Proposal Guidelines

The research proposal should include the following when it is submitted to the Honors Coordinator in September of the senior year:

  • Preliminary title.

  • Proposed thesis advisor (following conversations with her/him).

  • Two or more possible readers/examiners (at least one must be an LAS faculty member)

  • Five double-spaced pages describing the proposed research project.  This should include an explicit statement of the research question(s) that guides the research and a description of the method(s) that will be employed in the project.  Be as specific as possible.  Within the five pages, include a preliminary theoretical framework and a brief literature review of the most important and relevant scholarly sources.  Be sure to connect the discussion of the literature with the research questions that drive the project. 

  • Bibliography demonstrating familiarity with the most significant and relevant scholarly literature about the project.

  • If the project will involve human subjects (e.g. interviews, surveys), complete the forms on the Institutional Research Board website (www.macalester.edu/committees/irb). 

You can read a sample proposal.  

The Honors Coordinator will circulate student research proposals and the LAS Department will meet to evaluate their suitability and feasibility.  Students will have 20 minutes to defend orally the proposals before members of the Department, usually during the 3rd week of Fall semester.  The Department will evaluate proposals based on: (1) the intellectual clarity and promise of the project; (2) the amount of prior preparation for the project; and (3) an assessment of the student’s capacity to successfully carry out the project.