Research Methods: Final Project
Think of this as a 3 page long take home final exam essay question.
Overview: The goal of this exercise is for you to demonstrate your ability to carry out a research project
using the Deductive scientific method. You will propose a research project in its entirety, but will not
collect or analyze any data. The proposal will be completed in a level of detail such that any person could
pick up your proposal, follow your design and implement the study with no additional information. You
will choose ONE of the following data collection techniques-Observation, Content analysis; Survey. You
only need to propose a study using One type of data collection. Ignore all instructions that do not pertain
to your chosen method.
The entire goal is to show off how much you have learned. Even if you feel like you are stating the
obvious in any section of the assignment, state it. State it using vocabulary you learned in this class. Show
off all your research methods knowledge!
Step 1: Topic selection. Write a paragraph stating your research question and why it is worth researching.
(You may not use a topic that you used on a previous assignment!) You will need to select a topic which
is sociological in nature and that will be examined deductively. Propose a project that you could carry out
in a reasonable amount of time with minimal resources. The goal is not for you to be high-brow and
complicated with this. The goal is to show you learned something this semester. So simple topics similar
to what I have used in class are appropriate (advising at WKU; Student attendance at athletic events…)
a. Observation method: I highly suggest proposing observing a behavior that could be observed on
WKU’s campus. Such as: Student interaction at DSU; Student/employee interaction at DSU.
Student behavior in a classroom…..
b. Content analysis method: I highly suggest proposing analysis of some readily available content.
Such as songs, music videos, movies, titles of bestselling novels. In this way you can easily set a
sampling frame as there are “lists” of these items on the internet. (I.e. New York Times Best seller
list; Billboard Top 100 songs of 2017…)
c. Survey research method: Same as above, something you know about in terms of WKU student life
would be appropriate. Don’t try to be fancy or complicated.
Step 2: State your hypothesis. Remember that the hypothesis statement is a formal statement of how your
dependent variable is related to your independent variable in the social setting you have chosen to
Step 3: Describe your dependent variable and its formal operationalization. This step involves choosing
a level of measurement and specifically defining your variables in a measurable way.
a. Observation method: Explicitly describe the observational cues you will use for categorizing
people’s behavior. Basically you will either count how many times (or how long) a person does
something, or you will categorize their behavior. If you categorize, your operationalization should
be focused on defining differences between categories. If you count, your operationalization is
focused on defining exactly when the behavior you are counting begins and ends.
b. Content analysis: What will you be observing? Will you be counting words? Length of time
something is happening?
c. Survey Research method: How will you measure your concepts.
Step 4: Describe your independent variable and its formal operationalization.
a. Observation method: Same as above, but for independent variable.
b. Content analysis: Same as above, but for independent variable.
c. Survey Research method: Same as above, but fore independent variable.
Step 5: Plan your sampling protocol. The goal of this section is for you to show me what you have
learned about sampling this semester. You must be very specific and you must accurately use the
vocabulary learned in our chapter on sampling. For example, don’t state “I am going select a sample.”
Describe exactly in detail how you are going to “use a random number generator to select a simple
random sample”…. (or whatever technique you use, describe in detail) Use vocabulary such as
“population” “sampling frame” “unit of analysis”
a. Observation method: Explicitly define in writing when (what time of day) and where you will
collect your data and who your sample will be. Your sampling protocol is very important as it
enables other researchers to replicate your results.
b. Content analysis method: Clearly state your sampling frame. Provide documentation of how this
sampling frame is going to be created, or if it exists as a list somewhere, indicate where that list
can be found (such as a web address). Then, describe how you will select your sample from the
frame. Make sure your unit of analysis is clear.
c. Survey method: Assume that you have the resources/access to respondents you desire in order to
distribute your surveys according to your sampling frame –as long as it is in-line with the ethical
practices you learned throughout the semester. Use all appropriate concepts and vocabulary
Step 6: Create your data collection instrument. In this section, you will not only present your instrument,
but you must discuss it. This means explain to me how your instrument measures your independent and
dependent variable. You must discuss how your instrument will address reliability and validity.
a. Observation Method: Create recording sheets. After your plan is ready, create recording sheets
for structured observations
b. Content analysis: Same as Observation sheets.
c. Survey method: Create your survey here. Write at least 5 closed ended survey questions and 3
open ended questions that will measure your concepts. Be exactingly clear as to how each question
measures a concept. Make sure you follow all the guidelines for writing “good” questions. Be sure
that you specifically link each question to the measurement of an Independent or dependent
Step 7: Ethics implications. Briefly explain any ethical considerations that need to be made in regards to
your proposed research. Note: The answer here will never be “there are no ethical considerations.” Even if
there are no considerations, you must explain, in terms of ethics language, why there is no concern. State
the obvious—what are we usually concerned about with ethics and then explain why you don’t have that
concern with your project.
This paper should be double spaced, 12 point font, one inch margins. You may use the 7 steps as headers
for your document. But the document should be written in paragraph form using complete sentences and
proper grammar/mechanics. You may use indentations, single spacing etc., as needed for clarity. You may
use the first person pronoun “I” when referring to the steps you will take. While this assignment does not
ask you to incorporate outside sources, but always be sure to properly cite anytime you use anyone else’s
ideas or words. When citing, please use ASA or APA format.
Step 1, Topic
___ Very good
___ Very good
Introduction to the project
Statement of purpose of research
Why do we care about this question?
Hypotheses match research question(s)
-Written in hypothesis form
- Each variable is explained
(conceptualization, if necessary,
Step 5 Sampling
___ Very good
Discussion of sample
Why choices were made explained
Settings of your research, the dates and
times of day
Step 6 Instrument
___ Very good
___ Very good
Clear. Well constructed.
Validity and reliability are clearly
Step 7 Ethics
Uses vocabulary of ethics. Indicates at
least 2 general ethical concerns in
research and how the proposed research
avoids those ethical concerns.
Proper English, subject-verb agreement
Sentence variety, tense
Sentences starting with numbers are
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