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Research Proposal Observation

Going into this project, I knew that online discussion forums are numerous and span many topics on the
internet. In using other forums which are unrelated to students, I can see an opportunity that I wanted
to explore. I feel that learned quite a bit about what student forums are out there already and about
how students use technology. Through observation of students on campus and reflection of my own
habits, I can make assumptions about students needs but the research backs up or challenges such
assumptions.
Topic Observation
In conducting the initial research for my proposal, I was surprised to discover that other universities had
such discussion boards available to their students. I was concerned about why I had never heard of it
and worried that maybe there was some legal or logistical reason why discussion boards were not
already offered by Boise State to the students. Im glad that I did not run across some glaring problem
with the idea in my research.
Im still very curious about the reasons why it works or doesnt work at other universities. One of the
discussion boards that I encountered did not have many posts in the recent weeks but there is still
primary research to be conducted that might explain the lack of student involvement at this time. It is
possible that this community college is not in session currently or is quite a bit smaller than Boise State.
Problems Encountered
Some problems that I encountered included difficulty in obtaining sources and forming my arguments. I
was specifically searching for peer-reviewed sources and found that it limited my choices considerably. I
also struggled in forming my arguments because I was unable to find strong sources to support the
arguments I mapped out.
After discussing the sources with the instructor, I discovered that I should not be limiting my sources and
found better sources to replace some of the weaker ones through revision. Once I had stronger sources,
I felt comfortable altering my argument map which helped me form better arguments in the
introduction section.
Evidence Choice
I intentionally included the Arbiters newspaper article about Yik Yak use on campus because my target
audience was interviewed for this story and had strong opinions about the apps negative implications.
This information led me to create an argument about the current interactive tools being insufficient for
productive communication among students.
When I discovered that George Mason University offers an online discussion forum for their students, I
felt that my audience would find that information appealing because he is interested in creating a legacy
for himself as the ASBSU President and to follow in the path of a university that Boise State aspires to is
a positive way.

Strengths and Weaknesses


While, I believe that my proposal is strong and well written, I dont believe that my arguments flow
together very well in the introduction. I changed my arguments during revision because my connections
to Blackboard were not very strong. Replacing this argument with one about allowing shy students to
communicate more comfortably presented a better argument but its not much stronger.
The proposed tasks and the accompanying schedule represent are strong because the next steps for
designing a strong recommendation are very clear and cover nearly all the questions that might be
raised in considering implementation. Proposing two surveys, one for current students and one for
other universities can cover a broad range of topics if the questions are designed well.

Proposal Summary
This proposal is being presented as a request for resources to pursue primary research regarding the
feasibility of implanting an asynchronous, university-sponsored online discussion board for student use.
This may prove to be a great addition to Boise States current student offerings because current
interaction tools being used by students, such as Yik Yak, are not productive for student communication.
The level of university involvement may be a factor in implementation based on where current tools fail.
Other universities have provided this tool to their students, including George Mason University and the
University of Maine, but the success of these programs should be researched further to determine
whether Boise State is prepared to create an online discussion boards for students.
Five tasks are proposed to continue research which include information gathering of current online tools
for student communication, conducting a survey of students and a separate survey of universities that
offer a similar tool. This data will be collected by Feb. 22, conclusions will be drawn by Feb. 25 and a
final recommendation report will be completed by March 1, 2015.
My professional and academic experience with conducting research, writing proposals and forming
recommendations based on solid evidence make me an excellent candidate for the undertaking. I
intend to complete this project within a very efficient timeframe of 42 hours, at a modest rate of $10
per hour.