Research Project Design Assignment

As you should expect in a research methods course there are multiple measures to assess student learning, including assignments, discussions, and exams. Most of the course learning outcomes (listed below) are demonstrated in this assignment. In addition to integrating much of the course content in this specific assignment, this assignment is designed to help prepare students for the capstone project (sociology majors, as well as students in a number of other majors, will be required to complete a senior research project). (Just for your information a copy of the requirements for the Sociology Senior Project can be found in Course Resources, Shared Documents. You can see what is expected for the project and how this assignment fits in. You may also want to view the presentation in Lecture 4.3 under the Week 4 tab. This presentation describes the relationship between the basic principles in research design, the Research Design Project assignment, and the Senior Project.)

Course Learning Outcomes:
1. Analyze the interrelationship between the development of social theory and the methodologies of data collection.
2. Formulate a well-constructed research question and explain the data source necessary to answer the question.
3. Develop a methodology for the collection and dissemination of qualitative and quantitative research findings.
4. Understand the intricacies of non-participant and participant observation, and the skills needed for successful open-ended interviewing.
5. Demonstrate research report writing and presentation skills.
6. Develop an awareness of the political and ethical issues involved in social research.

In this assignment, you will identify and describe a research question/topic of sociological interest (i.e. why this topic is important); define all the sociological terms in the research question–dependent variable and independent and control variables as appropriate; identify one or more sociological theories or conceptual frameworks that inform this research; discuss the methodology you would use to collect data, including identification of data sources (if possible); develop an outline of a literature review; and develop an annotated bibliography (see Doc Sharing for an example) that includes a minimum of 10 scholarly sources (peer-reviewed journal articles, academic books, Internet resources [.gov, .org, or .edu source only; Wikipedia and similar sites will not be accepted], dissertations/master theses). Use the outline below as subheadings for your paper:

Research Question/Topic

Terms and Variables

Theory/Conceptual Framework


Data Sources*

Literature Review Outline

Annotated Bibliography

Grading for this assignment will be based on both qualitative and quantitative factors.

Qualitative Measure: Each source must be correctly referenced in APA style (there are several examples of the Annotated Bibliography and APA style references in Doc Sharing). Each summary of the major findings (approximately 2-3 sentences up to one paragraph) must be free from grammatical errors and show a clear relationship to the research question and/or the literature review outline.

Quantitative Measure: The following quantitative measures will apply:
A: 20 sources, including books, journal articles, and Internet sources*
B: 15 sources, including books, journal articles, and Internet sources*
C: 10 sources, including books, journal articles, and Internet sources*
D: 5 sources, including books, journal articles, and Internet sources*
F: Fewer than 5 sources
* Re: Internet sources: A distinction will be made between types of Internet sources. Government sites (designated by the .gov extension), educational sites (designated by the .edu extension), and formal organizations (designated by the .org extension) tend to be more reliable and are more appropriate for sociological research. Sites that contain the .com extension may also provide accurate information, but are subject to less oversight and may reflect an individual’s personal agenda rather and an objective presentation of empirical data (this is referred to as “selective observation” in Chapter 1. Therefore, an annotated bibliography may not include more than five (5) .com references and should really contain none.
Grading will be based on reconciliation between Quantitative and Qualitative measures. For example, an annotated bibliography with 20 references qualifies for a Quantitative grade of A; however, inaccuracies in the References or poorly written summaries may result in a Qualitative grade of C. The final grade for the assignment in this example would be “B.”
There is an example of an edited Research Project Design Assignment in Course Resources, Shared Documents. Your assignment does not need to look exactly like the example. We will be discussing the assignment in chats and you should make sure you understand the requirements.

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