` Research Proposal
20% of course grade
A research proposal helps you narrow your topic, form a research question or working thesis, articulate your own
knowledge of the topic, and identify information gathering strategies and sources. The research proposal also helps me
help you more effectively by providing me with an understanding of your interests and knowledge of the research focus
at this stage. Your research proposal should be a minimum of 400 words (single-spaced with double-spacing between
paragraphs). You must use the following headings and organization pattern:
Working Title of Project: provide a “working title.”
Research Question: State your question before you begin your research. As you progress through your research, you
should be able to tentatively answer this question in one sentence, which is your argument/thesis (see Working Thesis
Working Thesis: Write out your WORKING thesis (“tentative thesis”), which is your initial answer to the research
question above. Remember, a thesis statement (major claim for your paper) is a statement that demands “Prove it!”
This doesn’t mean, however, that you will look for information that only supports your thesis. In fact, information that
challenges your thesis is as important. Remember that your working thesis might change as you encounter and
incorporate various ideas and sources in your research.
Background: Explain your interest in this particular topic. Describe any previous research you’ve done around this or
related topics, any classes you’ve taken that made you interested or informed about this topic generally, and/or any
reading you may have already done in this area. Describe your topic’s history, controversial issues, current
perspectives, and define any key terms.
Methodology: Explain how you will conduct your research in as much detail as possible. Discuss the kinds of sources
you hope to consult, e.g., scholarly articles from peer-reviewed journals (name some journals), newspaper articles,
books, blogs…etc. Mention specific titles and resources to show me you have already done some search and you have
insider’s information, not only generalizations. Remember that this is a tentative plan. List as many keywords
associated with your topic as you can.
6 December 2020
SEE SAMPLE ON BACK
Dr. Malek Mohammad
Due date: 6 December 2020
Working Title of Project: “But, Doc, That’s Not What Google Recommends: Online Medical Information and
the Doctor-Patient relationship.”
Research Question: How does online medical information affect the doctor-patient relationship?
Working Thesis: The availability of medical information online can damage an element of respect essential to
the doctor-patient relationship.
Background: I have always been fascinated by medicine and what it holds for society, which is part of my
general interest in issues that should not be taken lightly; a person’s health and wellbeing are no exception. I
have watched numerous documentaries about the medical career, such as “The Vanishing Oath” about the
demise of the sacred doctor-patient relationship. “Online Advice: Good Medicine or Cyber-Quackery,” an
article on the American College of Physicians’ website, points to the risks that online medical advice poses to
the doctor-patient relationship from the early days of public access to the Internet, as early as 1996. For,
according to a New York Times article, “healthcare is the most crowded market in cyberspace.” Granted, the
Internet is not the only source of medical misinformation. Emergency room dramas, such as House, are as
dangerous a spout of misleading insight into the realities of medicine. Other newspaper articles debate whether
such information should even be accessible to the general public and whether it should be censored to limit
further damage to the doctor-patient relationship. Some sources actually commend online medical advice, but
this is mostly when such advice is to go see a real doctor.
Methodology: For this research to be effective, I need to start by looking at the primary sources, namely those
online venues where unverified medical advice is dispensed, such as Web Health Center, Online Medical
Consultation, E-med…etc. This is to have a better idea about what kind of information is exchanged and how.
The Journal of Medical Practice Management and The Journal of Public Health Policy are valuable sources of
articles on cultural issues in medicine as opposed to medical science per se, and they are accessible through the
AUK-subscribed JSTOR. The Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet is a much more relevant source, but
unfortunately I cannot access it via AUK-sponsored databases. I am particularly interested in obtaining access
to one of their articles titled “The Impact of Web 2.0 on the Doctor-Patient Relationship.” The “Health” and
“Technology” sections of The New York Times and a few other newspapers are a must for reports on cases of
malpractice in the two fields. Keywords in my search include: Internet-informed patient decision-making,
inaccurate, misleading or unverified medical information, doctor-patient relationship, health privacy and
confidentiality, assessing online health information, constructive doctor-patient communication, medical data
security, patient-controlled health records, respect
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