Service Essay Annotations & Proposal

At least one conference with me (Dr. Shutkin) to discuss your proposal is mandatory.

For your service learning essay, you are to identify an issue of consequence in the field of education that relates to your lived experiences engaging in service learning this semester in conjunction with ED253. Consider the historically specific social, cultural, political and/or economic conditions that make this issue possible?

Part 1:  Service Essay Annotated Bibliography*

Assessment weight = 1 grade point

Identify and reference 4-6 sources germane to your proposed Service essay topic. Beneath each reference, write a succinct summary of the source and discuss the expected contribution that the source will make to your essay. Each reference needs to be cited using an acceptable bibliographic style such as APA, Chicago or MLA. Write in the first person and directly discuss your Service essay. (+/- 750 words total, ~150 words for each annotation).

Consult a variety of databases, indexes, and bibliographies to determine a current and relevant body of knowledge.

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

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

Annotated Bibliography Assessment Rubric

Part 2:  Service Essay Proposal Guidelines

Assessment weight = 2 grade point

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).

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 section, expanding on your annotated bibliography, 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. Consider comparing and contrasting 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** (~750 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.

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).

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.

Proposal Assessment Rubric