Research Project Paper Guidelines
INTRODUCTION/LITERATURE REVIEW (approximately 35% of overall length)
• An introduction states the general topic of study, its importance, the purposes of study, and the scope or outline of the paper.
o The purposes of study explain what the study hopes to achieve. The purposes should be written as statements. Common research purposes are exploration, description, and explanation.
• A literature review highlights key related findings by others, with a review of the major related literature (e.g., what is known about the topic, how the problem came to have significance, what other areas in the discipline the problem links to, why the problem has not been addressed by others, or, how you are adapting, building on, or replicating a study and why).
AIMS/OBJECTIVES/RESEARCH QUESTIONS/HYPOTHESES (approximately 5% of overall length)
• At the end of literature review, the purposes of study appear again but in a more specific form. Study purposes can be expressed as aims, objectives, research questions, or hypotheses. This should flow from the literature review. In a quantitative study, research questions or hypotheses are clearly specified and these are foci of analyses.
• Aims: What you want to find out – e.g. why you are actually doing the research.
• Objectives: Specific things you will actually achieve which take you some way towards the aim.
• Research questions: A series of questions that the study is hoping to answer (should be in a question format). Example research questions are:
o What are general attitudes held by men toward women?
o To what extent do males hold perceptions or attitudes that support violence against females?
o Are these attitudes related to violence or sexual aggression toward women
• Hypotheses: A hypothesis is a statement asserting a relationship between variables or a proposed explanation about a phenomenon (note that hypotheses should be in a statement format). Example hypotheses are:
o General attitudes toward women are positively correlated with attitude toward sexual violence against women.
o Compared to men, women have more negative attitudes toward sexual violence against women.
o Men and women are not different on their attitudes toward sexual violence against women.
METHODS (approximately 10% of overall length)
• Data and Sample: What dataset are you using? What is your sample (including sample size)?
• Measures: What variables are you using and how are they coded?
• Analytic Strategy: What statistical tests are you applying to answer each research question? Describe the statistical and analytic procedures that you employed to answer your research questions/hypotheses. e.g. descriptive statistics, statistical tests based on variables’ levels of measurement
• The idea of this section is to be brief but specific about how you are going to carry out the research.
RESULTS (approximately 10% of overall length)
• A description of the major findings and will include important tables, charts, and figures, as well as appropriate statistical values of the test procedures you specified in the methodology section.
• **IMPORTANT!! – Your results section is DESCRIPTIVE in nature. Here you are simply presenting the results not interpreting them. Interpretation will be left for the discussion section of the study. You will receive more clarification around later in the semester.
DISCUSSION (approximately 35% of overall length)
• The discussion section of your study is to interpret the findings from the results section.
• First, you must indicate how your research has addressed the questions/hypotheses that were presented in your study.
• Next, you must provide context for your results by interpreting them and relating them back to your literature review. How do your findings fit in with previous research done in your area of study? Are your results consistent or contradictory to other studies found in the literature? You must provide explanations as to why or why not. These explanations may be methodological or they may be theoretical.
• What are the limitations to your research?
• Implications and suggestions for future research, policy, and/or practice.
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