Tips for Writing a Successful WSP 99 Proposal

Every year, the Winter Study Committee rejects WSP99 proposals that do not contain a clear intellectual challenge, are not coherent or not feasible. Don't be left in the cold this winter - follow these steps and you'll put yourself on track to a successful proposal.

  1. Read the WSP 99 Guidelines closely

  2. Gather Background Information & Assess How Much Information is Available on Your Topic
    • Consult multidisciplinary databases such as Expanded Academic Index, ProQuest or Web of Science to find general articles on your topic.
    • Use reference sources such as subject encyclopedias to gather statistics, historical facts, summaries of topics, etc. Ask a librarian in Sawyer or Schow libraries to guide you to the best reference sources.

  3. Organize your Proposal Around a Research Question (This is The Key!)
    • Survey research materials available right here on campus by searching FRANCIS, the library's online catalog. Start by doing an Advanced Keyword search, and then use those results to find useful subject headings for your topic.
    • Find existing research on your topic by searching for articles in scholarly journals. Use one of the library's Article Databases to gather research articles.
    • Consult published bibliographies on your topic. Search FRANCIS and combine your topic with the word bibliography, e.g. tourism and bibliography.

  4. Create a Solid Bibliography
    • A good bibliography demonstrates that you have conducted a thorough review of the literature.
    • Your bibliography should include materials spanning from general background information to specific research done on the question you plan to study.
    • Your bibliography does not have to be an exhaustive list of all materials ever written on your topic but it needs to indicate that you have identified the key researchers and resources.
    • It is not necessary to read all sources before submitting your proposal. Your bibliography may include materials that you propose to read.
    • Don't limit your bibliography to what is available at Williams. The library can borrow materials from other libraries through Williams Interlibrary Loan.

  5. Consult with a Reference Librarian

    The job of Reference Librarians is to help you find information. Librarians can help you identify the best tools to find the best sources in all formats and help you evaluate your findings. Reference librarians are available in person, via phone or via email. Don't hesitate to contact us through our Ask A Librarian Service.