COM 501: Research Methods in Communication
Elements of an Abbreviated RHETORICAL Research Proposal
1. Determine a focus of study such as political speeches, television shows or genres,
movies or movie genres, commercials, magazine text, the rhetoric of social movements,
organizations, music lyrics, visual art, public memorials, etc.
2. You will give a brief description of the text (e.g. the communication/artifact/
symbols) to be critiqued. Your description should include a justification for the artifact
youve selected. What makes the artifact worthy of your (and your readers) time and
3. Your description of the context and situation where the communication occurred. What
social, historical, economic, political, and other circumstances are relevant to the artifact?
4. Your explanation of the rhetorical approach, which will guide your criticism. What is
the framework you selected for this study (e.g. Feminist rhetorical criticism, Metaphoric
criticism, Marxist or Postmodern Critique)?
Here you should articulate and cite previous scholarship on the framework. You
will need to include a justification for the rhetorical approach you selected. Be
thorough and detailed in explaining the rhetorical approach.
Keep in mind you are not completing a rhetorical paper but a proposal. A common
mistake is simply writing a rhetorical paper vs a proposal. So, your paper should spend
enough time articulating how you would conduct the study.
4. References. Include a reference page of all of the sources cited in the research proposal.
(including the textbook). Double check your references against the body of the proposal to make
sure that all sources appear in both places. These should follow APA formatting guidelines. You
are required to have at least 7 sources (excluding the textbook) included in your references.
These should be from communication journals, and somehow support the topic of your proposal.
PLEASE NOTE: Your proposal should run between 3 to 4 pages not counting your APA
formatting title page and APA formatting references.
PLEASE NOTE: Please include the type of study you are conducting in the title of your
research proposal. For example:
A Rhetorical Analysis of Advertisements by The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids