The Research Overview is the first step in writing your Proposal. You will prepare the Overview when you have completed your initial survey of what has been written on your topic through your exploration of the whole spectrum of information resources. At this point, you may have refocused or reassessed your topic based on what you have read, perhaps because you have that found work very similar to what you had planned to do already exists or because you have become interested in a different aspect of the topic as a result of your research.
The Research Overview is an opportunity to reflect on and assess the information you have found. More than an annotated bibliography, which simply summarizes the theses of various resources, your Overview will engage those arguments, making you part of the conversation already going on about your topic. In one sense, the reader of your Overview should get a picture of your topic, what has been or is being said about it. In another sense, the Overview should be more than a Polaroid snapshot; it should rather be a painting done by you, your own vision of the shape of the topic, including your evaluation of what's good and what's not, what's been done well and what's missing.
As a model for your Overview, you might look at Review articles--often titled "Recent Scholarship in [topic]"--that many journals run once a year. For instance, Signs runs one or more such articles in its Winter issue. (Back issues are available for browsing in the Women's Studies departmental library.) Or you may come across such an article in the course of your research. These Reviews usually go into far more detail about individual books than will be possible in your broader review of resources, but the way in which such Reviews handle the material is similar to the way in which you should approach it in your Overview--informed, informative, and opinionated.
The Research Overview is due in class on March 8. The text should be 8-10 pages, double-spaced (1600-2500 words) plus the annotated bibliography you have collected. Use a citation form appropriate to your (inter)discipline (that is, the one used by most of the journals in which you're finding articles most appropriate to your topic). Feel free to write in the first person, since this is your topic and your particular take on the research. Begin by introducing your reader to the topic and end with a short summary of how you see your proposed project fitting into the ongoing scholarly conversation you have depicted in the Overview.