Delta State University
SSC 470/570: Methods of Social Research
Fall Semester 2004


Research Proposal Assignments

(1)  Research Topic


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Assignment:  Select a topic for your research proposal.

Process:  Start with a general an area of interest, e.g. "education," "crime," or "poverty."  Narrow this general interest down to a particular aspect that interests you, e.g. "school performance," "violence in prison," or "substandard housing."  Choose an area where you want to study this topic, e.g. "The Mississippi Delta," "the United States," "8 southern states," or "Bolivar County."  This is a sufficient level of detail for this assignment.

Submit:  A sheet of paper with the names of the members of your group and a brief (1-2 sentence) description of your topic.  Each group should submit one paper.

Due:  Sep. 23, 2004

(2)  Annotated Bibliography

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Assignment:  Prepare an annotated bibliography of 5 sources on your research topic.


Process:  Visit the library to find journal articles and other material on your topic.  Select five articles that help you develop your research design.   Your bibliography should include a complete and correct citation for each article, using an accepted citation format, followed by a brief (2-3 paragraph) synopsis of the article.  DO NOT copy the abstract for the article; you should read and summarize the article in your own words.  Your synopsis should include a description of the research question, the methods, and the results, as well as your own evaluation of the article. 

Submit: An annotated bibliography of these five articles.  Each group should submit one paper.

Due: Oct. 5, 2004.


(3)  Research Question

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Assignment:  Develop a research question for your proposed study.


Process:  Based on your review of the literature, focus in on a question you wish to address in your proposal.  Think carefully about the wording of the question, and make sure that you can use one of the methods discussed by Neuman to address your question.  Remember to orient the question so that you can develop an explanation. 


Submit:  A sheet of paper with your research question.  Each group should submit one paper.


Due:  Oct. 12, 2004


(4)  Methodological Approach

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Assignment:  Prepare a draft of the methodological approach that you intend to use in your proposed study.


Process:  Based on your research question, determine which approach and method would be most appropriate.  Describe the logic of your research design; in other words, how you would go about doing your research?  What method will you use?  How will you sample and measure?  What tools (e.g. questionnaire, interview guidelines) will you develop and use?  Explain, in detail, the process of doing your research project.


Submit:  A draft of the portion of your proposal in which you describe your methodological approach.  This should be approximately 2 to 3 pages.  Each group should submit three copies of their paper.


Due:  Oct. 26, 2004


(5)  Critique

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Assignment:  Critique the draft methodological approach of another group.


Process:  Read the draft methodological approach from another group, and prepare a critique of the methods the group plans to use.  Your critique should be approximately one page, and should carefully evaluate various aspects of the group's methods section.  Are the methods they propose appropriate given their research topic and question?  Have they adequately expressed how they will measure the phenomenon they are studying?  Have they chosen one method and described in detail how they will choose their sample, construct their variables or concepts, collect their data, and analyze their data?  Is their methods section complete?


Submit:  A critique of the methodological approach of one other group.  Each group member should submit three copies of your critique.  This is not a group assignment; each member in the group must submit a critique of the other group's methods.


Due:  Nov. 2, 2004