Sociology 380-003 Fall 2016 R. Goodman

Assignment #1: Narrowed Research Question & Literature Review
Due Monday, September 19, 2016

This assignment is the first step in the research design process. The purpose is to develop a specific research question within the general topic you have chosen that you will focus on throughout the semester. You will also begin to engage the field of study on your topic to determine where and how your research fits into existing sociological inquiry (aka The Literature).

(1) Developing a Narrowed Research Question
(a) State your General Research Topic (chosen from our list)
(b) State your Narrowed research question and discuss the process of how you arrived at this question (using the discussion from lecture on creating/refining good research questions)
(c) Evaluate your narrowed question using our criteria from lecture:
(i) Feasibility (with regard to data availability, time, cost, access, etc.)
(ii) Analytical (aka, not Yes/No/Depends)
(iii) Social & Scientific Importance (aka, ?So What? Who Cares??)
(iv) Suitable (is it Sociology?)

(2) Literature Review
You will locate three articles from peer-reviewed Sociological journals (remember from our typology) on your specific topic of interest / research question that you believe will be useful as you develop your research design & thinking on the topic.

For each article, you will provide the following in your written assignment:
(a) The full citation of the article in proper ASA format.
(b) Restate the article?s research question
(c) Evaluate the article?s question (using our criteria from lecture)
(d) State the article?s findings (in your own words! Do not bloc-quote at any point in this review. I want to see how YOU understand the article!)
(e) Explain why this article is helpful in your exploration of the research topic

ASA Format for citations:
Author Last, First. Year. ?Article Title.? Journal Name. Volume (Issue): Pages.

Sack, Allen J. & Zeljan Suster. 2000. ?Soccer and Croatian Nationalism: A Prelude to War.? Journal of Sport & Social Issues. 24(3): 305-320.

for Group Discussion will result in a zero for the Group Discussion Exercise.

Sociology 380-003 Fall 2016 R. Goodman

Assignment #2: Constructing Concepts & Measures

This assignment will further develop our research question into a set of concepts and measures that will allow us to progress on toward our empirical observation of the social world. Complete all of the below processes (and all of the questions contained therein) in a step-by-step or outline (not essay) format.

(1) Restate your Narrowed, Refined Research Question
At this stage, you have feedback about your question. State your refined question as it currently stands and how it has improved or changed (if at all) since Assignment #1.

(2) Conceptualization
(a) From your research question, identify the Dependent Variable of your study.
(b) Conceptualize your Dependent variable by
(i) Provide two quality definitions from accepted, peer-reviewed, Sociological research (not the dictionary, not Wikipedia, or any such nonsense). Properly cite these articles according to the format below.

(ii) Synthesize, correct, elaborate, or in some other way refine or change these prior conceptualizations to create one, better conceptualization for your dependent variable.

(iii) Why is this new definition superior to that provided by the prior research (in (i) above)?

(3) Creating and Assessing Indicators
(a) From the conceptualization of your Dependent Variable above, create two measures of different types (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio, continuous). Include in this the categories that will be used for the measure (if categorical), and (if applicable) the values/rankings/scale associated with each category.

(b) Discuss what facets or characteristics of the concept each of these measures will capture.

(c) Assess the Validity of one of the above measures according to the 4 variants of validity (Face, Content, Criterion, & Construct).

(d) How would you perform each of the 5 reliability tests (Test-Retest, Inter-Item, Alternate Form, Inter-Coder) for each measure.

(e) How reliable and valid are your measures? How could you improve them? Be critical here. They aren’t perfect…

(4) Developing Hypotheses & Causation
(a) Given your dependent variable and research question, construct two potential hypotheses (plausible empirical relationships between an independent variable and your dependent variable).

(b) Are these positive or negative relationships?

(c) Evaluate these hypotheses based on the criteria of causation (Empirical association, Time-order, Non-spuriousness).

(d) Does your proposed research (as it currently stands) most likely fit with Nomothetic or Idiographic forms of causation? Explain why using the discussion re: types of causation, criteria.

ASA Format for citations:
Author Last, First. Year. ?Article Title.? Journal Name. Volume (Issue). Page-Page.

Sociology 380-003 Fall 2016 R. Goodman

Assignment #3: Sampling Procedures
Due Friday, October 7, 2016

At this stage in the research process, we have reviewed the pertinent literature on our topic of interest, constructed a feasible and important research question, and developed concepts, indicators, and hypotheses in order to attempt to test and empirically answer this question. Our next step(s) are the vital and logical continuation of the process: who/what are we going to study? Assume at this stage that you have access to any and all information you could possibly want…

Part I: Sampling

(1) Restate your research question. Any changes, amendments, etc., should be noted and explained.

(2) Based on your research question, determine both your Level of Analysis & Unit of Analysis.

(3) Based on the above, identify the Population for your study.

(4) Based on this population, determine if you will have access to (or can construct) a Sampling Frame. If yes, discuss in detail how you would construct or access this sampling frame. What information would you need? Where would you get that information? If a frame cannot be constructed, discuss why this is the case.

(5) Which Method of Sampling will you employ for this study? How large of a sample will you draw from your population? Why did you choose that sample size (N)?

(6) Why will you employ this method of sampling? In answering this, you should address why each of the other sampling methods are either not feasible or not the best option for your given population and question. What are the trade-offs in employing this method over the others that are available/possible (in other words, why is this the best available method)?

(6) Discuss the implications regarding Generalizability based on the Sample Size, Selection Bias, Representativeness, and the method of sampling you will employ.

Sociology 380 Fall 2016 R. Goodman

Assignment #4: Data Collection & Analysis
Due: Wednesday, November 16

At this stage, you are ready to determine how you are going to collect your data and what you are going to do with them once you have them. This is the last step in the research design process, and is crucial for determining how the project would move forward to the actual implementation phase.

Part I: Method of Data Collection

(1) State your final, narrowed research question. This is the question as a product of rounds of feedback & revision…it should be perfect now.

(2) Restate (from previous assignments) your unit of analysis, population, sampling method, and a ballpark ‘N’ of your study (the number of cases).

(3) Discuss ? IN DETAIL ? which method of data collection you feel is best suited for your research (experiment / quasi-experiment, survey, interview, observation & type, secondary data & type, archival data & type). You should be VERY specific here ? what kind of observations & where, what kind of archival information, for example. In this discussion you should relate your choice of data collection method to your research question, your hypotheses, your sampling method, your unit of analysis, your sample size (N), you logic of causation, etc.

(4) What are the advantages and disadvantages regarding your chosen method of data collection? Be specific & detailed in this discussion.

(5) Discuss why other methods of data collection are either (a) not feasible or (b) not preferred, and why.

Part II: Method of Analysis

(6) Discuss ? IN DETAIL ? which method of data analysis you will employ. This is more than just stating you will use quantitative, qualitative, evaluation, or comparative-historical analysis; this is a discussion of why this general method of analysis (and which specific method within these general methods, where appropriate) is preferred given your research question, sampling method and size, hypotheses, logic of causation, and method of data collection.

(7) What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method of analysis regarding breadth/depth of coverage, accessibility, generalizability? Be specific & detailed in this discussion.

(8) Discuss ? in detail – why other methods of analysis are either (a) not feasible or (b) not preferred, and why.

Sociology 380 Fall 2016 R. Goodman

Assignment #5: Ethical Concerns & Feasibility
Due: Monday, November 21

Lastly, you will discuss the overall ethical concerns with your Research Design and any potential obstacles regarding your carrying out of this research (should you actually attempt to do it)

Part I: Ethical Concerns

(1) Discuss any and all ethical concerns ? and how you will overcome those concerns ? at every step of your Research Design: in sampling, measurement (think here in terms of instrument design for surveys/interviews) data collection, data analysis, and reporting / publishing. Be clear, specific, and forthright about the concerns and how you can overcome them. Remember: you are submitting this design for approval to a committee of faculty and the IRB?they won?t be likely to miss anything.

Part II: Feasibility
(2) Up to now, we have assumed you have access to anything you want regarding sampling, data, and analysis. Now, think about any potential obstacles that may exist in your executing this Research Design, and how you may be able to overcome them specifically. Again, think deeply & honestly about this, in regards to: access to cases or data, ethical obstacles mentioned above, time constraints, cost constraints, availability of existing data, etc.

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