LENGTH AND FORMAT: Maximum 3-4 pages, typed, double spaced, including references.
CITATION FORMAT: APA format for citation of sources. APA citation information can be found at http://www.apastyle.org
PROPOSAL FORMAT: Your final proposal must have the following sections clearly identified with headings. All proposals start with Part 1 (Research Question) followed by Part 2 (Justification), and end with Part 6 (References). The order of the Provisional Answer, Related Questions and Methods sections can be modified to suit the nature of the proposal. The order below is a good baseline from which to start and then modify if necessary.
1. Research question (Introduction and Problem)
Here you state your research question. Addressing this question is the central goal of your research proposal and all subsequent thoughts in the proposal are related to this question (if it’s not related in some way, it does not belong in the proposal). NOTE: The most common problem in student research questions is that they are too broad. Think of research like a puzzle. You want to know how to understand the whole puzzle, but in this proposal you are just going to investigate a small part of the puzzle. This is a start in understanding the whole puzzle, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, it is manageable because it is focused.
2. Justification (Literature Review)
This section contains academic justification or reason for doing the research. An academic justification is a reason why the question—and your answer to it—might be important to other sociologists. You will have to read what other sociologists (academic journals) have said about your question in order for you to identify your academic justification.
3. Provisional Answer (Research Questions)
Here is where you develop your provisional answer to the question. This is often called a thesis, hypothesis, research questions or objectives. The answer you develop evolves out of reading what other scholars have said about your question (or similar questions), and how you think your answer might be similar or different to those answers. Thus it is a continuation of the discussion you developed in the Justification section above.
4. Related questions
These are the subset of questions that you need to answer in order to answer your research question. To answer your research question (no matter how narrow and focused) you will have to answer a set of other even more specific questions. Figuring out what these questions are will help you devise your methods needed for Part 5 below.
A method is a clear and systematic statement of the sequence of steps you will take to answer your research question (and all related questions). This includes how you will find your evidence (data), the population (sample), the instruments (questionnaires, surveys, observations, etc) and how you will analyze that evidence to show it can be used to answer (confirm or reject) your question.
List the sources you have used to devise your question, related questions, method, and provisional answer. Use American Sociological Review (ASR) or American Psychological Association (APA) citation format.
ALL SOURCES NEED TO BE EMPIRICAL AND/OR PEER REVIEWED.
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