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Research Design Process for Social Scientific Research on Public Administration or Public Policy Top

Literature Review

The purpose of this project is to gain an understanding of the research design process so that you can undertake social scientific research in an appropriate manner.  For this paper, you are to complete a research paper that focuses on a public administration or public policy topic.   
The subject matter is up to you, but you need to start with a clearly defined research question.  Research questions focus on asking what factors explain a certain phenomenon.  The following are all examples of research questions: 
1.) What explains variation in crime rates across states? 
2.) What factors explain differences in voter turnout for municipal elections? 
3.) Why do some people support the legalization of marijuana and others do not? 
Once you have a properly stated research question, you can proceed with researching and writing the actual paper. 
Good research papers have structure.  Most include the following components: an introduction, a literature review, a section for the description of data and methods, a section for an analysis of the results of the study, and a conclusion where the implications of the research findings are discussed. 
Given the quick pace of this course (and more importantly since you are still learning statistical methods), I do not expect you to collect and analyze data for this project.  That is something you can do in later courses.  However, I do expect for you to be able to set up the research design for an investigation. 
Accordingly, this project should include the following components: 
? Introduction  
o Introduce the topic of the study to the reader, 
o Formally state your research question, and 
o Explain why the topic is worthy of study. 
? Literature Review 
o Research your chosen topic to see what other scholars have found vis-à-vis your research question (using books, academic articles, newspaper articles, etc.), and 
o Write a summary of what other researchers have found using appropriate citations. 
? Data and Methods  
o Find a source of data (secondary data) that can be used to answer your research question and describe it, or, if none are available, explain how you would collect the necessary data (e.g., create a survey, collect administrative data, etc.), 
o Clearly state what your units of analysis are (e.g., individuals, states, countries, etc.),  
o Formally state what your dependent variable is and how you intend to measure it, 
o Formally state what your independent variables are and how you intend to measure them, 
o Generate at least two (2) testable hypotheses, and 
o Explain what type of statistical analysis is appropriate for the data that you intend to use, and explain why. 
? Summary  
o Reflect on your research design by briefly summarizing the previous steps taken. 
o (In a formal research report, you would have sections for an analysis of your results and a formal conclusion.  However, since 
this is just a research design project, you do not have to worry about those sections here.)

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