SYE Proposal Guidelines | St. Lawrence University Performance and Communication Arts

SYE Proposal Guidelines

Students should propose a senior project/independent study project (from now on only “project”) in an area in which they have significant experience as a result of classes, production work, and/or research. The project provides an opportunity to bring together the various skills students have been honing as majors. It is not the time to begin work in a new area in which students have not been formally trained.

Students should meet with a member of the department to prepare their proposals. Proposals prepared without departmental assistance will not likely be accepted. If you are studying off-campus, communicate with one of the PCA Department members via email.

Students will be registered for the project course by their advisors during the semester that they complete the project for one of the following courses:

  • PCA 489 – Senior Project [rhetoric & communication]
  • PCA 490 – Senior Project [theatre & performance]
  • PCA 498 – Honors Senior Project [rhetoric & communication]
  • PCA 499 – Honors Senior Project [theatre & performance]

Proposal Guidelines

  • All proposals should be Times New Roman, 12-point, double-spaced, with 1” margins.
  • Section headers should be clearly marked using the language below.
  • Use parenthetical in-text citations to cite your sources.
  • Proposals should adhere to the conventions of academic writing (typo-free, grammatically correct).

Section 1: Title and Keywords

  • What are you calling it? Name for your readers the topic of your study.
  • Identify keywords. Please list 5-7 keywords as related to your study.

Section 2: Introduction (1-2 paragraphs)

  • What are you going to do? A description of the subject of your research. This should specify the topic of your proposal project. Be sure to specify field, site, and participants if applicable.
  • What is your research question / statement? A good option to consult is Wayne Booth’s et al. The Craft of Research reading here.

Section 3: Object of Investigation (1 paragraph for A or B)

  • A) What are you analyzing / looking at? This is a brief outline of the specific texts, artifacts, phenomena you will be analyzing. Name them for your readers. This is subject to change as you work with your advisor, but we need to see an example of the sorts of texts, artifacts, or phenomena you will be analyzing.
  • B) What are you creating? This is a brief outline of the specific performance, practice, creative endeavor you will be producing. This is subject to change as you work with your advisor, but we need to see a vision for the finished project or production. Describe any key expressions, impressions, or insights that you intend, and the audience that you intend them for.

Section 4: Rationale (1-2 pages)

  • Why is it worth studying? A rationale that explains why you think undertaking such a study is significant (a.k.a., the “so what?” question).
  • Why is it appropriate for a Performance and Communication Arts SYE? How does this SYE build upon concepts, readings, or ideas explored in departmental classes?

Section 5: Methodology (1-2 pages)

  • How are you going to do it? An explanation of the expected method and a detailed discussion of how you would proceed with that study, including what evidence you will develop with the proposed method.
  • Why are you choosing this method? Be sure to cite relevant reading(s) for that method. The best proposals often consult and expand upon readings and methods covered in PCA 250: Research Methods.

Section 6: Background Research (2-3 pages)

  • What research have you done? Identify the bodies of literature and academic conversations your research is building upon. The best proposals will often cite key scholars or concepts in your proposed field of study
  • Why these scholars or texts for your proposed project? Explain how your proposed project joins the established academic conversations presented above. (Link to Tracey’s cocktail party video.)
  • What additional research do you need to conduct? A brief discussion of additional background research that would be needed to complete the project. Identify, generally, what type of academic (peer-reviewed journal articles or books) and historical research you would need to undertake to gain the background necessary to move forward with the study.

Section 7: Feasibility (1-2 pages)

  • Why are you prepared to do it? What qualifies you to execute this project? What courses, skills, and/or background do you have to do the research?
  • How can you accomplish it? Your task here is to convince readers that the scope and scale of your project is doable in a single semester. This should include a specific and detailed calendar for accomplishing the project.
  • What material resources will you need? This should outline any needs required for the project--travel / transportation costs, equipment needs, copying / printing, etc.

Section 8: Works Cited

  • What did you cite? Please cite (MLA, APA, or Chicago) any sources referenced in your proposal.