Even so, the goal isn't simply for students to start asking "would it be ok if...?", the goal is for students to boldly declare their paper topics. "Would it be ok if...?" still supposes that I possess the final divining rod on effective and ineffective papers and thesis statements. While I do have some experience in paper writing beyond the students' scope, I am far the only source of the knowledge. Even this year, I've had many students find sources with interpretations I had never even considered. "Would it be ok..?" The question should really be "Did you know...?" or "Am I doing something no one has done before?"
Perhaps my hopes are naive...but that's acceptable. I just think it's important to remember that the purpose of the research project, isn't really to make the teacher happy, it's to learn something. perhaps even something that isn't simply "ok".