I like very much that the SWCA’s call for papers focuses on diversity in the South and how regionalism, or the lack thereof, affects writing and writing tutoring. I also like how they mention new literacies and how they affect tutors. From the suggested umbrella topics, I would be interested in writing about ELL Writers/International Students and Assessment Practices. I also am interested in the Common Core, but I think creating a research project about it in the university setting would prove difficult. I would very much like to research best practices for ELL writers and conduct a sustained research project on those ELL writers who come into our writing center. I also know from TESOL that very little work has been done comparing L2 English learners to L3 or L4, etc. English learners. I believe that the population of ELLs in our writing center would lend itself to such a study.
The Owl at Purdue stresses the importance of reading the call for papers repeatedly to orient your presentation around the themes listed, as well as to absolutely always meet the deadline listed (October 10, 2014 for SWCA). The proposal should remain under 300 words. The Owl sets up very nicely the structure of such proposals: The first third (approximately 100 words) is an introduction including background on your topic. The second third includes a thesis statement, an explanation of your procedures, and a situation of your thesis within the existing research and an explanation of its significance and originality (this last part by itself should be 3-5 lines). The final third shows the conclusions you will present and some evidence about it. (In the case that you are submitting your proposal before you have completed your research, I think preliminary data and predictions can go here, though the proposal is not as strong.)
The Owl continues, saying you should always consider your audience when deciding how much background information to include. It also mentions that quotes should be limited to two, and citations are not required, though you should mention the author’s name. The Owl also goes over different type of presentations. The type used at SWCA is not clear from the call for papers, and I would be interested to know more! Common pitfalls listed by the Owl include lack of enthusiasm, a broad topic, repeating information, and unclear language.
In “Submitting the Proposal,” the Owl further stresses the importance of e-mail etiquette: you should include a good subject line, a professional body including a short paragraph with your scholarly background, skills, qualifications, and desire to submit. The proposal itself should be attached as a .docx, .pdf, or .rtf format. It should be either double-spaced or 1.5 spaced if needed to stay on one page.