Step 4


Proposals do not emerge in a vacuum! Researchers generate ideas for future research from previous research.  


Each team member finds, in the library’s periodical databases (e.g., Academic OneFile, JSTOR, ProQuest…), one peer-reviwed scholarly journal article specific to the discipline on the assigned topic.


Combine the name of your discipline with the topic in the basic or advanced search box. Limit the search to:

  • Full text articles
  • Peer-reviewed journals
  • 2005 to the present

Be sure to choose an article that you can understand.


The studies your team finds will be used to help your team design its own proposal on the topic. The aim is to build on research by researchers in your discipline. Building on previous research is a praiseworthy norm in scientific research.
In point form, take note of the following features of the study you have selected:

  1. Title of article
  2. Author(s) name
  3. Date of publication
  4. Publication title
  5. Pages
  6. What is the main goal of the study? –or– Why was the study done?
  7. What is the thesis or hypothesis? (found in the abstract, at the end of the introduction or at the beginning of the methods section)
  8. Is the study experimental or non-experimental? How do you know this?
  9. List at least three key variables or concepts under study:
  10. Who or what are the units that were studied (e.g., people, countries, programs…)? 
  11. What kinds of evidence or data were used to help prove the thesis or hypothesis?
  12. In your own words, summarize the main findings or results of the study.


Find out about your fellow team members’ studies. Each of you in turn should present the information you extracted from your chosen study. Use the prompt questions below to guide you in your search for your own proposal ideas. Keep track of what you decide to borrow and from whom, as you should make explicit reference to the researchers and the titles during your presentation.

Address the following questions as a team and provide a brief account of the discussion under the three items listed below. For this item, depending on your teacher, your responses may be similar.

  1. Which study or studies in the team’s collection seem to offer the most inspiration for formulating our own proposal? In which ways?
  2. Could a single study from the team’s collection be adopted in full (full replication) or in part (partial replication)? If so, which one and how?
  3. What will your study sample and population be? Could you use the same or a similar sample and population as in one of the studies? See Decision Board #2 of the Decision Circuit for help on this item.