composition case study research paper proposal


Proposal: (answer the following questions in a separate document

  • Describe your topic and why you chose it, including the person you intend to interview.
  • What are your research questions?
  • What do you already believe or know about your research questions?
  • List 3-5 possible interview questions.
  • Discuss the type of secondary research you think you’ll need and the topics you might research.
  • What key words might you use in search engines to find relevant secondary research?

Research paper:


The Composition Case Study connects to the learning outcome of using research to evaluate, analyze,

and synthesize prior knowledge on a subject and create new knowledge through primary research. The purpose

of the Composition Case Study Project is to conduct a case study of a composer by interviewing the composer

about his or her writing processes, rhetorically analyzing the composer’s work, and reflecting on what you

learned about composing from conducting the case study. The composer can be a fellow student, a workplace

professional, a family member, a local performer, etc. You’ll present the results of this research in the form of a

scholarly research article. In addition to interviewing the composer, you’ll integrate secondary sources—

research others have conducted.


Case studies are a common genre in academic writing in every field, whether it’s a psychologist describing a

patient or a business report focused on a specific company or a primatologist studying a particular band of

gorillas. Scholarly case studies are most often published in print mode (articles in scholarly journals and books

published by scholarly presses), but scholarly case studies are also presented in digital form (in documentary

videos or websites in online journals). The tone and style of a scholarly article tends to be formal and serious,

with the use of academic language and jargon appropriate for the subject and discipline. Readers expect

scholarly articles to engage in conversation with the research that’s been done on the topic, and this means

citing and integrating peer reviewed academic sources from scholarly journals and books. Citing only a few

related research studies is never enough to show that you’ve deeply engaged with your topic as a scholar.

Although most research articles cite dozens of sources, since this is a small research project, you should cite at

least 4-6 sources.


Research articles have different formats depending on the discipline (for example, research articles in the

sciences often use a more “objective” tone, less direct quotes, and more visuals like charts and graphs than

research articles in the humanities). But academic research articles in every field use some basic formatting

conventions: there’s often an abstract at the beginning that summarizes the article; there’s usually an

introduction and discussion of related research, a discussion of research methods, and a discussion of the results

and significance of the research. Different sections of a scholarly research article are usually divided by

headings. The length of a scholarly research article will depend on the size of the study and the assignment

guidelines (if it’s written for a college class) or the journal submission guidelines (if it’s written for publication

in a scholarly journal). You’ll be conducting a small research study, so your research article should be between

1,800 and 2,000 words. In the field of Writing Studies the most commonly used citation style is the style of the American Psychological Association (APA), so we’ll use APA style. APA highlights the year of the research you’re citing, and in Writing Studies we focus on the year since older research may not be as relevant as current studies.

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