RESEARCH METHODS, Soci 310/1AA
ASSIGNMENT: RESEARCH PROPOSAL
TOPIC CHOSEN: Does being homosexual affect an individual’s chances of getting a job in North American societies?
Weight: This assignment is worth 30% of your final grade.
Length: 10 double-spaced, typed pages (maximum)
Electronic copies will not be accepted.
Cover page: Your first page or your title page should include: Your full name, student number, course number and course section.
This assignment has a few components. It is important that you read the following information carefully, and incorporate all the different elements required as part of your final �product�.
The goal of this assignment is to write up a detailed research proposal. Accordingly, the assignment requires you to:
1. Formulate a research question
2. Write up a literature review on your question
3. Formulate the design of your research
1. Formulate a research question:
I want you to come up with a question that interests you. Make sure your question is a sociological one. While going over your question with me is not mandatory, I strongly encourage you to talk to me about it. Making sure that you are on the right track is important at this stage. Please come and see me during my office hours, or talk to me after class. Emailing me your question is not the most efficient or useful way to proceed to ascertain that you have a good question.
If you are not sure what to write your paper on, you can always start by thinking about what your favorite sociology class, lecture and/or reading was/were.
2. Write up your literature review:
For the review portion of your assignment, you will need to consult a minimum of five scholarly sources/works on your question.
Your sources could be articles from scholarly journals, chapters from edited and/or books etc.
Also, for the purposes of this assignment, you should be looking to find articles, books etc. that present/discuss empirical research done by the authors themselves. Hence, articles that review an area in sociology or purely theoretical pieces are not useful sources for this assignment and should not be used.
Your discussion of these different sources should focus on:
– sociological paradigm(s) they represent/adopt
– research design and data collection technique(s) the researcher(s) used
– main findings/arguments of the works
What you are aiming at here is a synthesis of these works. They all will be focusing on the same question, but how do they approach the question? Are there any differences and similarities between these sources, their main arguments? Etc. Hence, your review should not be a summary of each article. Rather, it should point out the differences, similarities etc. between them. Your discussion of these sources should also include some of the strengths and weaknesses that you could identify of these sources (in terms of their research methodology, the quality of the evidence presented etc.).
Writing up a literature review often, and indeed it should, forces the researcher to have a much closer look into his/her initial research question. As a result, and having read all your sources you could, for example, come to the conclusion that your question needs to be reformulated slightly so that you can address a gap in the literature that you didn�t know existed before you looked at your sources. Reformulation of your question at this stage is perfectly fine. If you do slightly change your question, in the paper you should tell me why you did so and what your final question is.
3. Formulate your research design
This is the last bit. Now that you have your question in hand, and have an idea as to what others have done with this research question (based on your mini literature review), I want you to come up with your own research design.
This portion of the assignment should cover all the pertinent issues of research design: what is your unit of analysis? What kind of sampling technique would best suited for your purposes? What is the research method that you would utilize? Would this be a longitudinal study? Or cross-sectional? How would you operationalize your concepts, variables? Etc. So, essentially, you are thinking: Before I start collecting my data, what are the important decisions I need to make, issues I have to look into etc.
Of course, depending on the research method(s) that you think best fits in with your proposed research, the issues you need to discuss will differ. The best way to make sure that you have all the pertinent information as part of your discussion is to consult the materials we covered on research design, conceptualization and operationalization as well as our discussion on the relevant method (i.e. surveys, interviews, fieldwork, experiments etc.).
Finally, please remember that your discussion should include not only what you are going to do, but why you think this is the best way of doing it given your research question. For example, if you think snowball sampling is the best way to sample, you should tell me why.
Your paper should have an introduction and a conclusion. A good introduction is a guide to the reader �charting out what she should expect. Apart from this one basic rule it is up to you how to structure the paper. If you want to divide your paper into different sections for example, that would be perfectly fine.
In your paper you must use citations, and must use them properly. Make sure your citations include the relevant page numbers in each case.
Please remember that failing to cite your sources properly is considered plagiarism which is a breach of academic integrity. For any questions you might have on academic integrity please go to:
You can use any legitimate, scholarly citation style of your choice such as Chicago, MLA, APA, Harvard etc. If you are not familiar with citation styles, please consult our library�s website �especially the page Susie Brier has prepared. You will find it an excellent source.
Please make sure to include full bibliographic information for all the sources you use in your paper. Again, your bibliography should be formatted based on a particular citation style. If you used MLA in your main text, make sure that you are consistent, and that you use the same style to prepare your bibliography.