The research proposal in the social sciences generally consists of the “front-end” of a full manuscript:
(1) an introduction; (2) a comprehensive review of the literature in your area; and (3) the data (i.e., where will the data used in your project originate?) and methods (i.e., a comprehensive list of all variables to be used in your study; operationalization procedures for said variables; and an analytical strategy) section.If you wish to itemize the grading procedures in this course, the research proposal is the primary assignment for the course.
The research proposal will closely approximate the first three sections of an empirical journal article, with slight differences in wording – e.g., you will use the future tense as opposed to the present tense.Students will NOT collect or analyze any data in this project; it is a research proposal. Students are strongly encouraged to browse some of the flagship journals in this field (e.g., Criminology, Journal of Criminal Justice, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, Crime and Delinquency) for illustrations as to how the front-end of a journal article is to appear. As far as the type of research proposal is concerned, students are allowed to choose from a variety of proposals:(1) experimental research design pertaining to a particular criminal justice policy (e.g., mandatory arrest statutes for domestic assault, policies targeting drunken/distracted driving, etc.); (2) performing some other form of evaluation research (e.g., needs evaluation, theory evaluation, outcome evaluation, cost-efficiency evaluation, implementation evaluation) of a given criminal justice policy; (3) hypothesis testing using primary or secondary self-report survey data (probably the most common form); and (4) qualitative field research (e.g., deviant/underground criminal subcultures, police corruption, etc.). Additional，the proposal is generally expected to be somewhere between 8-12 pages, excluding preliminary pages (i.e., title page, abstract, table of contents) and the references section.