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Research Question(s), Purpose Statement, and Literature Review
WHAT YOU ARE TO DO FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT:
Select two extremist groups that will form the basis of your comparative case study. Any two groups of your choice will work. Submit your choices to your instructor in a course message for approval by the end of Week 1. Note: These first 3 stages are also included in the Research Paper instructions with more detail as to what ethnography and a case study involves. You may refer to that document in the Assignments section for details. Completion of the research study question(s), purpose statement, and literature review are paramount for you having success on the final research paper.
Begin gathering resources for your study. There are six types of data collected in case studies:
2. Archival records.
4. Direct observation.
5. Participant observation.
You may or may not have the opportunity for interviews, direct observation, or participant observation. If you do then that is terrific. You will have the opportunity to forensically research documents, archival records, and artifacts through the online library and open source of the Internet. Further down in these assignment instructions I have included for your benefit some description of various types of sources used in research. The key for success will be in your ensuring the validity of the sources you use. The world is literally at your fingertips.
Complete the research study question(s), purpose statement, and literature review by the due date in the Syllabus, which is the end of Week 2. Completion of these areas helps to firmly set the parameters of your study and will greatly assist you in its final composition. You are being asked to compare, contrast, and evaluate the past and present attempts to counter the extremism practiced by two different extremist groups. In order to do that, you must learn and understand the organizational culture and composition of the selected groups. Ask yourself, what would I like to know about them? How are they alike? How are they different? Why? What makes them who they are? Hint: do some Internet exploration on qualitative research.
Final Stage (Assignment Components):
Prepare this assignment for submission to include at a minimum the following components:
1) Title Page of the Paper: The title of your paper should be brief but should adequately inform the reader of your general topic and the specific focus of your research. Keywords relating to parameters, population, and other specifics are useful. ALWAYS use a Title Page for graduate work! Your title page will include the title, name, course name and number, and Professor’s Name.
2) Purpose Statement: The purpose statement orients the reader to the central intent of the study and from it all other aspects of the research project follow. While there are a number of differing formats for purpose statements, in general the statement should present the central controlling idea in the study, focus on the central issue or “puzzle” under study. The purpose statement should be a concise paragraph that describes the intent of the study, specifically addresses the reason for conducting the study, and reflects the research questions. Begin the purpose statement with a succinct sentence that indicates the study method and overarching goal. “The purpose of this [quantitative, qualitative] study is to… (describe the study goal that directly reflects and encompasses the research questions). Follow with a brief, but clear overview of how, with what instruments/data, with whom and where (as applicable). This information will be presented in greater detail under the Research Method heading within your final research paper.
3) Research Question(s): Present here the specific research question(s) which will be addressed in the study.
Crafting a Research Question
The Research Question serves two purposes: (1) it determines where and what kind of research the writer will be looking for and (2) it identifies the specific objectives the study or paper will address. Therefore, the writer must first identify the type of study — Qualitative, Quantitative, or Mixed — before the Research Question is crafted. For our purposes in this course we will be using Qualitative Study Research Questions. I felt as a learning opportunity and for context I would also expose you to what comprises the basis for Quantitative and Mixed Method Study Research Questions:
Qualitative Study: A Qualitative study seeks to learn why or how, so the writer’s research must be directed at determining the why and how of the research topic. Therefore, when crafting a Research Question for a Qualitative study, the writer will need to ask a why or how question about the topic. For example: How did the Ku Klux Klan develop its organizational handbook the Kloren and why is it important to the functioning of the group? The sources needed for qualitative research typically include print and Internet texts (written words), audio and visual media, or more direct involved methods such as the participant observer or interview approaches.
Quantitative Study: A Quantitative study seeks to learn what, where, or when, so the writer’s research must be directed at determining the what, where, or when of the research topic. Therefore, when crafting a Research Question for a Quantitative study, the writer will need to ask a what, where, or when question about the topic. For example: Where should the company market its new product? Unlike a Qualitative study, a Quantitative study is mathematical analysis of the research topic, so the writer’s research will consist of numbers and statistics.
Quantitative Studies also fall into two categories: (a) Correlational Studies and (b) Experimental Studies:
A Quantitative-Correlational study is non-experimental, requiring the writer to research relationships without manipulating or randomly selecting the subjects of the research. The Research Question for a Quantitative-Correlational study may look like this: What is the relationship between long distance commuters and eating disorders?
A Quantitative-Experimental study is experimental in that it requires the writer to manipulate and randomly select the subjects of the research. The Research Question for a Quantitative-Experimental study may look like this: Does the consumption of fast food lead to eating disorders?
Mixed Studies: A Mixed Method study integrates both Qualitative and Quantitative studies, so the writer’s research must be directed at determining the why or how and the what, where, or when of the research topic. Therefore, the writer will need to craft a Research Question for each study required for the assignment. Note: A typical mixed method study may be expected to have between 1 to 6 Research Questions.
Once the writer has determined the type of study to be used and the specific objectives the paper will address, the writer must also consider whether the Research Question passes the ? so what’ test. The ? so what’ test means the writer must construct evidence to convince the audience why the research is expected to add new or useful knowledge to the literature. In short, is the Research Question worth asking? Also, the Research Question must also be interesting to grab the audience’s attention. The writer who personally finds an interesting Research Question will serve two purposes: getting the attention of the targeted audience and more consistently communicating that interest throughout the research project.
4) Literature Review: In the literature review, you will need to analyze critically a segment of a published body of knowledge through summary, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature, and theoretical articles. Your literature review must contain a minimum of 6 reference sources with at least 2 of them being peer-reviewed journals. Honestly, for a substantive research paper I would expect more research sources than just 6, however, it is a start.
The format of a review of literature may vary from discipline to discipline and from assignment to assignment. A review may be a self-contained unit — an end in itself — or a preface to and rationale for engaging in primary research. A review is a required part of grant and research proposals and often a chapter in theses and dissertations.
Writing the introduction, you should:
Define or identify the general topic, issue, or area of concern, thus providing an appropriate context for reviewing the literature. Point out overall trends in what has been published about the topic; or conflicts in theory, methodology, evidence, and conclusions; or gaps in research and scholarship; or a single problem or new perspective of immediate interest. Establish the writer’s reason (point of view) for reviewing the literature; explain the criteria to be used in analyzing and comparing literature and the organization of the review (sequence); and, when necessary, state why certain literature is or is not included (scope).
Writing the body, you should:
Group research studies and other types of literature (reviews, theoretical articles, case studies, etc.) according to common denominators such as qualitative versus quantitative approaches, conclusions of authors, specific purpose or objective, chronology, etc. Summarize individual studies or articles with as much or as little detail as each merits according to its comparative importance in the literature, remembering that space (length) denotes significance. Provide the reader with strong “umbrella” sentences at beginnings of paragraphs, “signposts” throughout, and brief “so what” summary sentences at intermediate points in the review to aid in understanding comparisons and analyses.
Writing the conclusion, you should:
Summarize major contributions of significant studies and articles to the body of knowledge under review, maintaining the focus established in the introduction. Evaluate the current “state of the art” for the body of knowledge reviewed, pointing out major methodological flaws or gaps in research, inconsistencies in theory and findings, and areas or issues pertinent to future study. Conclude by providing some insight into the relationship between the central topic of the literature review and a larger area of study such as a discipline, a scientific endeavor, or a profession.
Besides enlarging your knowledge about the topic, writing a literature review lets you gain and demonstrate skills in two areas:
Information Seeking: the ability to scan the literature efficiently, using manual or computerized methods, to identify a set of useful articles and books
Critical Appraisal: the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies.
A literature review must do these things:
1. be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing
2. synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known
3. identify areas of controversy in the literature
4. formulate questions that need further research
Ask yourself questions like these:
What is the specific thesis, problem, or research question that my literature review helps to define?
What type of literature review am I conducting? Am I looking at issues of theory? methodology? policy? quantitative research (e.g. on the effectiveness of a new procedure)? qualitative research (e.g., studies )?
What is the scope of my literature review? What types of publications am I using (e.g., journals, books, government documents, popular media)? What discipline am I working in (e.g., nursing psychology, sociology, medicine)?
How good was my information seeking? Has my search been wide enough to ensure I’ve found all the relevant material? Has it been narrow enough to exclude irrelevant material? Is the number of sources I’ve used appropriate for the length of my paper?
Have I critically analysed the literature I use? Do I follow through a set of concepts and questions, comparing items to each other in the ways they deal with them? Instead of just listing and summarizing items, do I assess them, discussing strengths and weaknesses?
Have I cited and discussed studies contrary to my perspective?
Will the reader find my literature review relevant, appropriate, and useful?
Ask yourself questions like these about each book or article you include:
Has the author formulated a problem/issue?
Is it clearly defined? Is its significance (scope, severity, relevance) clearly established?
Could the problem have been approached more effectively from another perspective?
What is the author’s research orientation (e.g., interpretive, critical science, combination)?
What is the author’s theoretical framework (e.g., psychological, developmental, feminist)?
What is the relationship between the theoretical and research perspectives?
Has the author evaluated the literature relevant to the problem/issue? Does the author include literature taking positions she or he does not agree with?
In a research study, how good are the basic components of the study design (e.g., population, intervention, outcome)? How accurate and valid are the measurements? Is the analysis of the data accurate and relevant to the research question? Are the conclusions validly based upon the data and analysis?
In material written for a popular readership, does the author use appeals to emotion, one-sided examples, or rhetorically-charged language and tone? Is there an objective basis to the reasoning, or is the author merely “proving” what he or she already believes?
How does the author structure the argument? Can you “deconstruct” the flow of the argument to see whether or where it breaks down logically (e.g., in establishing cause-effect relationships)?
In what ways does this book or article contribute to our understanding of the problem under study, and in what ways is it useful for practice? What are the strengths and limitations?
How does this book or article relate to the specific thesis or question I am developing?
Important Final Notes on the Literature Review:
A literature review is a piece of discursive prose, not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another. It’s usually a bad sign to see every paragraph beginning with the name of a researcher. Instead, organize the literature review into sections that present themes or identify trends, including relevant theory. You are not trying to list all the material published, but to synthesize and evaluate it according to the guiding concept of your thesis or research question.
How Your Assignment Will Be Evaluated
STYLE AND CONVENTION:
All written submissions should be in a font and page set-up that is described below. Additionally, a rubric will be used to grade your paper that is posted in a link at the beginning of this assignment and below for your additional convenience. It shows you how I subdivide the criteria for grading the various components of your paper. The rubric is a requirement of the university.
• Typewritten in double-spaced format and submitted inside the electronic classroom within the correct Assignments Forum folder (unless classroom access is not possible and other arrangements have been approved by the instructor).
• Times New Roman style in 12-point font.
• Page margins Top, Bottom, Left Side and Right Side = 1 inch, with reasonable accommodation being made for special situations and online submission variances.
• Include a completed title page in line with Turabian format as the first page of your paper.
• Complete an appropriate page header with page number for each page.
• Papers are required to be written in the parenthetical citation and reference list style established by Kate L. Turabian, in which case students should follow the guidelines set forth in A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations ( 7th ed). Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press format. Specifically refer to sections 18 and 19 in the manual from p. 216 through p. 280.
• Points will be deducted for the use of Wikipedia or encyclopedic type sources. It is highly advised to utilize: books, peer reviewed journals, articles, archived documents, etc. (may be electronic of course and the A Manual for Writers of Research Papers lists all the types of possible resources and reference formats, hint…hint), and valid open source web sites (use caution with these due to validity concerns).
• Your literature review must contain a minimum of 6 reference sources with at least 2 of them being peer-reviewed journals.
• Remember you are a prestigious Graduate Student and expectations are high for quality work! All papers are submitted to Turn It In for validation.
• I have a saying and it goes like this: I do not give students grades they earn them; however, I will give students the grades they earn. I think you know what I mean.
• Above all…please have fun and learn, learn, learn with this endeavor.
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