The proposal should have three parts:
(1) An abstract or that statement that poses a question or problem,
contextualizes that problem and conveys the stakes of engaging it. This
statement should convey the methods and perspectives that you will bring
to the question and what you will do, in order to explore it.
(2) A detailed, critical summary of what’s ‘known’ about the subject, that
identifies gaps in knowledge and research questions that you hope to
address. This section often includes summary (but highly specific)
information about what kinds of “primary” sources are available (this could
be letters, manuscriipts, print, audio, video, photographic, pictorial,
whatever). It should also include a bibliography.
(3) An expanded how you propose to address these questions. This is where
you would propose answer(s) to your research question(s), in the form of
what would eventually be the thesis statement of your paper /
essay/article/thesis/dissertation/ creative project if you were to follow
through on the proposal. It is also where you would introduce the
theoretical ideas you propose as likely to be helpful as you try to develop
section is a bit like fiction writing–it says what you can imagine doing but
also forces you to clarify your thought while inviting you to be bolder than
you would dare to be if you had to produce the paper this semester.