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Discuss the general principles of writing a research report.

I. Program and Course Learning Objectives:

1. Develop proficiency in the use of statistics for personal research purposes and for the comprehensive understanding of professional journals;

2. Apply statistical skills to conduct data analysis using secondary data.

II. Outcomes Assessment:

To fulfill the requirements of the outcomes assessment course of Research Methods II, students are required to apply statistical skills to conduct data analysis using secondary data with SPSS. A Research Report is designed to help students meeting these goals. Successful completion of the report is an indicator of competence in program and course-specific learning goals.

III. Research Report Guidelines:

A Research Report is an organized presentation of the research project, which should present research questions, relevant literature, key findings, and the limitations of the study. This handout will discuss the general principles of writing a research report.

A research report shows how you conducted a research project and what you found. It is a discussion in which you lay out the nature of the problem (research question[s]) of your research project, show why it is important by examining what other researchers have done in this area, describe your hypothesis that assisted in answering your theoretical question(s), and explain how you tested these hypotheses by describing your data collection (e.g., secondary data) and methods of analysis (e.g., chi-square test of independence), and finally the findings and limitations of the study.

Your Research Report should include the following sections and their subtitles (see Chapter 9 in Sweet and Grace-Martin 2012).

• TITLE

The title should be a concise description of your research report. On the title page you should also include your name, academic department, course number, and the submission date.

• ABSTRACT (about 1 paragraph on the second page of your report)

This is a summary of your research report that includes information on the topic, the research problem, and the basic findings. You should write the Abstract after you complete your research report.

• INTRODUCTION (about 1 page)

Introduce your research topic. Give a succinct statement of the main theoretical problem that your research will address. “The introduction is designed only to open the question, not to answer it” (Sweet and Grace-Martin, 2012: 218).

-What is your topic?

-What is your research question(s)?

-Why is it important?

• LITERATURE REVIEW (about 1 page)

Overview of the scholarly literature that has addressed this topic to date. Students are required to use at least THREE scholarly sources in the literature review. Discuss background studies and research that you have done to prepare for this report.

-What others have found regarding your research?

-Discuss the significance of your research. Why do you want to conduct this project if the research has already been done? Discuss how your study would contribute to a better understanding of the issue.

While the substance of your literature review is most important, a polished professional presentation style will only enhance it. Include the full reference to each article in a standard format in alphabetical order by author’s last name on a separate sheet at the end of your paper.

Note: Students are required to use the ASA style of author’s last name; year of publication and page number in parentheses for citations in the text, which eliminates the need for footnotes and endnotes. On-line sources should be used with caution, and, if used, should be cited appropriately (see ASA Style Guide posted on the Blackboard). If you do not use citations you are plagiarizing. If you plagiarize you will receive a failing grade in the course. Points are to be taken off if you do not use the ASA citation format.

• DATA AND METHODS (1-2 pages)

o A brief discussion of the data (GSS08 or STATS10), which may be found in the Preface of Sweet and Grace-Martin (2012).

o Research Design

-What is your hypothesis?

-Name and describe the variables that address your research question

-What is the dependent variable?

-What are the independent variables?

• FINDINGS (2-3 pages)

Report on the summary of results in relation to your data. One of the best ways to organize the findings section is to discuss results in relation to hypothesis.

-Summarize your data using frequency tables, charts etc., to show data distribution.

-What strategy do you adopt in analysis of association between dependent and independent variables (e.g., chi square test of independence) and why?

-What are your results? Do you reject or fail to reject your hypothesis for each test of independence? Why?

Present all tables, figures, and charts. If you can incorporate the tables in the body of your text, please do so. Remember to label and title all tables and figures. Tables and figures must be interpreted with a brief discussion. Go beyond the comment “the association between the two variables is statistically significant” and explain what that means!

• CONCLUSION (1-2 pages)

-What do you conclude from findings in relation to your research hypothesis?

-What patterns do you see?

-How do you make sense of your findings in relation to your research question?

-What are the limitations of your analysis?

-If you were to do your study again, what would you do differently?

Note: Be very reflective about the implications of your results. To do this effectively, you need to give yourself a day or two and really think about what you have found by focusing on the results without looking at tables. Then, write this portion of the report. You should be answering the question: what do your results mean as part of the bigger sociological picture? [This is really hard to do especially at the end of the semester when you have a bunch of different things due at once. However, it can mean the difference between an outstanding report and a mediocre one.]

• REFERENCES

The report requires a list of references at the end of your report. Only include references you used in the report. References should follow the ASA citation format in alphabetical order.

Note: Include a copy of the SPSS output printouts.

References:

Johanna M. Badagliacco. 1997. “Sociological Research Methods I,” pp. 20-31, in Kevin P.

Mulvey (ed.) Research Methods Courses: Syllabi, Assignments, and Projects. Washington, D. C.: American Sociological Association.

Sweet, Stephen A. and Karen Grace-Martin. 2012. Data Analysis with SPSS: A first Course in

Applied Statistics. 4th Edition. NJ: Pearson Higher Education.

Pyrczak, Fred and Randall . Bruce. 2011. Writing Empirical Research Reports. 7th Edition.

CA: Pyrczak Publishing.

I HAVE INCLUDED AN EXAMPLE PAPER TO GO BY.

The paper will use STATES10 not GSS08.

Hypothesis: Substance abuse is more common among low income households.

Variables utilizing STATES10:

HTH503 – Adult per capita beer consumption:2007

HTH 507- Adult per capita distilled spirits consumption

HTH 515-b Percent of population who are illicit drug users: 2007

INCLUDE CHARTS OF DATA


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