Produce a 10-15-page research paper describing and analyzing, USING QUANTITATIVE METHODS, a topic of your choice in sociology or criminal justice studies. The paper will be double-spaced and properly referenced. Use in-text citations throughout your paper to cite your sources. Label each section of your paper so that I know where the introduction, literature review, methods, analysis, discussion and conclusion begin and end.
The written report will include the following content:
• Your name
• Course name and number
• TITLE: You must give an original title to your project – Do not just title it as “Research Project”. Find a title that catches the reader’s attention.
• Date of submission
Introduction: (Use Research Question and Rationale to complete the introduction)
• Begin with an introductory sentence that catches the reader’s attention.
• Identify your topic
• What is the purpose of this research project?
• What is your specific research question?
• What is your hypothesis?
• What variables are included in the research question?
• Define those variables.
• Why is it important to address your topic?
• Summarize the outline of the paper in a few sentences.
• How do the authors define the topic?
• Do some scholars have different definitions of the same topic?
• What is your definition of the topic?
o Be specific. In other words, what are some concrete indicators of the concept?
Compare and contrast the articles
• Compare and contrast the articles you got from the library. Distinguish articles based on:
o Research questions
o Variable operationalizations
o Research designs
o Sample size and selection method
*Use the work you already completed in your literature review assignment!
TIP: Although this section goes after the literature review, WRITE THIS SECTION AFTER YOU DID THE RESEARCH, then put it where it belongs in the paper. Obviously, you cannot tell your reader what you did before you actually finished doing what you did!
• Is your research:
o Evaluation research?
o A mix of different types above?
• What data did you use?
NOTE: YOU ARE NOT INTERVIEWING PEOPLE IN THIS PROJECT. DATA WILL BE EXISTING DATA OR STATISTICS!
*I want to see some existing data or statistics.
• Examples of sources of existing data or statistics (see also hyperlinks in PowerPoint slides on “Using Available Data”)
Link to the General Social Survey (GSS) 1972-2018
You can run frequencies on multiple variables. There is even an option for running crosstabs or bivariate analysis if you want.
o U.S. Census (census.gov)
Statistical Abstract – US Census Table you picked for your final paper
• What type of information is recorded in the table? Don’t analyze the numbers yet, just describe what is available. What years are covered?
o FBI Uniform Crime Reports (available on the FBI website)
o FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports
o National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (bjs.gov)
o Browse the web to see if there are organizations that publish any numbers or statistics on your topic.
• Where did you get the data?
• When were the data collected? What years, time-frame. Specify all this in your methods section.
• What are strengths and limitations of using the data you collected?
Results and Analysis (TIP: this should be one of the first tasks you complete in your research)
Statistically describe your variables using existing data or statistics.
o What are the numbers, recent trends, and statistics on your variables?
o Don’t simply rely on numbers cited in your journal articles. For at least one variable get existing data/statistics available from one agency or organization.
o When you refer to numbers and statistics, please provide some situating information. Don’t simply give me percentages or numbers without any information as to their origins.
o Do this for both dependent and independent variables:
o Section 1: Describing the dependent variable
o Section 2: Describing the independent variable
o Section 3: Discussing how independent and dependent variable MIGHT connect.
After, if you have time and if the data are available, conduct some bivariate analysis
However, given the challenges of accessing data, you won’t be able to account for every single aspect of your research question. It is perfectly acceptable to raise questions on the potential links between your variables in case the data are not available.
Discussion and Conclusion:
o Compare your analysis with existing findings and analyses from the literature review.
o Did you find similar results or not?
o Since this is a term paper and not a graduate thesis, most of you will likely raise questions more often than validating hypotheses. That is perfectly fine. Don’t worry if your data don’t explain everything. All I want to see is if you are able to get some data on your variables and discuss the potential links between the two in a structured and coherent research report.
o After you have discussed your results and findings, end with a conclusion outlining the following:
o Summary of findings and observations
o Highlight the key points of this paper
o What are the contributions of this paper?
o What are some limitations of this paper. Which aspects you did not cover would need scrutiny in the future and why?
o End with an opening on future research imperatives
o Provide bibliographical references of all material you used to produce the paper, including the data sources (e.g. hyperlinks to agencies and organizations from which you got the data and statistics).
o Don’t include references you did not read but that were cited by other authors.
o Normally the works cited should be referenced using either the American Psychological Association(APA) or the American Sociological Association (ASA) style. However, it is fine if you use a different referencing style as long as you stick to the same style. Don’t vary the format or style; be systematic.
Thank you for taking the course. I hope you learned new skills in conducting quantitative research methods. There are so many other topics we could have examined, but that we didn’t due to time and resource constraints. I had a wonderful time sharing my expertise and passion for research with you all.
REMINDER: TAKE A FEW MINUTES OF YOUR TIME TO FILL OUT THE COURSE EVALUATION ON MOODLE!