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Research Proposal Assignment

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Assignment 4 – Research Proposal

Instructions: Expand on your first two assignments by adding the following material to form the
beginnings of a research paper. Your final assignment should be typed (12pt, double-spaced) and roughly
2-4 pages of full text. It should resemble the beginning of a research paper and read accordingly. Follow
the format below:
1) Title: Your topic. This should include both of your variables (independent and dependent). For
example, “Religion and Drug Use.”
2) Introduction (2-3 paragraphs): Introduce your topic as a social problem. This will include your
conceptual definition of your dependent variable (from A1) and the reasons it is an important topic
of inquiry (from A1 & A2). You’re setting up your paper here and getting the reader interested in
your study. Include at least one (1) citation from a reputable (news or academic) source that
discusses your topic and its severity.
3) Theory/Independent Variables (1-2 paragraphs): Next discuss your independent variable(s),
your theory about why it is related to your dependent variable, and state your hypothesis. Focus on
one key variable that you are most interested in (although you may be interested in more than
one). Include its nominal definition and discuss how it might be related to your dependent
variable. Why are the two connected, what do they have to do with each other? Do you expect
there to be a positive or a negative relationship? This is your hypothesis. If your independent
variable is race or gender or something that doesn’t have a direction up or down, just mention
what you think you will find, for example: “I expect men will support abortion more than women.
This is because men… whereas women…”.
4) Methodology (2-3 paragraphs): Finally, in the methodology section, discuss your method of data
collection and sample. State your method (survey, interview, ethnography, content analysis, etc.)
and discuss why you chose it. Next discuss who or what will be included in your sample. In other
words, who exactly do you plan to talk to or where exactly will you be getting your data from?
Next, give the operational definitions of your dependent variable, followed by your independent
variable. If you are exploring many possible independent variables such as race, class, and gender,
you will only need to fully define one that you wish to focus on, and the rest may simply be listed.
Be as specific as possible here. If you are thinking of a survey, mention how you might ask a
particular question (e.g. if you are going to ask for someone’s race, will you have pre-determined
categories or just let them fill in the blank?).
5) References: Include a full citation (in APA or ASA style) for your outside material referenced in
your introduction.
Extra Credit: You may include up to three (3) additional references for 1.5% points each, on this
assignment. However, only peer-reviewed sociological articles will be accepted, and the citations must be
relevant to your topic and be included in the text of your paper (either in the Introduction or Theory
sections). In-text citations should be in parentheses. For example, “thinking is not only hard, it’s
dangerous” (Shircliff, 2021). See back of this sheet for instructions on proving an article is sociological.
How to “prove” an article is sociological

  1. It was published in sociology journal
    a. There are many sociology journals so it can be difficult and you may need to do a little
    i. What comes up when you Google the title of the journal? If it says something like
    “published by the American Sociological Association” you are fine.
    ii. You can also follow this link for a list of ASA journals:
  2. It was written by a sociologist. This may be the case if your article was published in a journal of
    sociology and economics, for example.
    a. May say in author blurb.
    b. Or Google one of the authors. She/he should hold a PhD in sociology or be in a sociology
  3. It may also help to limit your search if possible. Look for ways to search for only “social science”
    or “sociology” articles. You may also you “sociology*” as an additional keyword search – this will
    bring back articles that have some form of the word “sociology” in the text.
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