The actual paper should be written in narrative form using APA format (i.e., full sentences, full paragraphs). This paper should be from 5 – 9 pages long. The paper should include each of the following sections. The sections should all begin with a bold-faced, centered heading.
1. Research question: In this section, you will tell me what your research question is. That is, what are you proposing to study?
a. Remember, that this is a survey project. Hence, you must create a research question that can be answered using a survey.
b. Remember that surveys are good at capturing opinions, perceptions, etc.
c. Some research questions will have independent and dependent variables (e.g., “Are UTEP students that were raised by drug using parents more likely to smoke marijuana?”; “Are former victims of crime more likely to own guns?”). Other research questions are exploratory and will not have independent and dependent variables (e.g., “How do UTEP students feel about gun control?”; How should sex offenders be treated after release from prison?”).
d. For questions with independent and dependent variables, you must state a hypothesis or hypotheses.
2. Population of interest: In this section you will tell me the population that you are interested in finding something out about? For instance, is it all Americans? Is it all Texans? All El Paso residents? All college students? Etc.
a. Remember that the population is the group that you are trying to find something about out. The sample is the group that you are actually surveying.
3. Units of analysis: In this section, you will tell me what units of analysis will your proposed study examine. Individuals, Groups, Social Organizations, or Social Artifacts?
4. Variables of interest: This section will likely be 1-3 pages long. Here you will tell me:
a. What variables you will be collecting data on. If you have independent and dependent variables, clearly identify them. Also identify any control variables in your study—that is, variables that may have some influence on your results. Common control variables include demographic ones such as age, race, gender, and social class.
b. The key part of this section is for you to provide conceptual definitions of your variables. Do not assume that I know how YOU conceptualize these variables. Provide a clear definition of each variable so that I know exactly how you do and do not define them.
c. You should also note which of the survey measures relate to your variables.
d. Example: “In the present study I define drug use as the use of an illicit drug such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, as well as the use of prescription drugs in a manner not prescribed or the use of prescription drugs prescribed to other individuals. Survey questions 7-15 are measures of this variable.”
5. Prior research/Rationale and Background: For this section, you must find four outside sources that cover either your proposed topic/research question or something related to it. You must then provide short reviews of this literature that are 1-2 paragraphs long.
a. The four sources must be academic/scholarly sources. Websites, popular magazines, blogs, vlogs, newspapers, etc. do not count. Articles from peer-reviewed journals and books are appropriate.
b. The book assigned for the course does not count as an outside source.
c. I recommend going to Google Scholar and typing in your topic as the search terms. Most of the sources that come up are acceptable for this assignment. If on campus, there will likely be hyperlinks to the materials to the right of the respective articles that will take to a webpage wherein you can download them. If off campus you can go to this webpage and download the UTEP VPN onto your computer. Then connect through the VPN and you will be able to gain access to sources just as if you were on campus.
6. Sampling strategy: In this section you will tell me what sampling strategy you are going to use.
a. State what sampling strategy are you going to use.
b. Describe the sampling method.
c. Describe why it is appropriate to use.
7. Threats to validity: Discuss any potential threats to validity that your study design may face.
a. State at least two threats to validity that may affect the results of your proposed study.
b. Define these threats to validity.
8. Ethical issues: Discuss any ethical issues the proposed study may face and how you are planning to eliminate and/or minimize them.
a. Describe one or more ethical issues you may have to consider.
b. Describe what measures you would include in the study to counter these ethical issues.