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A. It’s officially time to begin our research proposals. For this assignment, choose your topic of study, and write the Problem/Objective section of the proposal. This should be about 1-2 paragraphs. Refer to our slides, the resources section in our files, and the textbook to guide you. Use this as an opportunity to set up your title page as well.
If you are struggling to choose a topic, there is a list of example topics in our files section. Although you will not be writing about your paradigm in this section, keep it in mind as you develop your idea.
B. It’s time to write the first half of your literature review. Do research on your topic. Read what others have wrote. The literature review should summarize what existing literature has to say about the problem and the existing solutions: What has been tried, what has worked, what has not worked, why. It should answer questions like: What have others said about this topic? What theories address it, and what do they say? What previous research exists? Are there consistent findings, or do past studies disagree? Does the body of existing research have flaws that you think you can remedy? A normal literature review is between 2 and 3 pages, so 1 to 1.5 pages will suffice for this assignment.
NOTE: CITE YOUR SOURCES. Few of you did this in your introductions. You do not have to have a fully formed reference list yet, but keep links to everything you use at the bottom of your document, and cite them properly in the text.
Similarly, if you have not yet put together your title page, be sure to do so. If you are struggling with formatting, check the resources in the files section. E-mail me with any concerns
C. It’s time to get your variables down on paper. Conceptually define any major variables in a clear and concise manner. Are there different dimensions to your variables? If so, will you be measuring them all, or just a specific dimension you’re interested in? Note the reasoning for your choices. Then, begin the process of operationalization. What are the indicators of your variables? How do you plan on observing those indicators? Will you use an anonymous questionnaire? In person interviews?
This assignment should include a conceptualization of the terms you’re interested in, a nominal definition, and an operational definition.
The first part of this assignment (conceptual definitions) will go in your introduction. The second part (operationalization) will go in your methods section
D. The first part is to finish your literature review if you have not done so yet. So far you’ve presented what is known. Now you need to make your case for your research answering a new question, getting a new answer to an old question, etc. Following this, you should formulate your research question or hypothesis.
The second part is to write the Population and Sample part of your Methods section. What is the population you plan to study? What is your sampling plan? Why is this the best or most practical plan
E. Purpose: Introduce the general methodology you will be using and why (tie to the literature review). The purpose is a statement of what you intend to study, not what you intend to find.
Study Design: Are you doing qualitative or quantitative research? Is it exploratory, descriptive or explanatory? Explain why you are using this type of study and what you plan to explore, describe, or explain (tie this to the literature review). For whatever style of research, state the type of study being used: is it an experiment? A survey/questionnaire? A field study? Content analysis? State also why this approach is best for your study.
Investigative techniques: Explicitly state exactly how you intent to gather data. If it’s a survey, are the questions open-ended or close-ended. If it’s field research, how much of a participant will the researcher be? If it’s interviews, are they structured or unstructured? Following this should be your operationalization of variables, which was written in a previous assignment.
Ethics: What safeguards are in place in your study to protect human subjects? Consider both emotional and / or physical harm. Consider who the subjects are and if children or some other vulnerable population. What is your basic ethical approach? What are the power differentials between you and your subjects, and how will you protect them from any possible abuses? What steps are you taking to insure informed consent?