proposal

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 1:  Present Essay Proposal 

Assignment Due Friday 17 April at Midnight: Present Proposal

HOP visualized

HOP Proposal Assessment Rubric

A proposal is a thoughtful, detailed plan for your research paper. Of course, you cannot 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.  (~2000 words)


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

Problem Statement

To demonstrate that your research is important, show how it address a particular problem in the field of educational foundations. You might explain how it addresses a persistent historical topic while emphasizing a contemporary political, economic or cultural issue.  (~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.  Address the question(s) in your literature review. (~150 words).

Literature Review

(~1250 words, See below)

Expected Outcomes

Please explain what you hope to accomplish with your paper. Goals or outcomes include a reiteration of the problem and an explanation of how your research advances 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.

Part 2:  History of the Present Essay Literature Review

HOP Lit Review Assessment Rubric

Based on your literature review, author a paragraph that characterizes what you intend to research. Integrate this statement into the lead paragraph introducing your literature review.

Compare & Contrast Themes

This review is a thematic discussion of the literature that is most relevant to the issue or theme or problem of concern to you.  Use the review to define and limit what you are proposing to explore along with the parameters of your scholarship. Compare and contrast how the issue or problem of interest to you is variously defined across the literature you selected for your review. 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).

**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. Websites have NOT undergone a peer review. If you are unsure if a source has been peer reviewed, please consult Dr. Shutkin.

I do not want you to use dot com websites; who knows what is true and what is fake.  Peer review is a process of quality control, it is academic fact checking.  Most articles available through the OhioLink databases have undergone a peer review process so this is a good place to search for articles. Of course there are eJournals available only online that might come up in a Google search. There are two ways to determine if these have been reviewed: 1. search for the title through the OhioLink databases, or 2. visit the home pages of the eJournal and read about the scope, aims, intentions of the journal. If a journal has an editorial board, it is likely that it also has a peer review process. A good journal will make it obvious and tell you upfront that articles undergo a peer review process before they are accepted for publication.

Learn How to Write a Review of Literature | From The Writer’s Handbook, The University of Wisconsin Writing Center

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