Process of a Research Project

Requirements of the Senior Project

Students will create a sociological study, formulate a problem statement and a research question, and test a hypothesis (or hypotheses) that arises from that question. Research projects will utilize a methodology appropriate for the study; methods may be quantitative or qualitative in nature, or a combination of the two. Social theories will be integrated in the project. The final manuscript will be organized into a five-chapters. Final projects are typically 20-30 pages, excluding preliminary pages, references, and any appendices, but may be longer.

Section 1: Organization of Contents Preliminary Pages:

The following preliminary pages precede the text body in this order:
■ title page
■ table of contents
■ list of tables (if appropriate)
■ list of illustrations (charts, graphs, figures) (if appropriate)
■ list of symbols (if appropriate)
■ abstract

Following the preliminary pages, the project is organized in the following order:
■ text (chapters of the manuscript)
■ endnotes
■ appendixes (if appropriate)
■ references

Section 2: Descriptions of Sections The Title Page:

All Senior Projects must carry the following information on the title page:

A Research Project Presented to the Faculty of University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Sociology Refer to sample page (Appendix A) in back.

Your name and date should not appear on this page.
Table of Contents (TOC):
The table of contents is designed for the convenience of the reader. It should include the acknowledgment page, abstract, list of tables, list of illustrations, list of abbreviations or symbols, appendices, and references as well as the major sections in the text. Do not list the “Title Page” or “Table of Contents” in the table of contents.
Please note the following:

■ you must have dot leaders between the end of a heading and its page number
■ headings in the table of contents should appear as they do in the text List of Tables: The term “table” applies to numerical and statistical data set in vertical or horizontal alignment. If there are tables in your text/appendix, a list of tables must be included.
The “List of Tables” is on a page by itself and arranged in the same general format as the Table of Contents. Type the table numbers in Arabic numerals, and the titles in capital and small letters, with period leaders extending from the last letter of the title to the page number. Please note:
■ Titles may be shorter than they appear in the text as long as they are not misleading. Titles may not be longer than the titles in the text.
■ Numbering of tables. You have two options: (a) You may begin by numbering the first table with the numeral “1” and continue to number your tables consecutively throughout the entire manuscript; or (b) you may number the first table in each chapter with the numeral “1” and continue to number your tables consecutively within each chapter. For example, if chapter four has three tables and chapter five has three tables, the numbering would be as follows: 4.1, 4.2, 4.3; 5.1, 5.2, 5.3.
■ Single space within titles which are longer than one line, but double space between each entry.
5 List of Illustrations (charts, graphs, figures):

This list is also placed on a page by itself and arranged in the same general format as the Table of Contents. Designate figure numbers with Arabic numerals, and plate numbers, if any, with capital Roman numerals. If the project contains both figures and plates, arrange them on separate lists.
List of Symbols:

If symbols are needed in the text, a list should be provided to explain their definitions or meanings. The list should be placed on a separate page and included where specified by these instructions.

All abstracts must be double-spaced and the title should simply be ABSTRACT. The abstract can be no more than 350 words. The abstract should include a description of the research question or problem, a short description of the context for the research, and one or more of the major findings.
Text Body of Project:

The organization of the text varies somewhat with the subject matter. The project is divided into five chapters, each chapter titled and beginning on a new page. In general, the content of the five chapters include:
Chapter I: Introduction (already written; attached in doc labeled “Introduction”): The first chapter provides an overview of the project. The specific subsections of this chapter will vary, depending on the subject matter. In general, the first chapter should include the following information:

■ Introduction (of the Introduction): provide a brief history of the ideas and issues related to the research topic. This section should not be a review of the literature (though some information may be repeated in the literature review), but a description of the social, cultural, economic, political, and/or historical events leading up to this research.

■ Problem Statement: (PS)(written in doc labeled “Introduction”) this is the heart of the research project. This subsection of the introduction states the reason(s) why this research project is important. A good way to approach the Problem Statement is to address the following: Because of x and y, there is a problem in society (z); if only we knew more about z, things might be better. The research project should be designed to answer z, which is the research question.
■ Research Question or questions (RQ)(written in doc labeled “Introduction”): Arises from the Problem Statement. What is the question you want to answer after having considered the problem? List the component parts of the research question. Rarely is a problem in sociology one dimensional.
■ Research Hypothesis (RH)(written in doc labeled “Introduction”): based on the research question(s), what are the 6 expected outcomes for the research? Hypotheses are predictions about the answers to the research question. The research hypotheses are a critical element of the research project: they will guide the literature review; heavily influence the research methodology needed to obtain data that will either support or reject the hypotheses; and provide the focus for data analysis, discussion, conclusions, and recommendations. Hypotheses are most appropriate in quantitative research. One hypothesis is acceptable but projects often have two or three.
■ Two or more Social Theory Frameworks: (written in doc labeled “Introduction”) Name a minimum of two social theories (Conflict theory and Symbolic Interactionism) you have chosen for your analysis. Chapters II-V: These chapters each need an introductory paragraph, briefly explaining the purpose of the chapter and which restates the RQ and RH.

Chapter II: Literature Review and Social Theory Frameworks (two theories, minimum): The second chapter should not be confused with the Introduction in Chapter I.
■ Literature Review: The introduction provides a review of the topic, while the Literature Review summarizes what has been said about the topic. The Literature Review is not a series of book or journal article reports. A good literature review tells a story about the topic, using published works to support what is written. The chapter should be organized in such a way as to (a) bring together the most important writings about the research question in general, followed by (b) a closer examination of the writings related to the component parts detailed in the Problem Statement subsection of Chapter I. It is very helpful to the reader if the ideas are presented in the same order throughout the project. o This chapter will contain the greatest number of citations, so it is important that they be done correctly. Each citation must have a corresponding listing in an alphabetized Reference section at the end of the entire manuscript. A minimum of 10 SCHOLARLY reference sources are required for the Senior Project Literature Review; sources you use in your methodology do not count for the literature review. Typical projects have between 10-20 references in the Literature Review. Articles must be from peer reviewed academic and professional journals, academic books, government documents, official statistics, and published cases studies and are NOT newspaper and magazine articles (these can be used but do NOT count toward 10 scholarly source minimum). Unacceptable sources: Wikipedia and .com websites. Government websites will have .gov and academic will have .edu. o The Literature Review should not include data that will be used to answer the research question or test your research hypotheses. If the project is utilizing an analysis of published research to answer the research question, the Literature Review should provide the background and take the reader up to the point where those studies begin.
■ Social Theory Frameworks: At the end of your Literature Review, describe how the research relates to at least two theoretical frameworks, and provide a brief 7 overview of how these social theories relate to the research. Review your Soc 365 and Soc 375 materials and in Week One, Lecture 3: Review of Theoretical Frameworks. Chapter III: Methodology: This chapter describes how the data were collected that answered the research question and its component parts. It is important to utilize appropriate unobtrusive methods of data collection in order to be able to support or reject the research hypotheses. This chapter should begin with a description of the research design used in the project. Depending upon your project, you will typically have two or three sources of data that do not require you to study human subjects directly or obtain Institutional Research Board approval. (Your professor will go over this with you and approve your methodology.) A minimum of two sources of data is required.

Chapter III will most likely include the following subsections:
■ Setting: if important to the research, describe the time and place of data collection.
■ Description of the Subjects: depending on the type of data used in the project, this subsection can include either subjects involved in primary data collection (if you used observation method), or those described in published research studies.
■ Description of the Research Instrument(s): fully describe all questionnaires and tests, if appropriate. Include a copy of questionnaires in the Appendix.
■ Description of Variables: list and describe the dependent and independent variables that will be used to answer the research question or test the hypothesis/es. If appropriate, describe how concepts have been operationalized.
■ Definition of Terms: list definitions for only those terms which might be unfamiliar to the reader, especially those which can be considered terms of art and operational definitions.
■ Procedures: describe in full detail how data was collected. If different methods were used, each method must be described. This subsection should also include a description and rationale for any statistical procedures used to support or reject the research hypothesis or hypotheses. ■ Limitations: describe any limitations that may pose internal or external threats to validity and reliability. There are typically two types of limitations: those imposed by the researcher on the nature and scope of the research, and those that are related to a specific research method. Describe the (potential) effects the particular limitations may have on your research. Chapter IV: Results: Data & Analysis This chapter includes a presentation and analysis of the data. The tone of the chapter is purely objective, devoid of assumptions and interpretations.
■ Following a summary of the research data, Chapter IV should be organized in a manner consistent with the research hypotheses: first, present data related to 8 the first hypothesis; and second, analyze those data to determine whether the first hypothesis can be supported or rejected. Follow this sequence for each hypothesis.
■ Tables are an effective way to present quantitative data. Qualitative data should be summarized, as opposed to verbatim transcriptions. Label appropriately.

Chapter V: Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations This chapter has
■ A discussion of the research project, including the findings, interpretation of the results, and problems and/or limitations.
■ A conclusion: What did we find out? What did we learn?
■ Recommendations: What recommendations for changes in policy or practice, future research, or anything else that will direct solutions to the problem(s) that were the focus of the research. The social theory frameworks you identified in your introduction and Chapter two must be integrated into your final analysis. Endnotes: Endnotes supplement or amplify information in the text. They should be used sparingly: if the information is of central importance, it should be included in the text; if the information is irrelevant or nonessential, it should be excluded; however, if the information is tangential, and more fully develops an element of the text, endnotes may be appropriate.
■ Endnotes can be included at the end of each chapter or at the end of all manuscript. Appendix or Appendixes: The main purpose of the appendix (or appendixes) is (are) to provide detailed information that would be distracting if presented in the text. For example, a survey instrument or questionnaire, a data collection form, or a list of variables would be appropriate for placement in an appendix. References: Only those sources parenthetically cited in the chapters appear in the Reference section (and, conversely, every work in the Reference section must be cited parenthetically in the document). It is important to properly cite all references using the American Psychological Association (APA) parenthetical citation and reference system. Index: An index can be extremely useful, but also difficult to create. Consider including an index only if word processing software facilitates its creation.

Section 3: Formatting the Project
■ Style: The Sociology Program has adopted the style of the APA. While there are a number of style manuals available, all Senior Projects must conform to APA style as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (current edition). It is the responsibility of each student to make sure their project conforms to the proper style. Do not use running headers: these abbreviated titles are used for published materials. 9
■ Margins: Standardized margins are required on every page of 1 inch by 1 inch.
■ Line Spacing: Double spacing is required except where the style calls for single spacing (refer to APA Manual). Widows (the last line of a paragraph as the first line of a page) or orphans (a heading or the first line of a paragraph as the last line on a page) are not acceptable.
■ Pagination: With the exception of the title page, a number must appear on every page. Placement of page numbers must be consistent throughout, fit within the margins, and is continuous.
■ Punctuation, Spelling, and Grammar: Many common manuscript problems involve punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Proofread for such errors and typos and consider using the Writing Center if you need additional help. Use grammar and spell check but don’t rely on them.
■ Chapters: Each chapter must begin on a new page. Chapters should be numbered. Refer to the APA Style Manual for different styles of headings. Look at samples in Course Resources.
■ Illustrations: The purpose of illustrations (drawings, photographs, diagrams, maps, tables, plates) is to present information more clearly than can be done with words. Legends or titles should be self-explanatory, concise, and consistent in form. Refer to the APA Style Manual.
■ Tables: The term “table” applies to numerical and statistical data set in vertical and horizontal alignment. Tables over half a page in length should be placed on a separate page. Tables too wide to be accommodated on one page may be typed on two or more pages, pasted together, and either folded or reduced to page size by a suitable photographic process. Lengthy tables should be placed in the Appendix. Sources for tables are to be indicated by standard symbols (*, etc.) or lower-case letters (a, b, etc.) and are placed at the bottom of the table, not as a note or footnote.
■ Figures: The term “figure” refers to illustrations such as graphs, charts, diagrams, photographs, and maps, but not statistical data presented in tables. Refer to the APA Style Manual for the various styles.

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