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Close reading is deep analysis of how a literary text function; it is both a reading process and something you include in a literary analysis paper. When you read a text paying specific attention to certain literary elements, looking for particular patters, or following the development of a particular character, you are practicing close reading. Likewise, when you watch a film with particular emphasis on a certain element, you are doing a close reading. Of course, when one writes an essay that teases out a certain element, this is the beginning of a close reading. Like literary analysis more generally, close reading is not a means in and of itself. Close reading helps inform the larger meaning or import of a work.

13. Include a title on your proposal. I'm amazed at how often the title is left for the end of the student's writing and then somehow forgotten when the proposal is prepared for the committee. A good proposal has a good title and it is the first thing to help the reader begin to understand the nature of your work. Use it wisely! Work on your title early in the process and revisit it often. It's easy for a reader to identify those proposals where the title has been focused upon by the student. Preparing a good title means:

    ...having the most important words appear toward the beginning of your title,

    ...limiting the use of ambiguous or confusing words,

    ..breaking your title up into a title and subtitle when you have too many words, and

    ...including key words that will help researchers in the future find your work.
14. It's important that your research proposal be organized around a set of questions that will guide your research. When selecting these guiding questions try to write them so that they frame your research and put it into perspective with other research. These questions must serve to establish the link between your research and other research that has preceded you. Your research questions should clearly show the relationship of your research to your field of study. Don't be carried away at this point and make your questions too narrow. You must start with broad relational questions.

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