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GGR 271 Social Research Methods Assignment 2: Designing a Research Proposal Evaluation Weight: 25% Due date: 30 March 2015, at the beginning of regularly scheduled class (11am, Rm NF003) Late assignment submission: Assignment drop box, Geography Department Main Office, 5th Floor Sidney Smith Hall; Also submit soft copy via the link on Blackboard, No submissions will be accepted by email. Introduction The purpose of this assignment is to develop a research proposal based on a current social or geographical issue that you find interesting. The objective is to apply the theories learned in the course to address real life questions. The assignment will help students enhance skills to develop a specific research question, select an appropriate research design, sampling techniques, data collection strategies and the consideration of ethical issues that may arise based on the type of proposed research with an appropriate use of primary research method. Your assignment should be structured in paragraph and sentence format under general headings. You should not respond to each task in point form, but rather ensure that each is covered in your proposal under appropriate headings so that it is logical and easy to follow. Your assignment should be approximately 7 to 8 pages in length (12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced, pages numbers). Tasks: 1. Problem Definition (Approximately 1 page) i. Select a topic that interests you. You may read journal or newspaper or magazine article from the past year which covers a human geography or social science issue you feel raises questions for future research and pick that as you topic. ii. The topic might be fairly broad, you need to narrow it down and make is as specific as you can for future primary research. iii. Basedontheissueofinterestthatyouhaveidentified,definearesearch question for your proposed study? 1 2. LiteratureReview(approximately2Pages) i. ii. Identify and synthesize the findings from at least 5 peer reviewed academic articles dealing with the topic that you have chosen. In this section of your proposal show that the topic of your proposal is part of a larger academic literature. If you cannot find any academic articles dealing with your topic, it might mean that you have to change your topic to something that has been covered more in existing journals. The main intent with any literature review is to justify the research question as worthwhile to pursue, identify the gap that the proposed research intends to fill in and to explain how your research fits in with the theories, findings and methods that have already been developed. All of your arguments and claims must be substantiated. At the end of the literature review you should demonstrate how your research question will help fill the gap that you have identified in your topic of your choice. Do not simply list and summarize the articles that you have read. Research Methods: Research Design and use of other tools and techniques (Approximately 2 pages). 3. This is the most important section of your proposal. You should propose the tools and techniques that are doable in your context. You must specifically address the following points. i. Are you using qualitative or quantitative method? Why? (check your research question) ii. Identify and explain in detail the research design (eg. Experimental, longitudinal, cross sectional and case studies) that you plan to use. iii. Describe your sampling plan a. What is your population? b. What is your sampling frame? 2 c. Who are you planning to interview/survey/observation? Does your project focus on hard to-reach individuals, and if so explain what creative methods you would use to reach your target population? d. What is your sample size? How have you decided your sample size? e. Explain why the research design and methods you have selected will enable you to deliver accurate, reliable and valid results. Also briefly describe the strengths and limitations of your research method: can you generalize from your sample to a larger population? iv. Datacollection: Also important to address how you are going to collect data, who are you going to interview (if interviewing) and what types of questionnaire designs are you planning to use and why? For example, your data sources can be: i. Observation, surveys, focus groups, in-depth Interviews, Blogs on internet in the areas of your interests, interview transcripts posted online, Some primary data/census available at ‘Statistics-Canada’ website ( –can use them if relevant to your topic, Archival documents such as letter, diaries, autobiographies, websites, photographs, reports etc. v. Data analysis: How do you intend to analyze your data? Are you planning to use computer software or planning to code manually? 4. Timeline and budget: (Approximately 1 page) i. You should also include a timeline of research activities and a budget that you will be using in your proposed study. Since this assignment is meant to replicate the process of carrying out research as a student, it must be possible to carry out the primary data collection component of your proposed research project from a six month to 1 year period. ii. Your budget (eg. stamps; survey photocopies; long distance phone calls; local travel, stationaries, etc.) breakdown for any equipment or personnel is an estimation of the expenses that may accrue to complete this research. You can plan a budget that does not exceed $1000. You can present your tentative budget and timeline in a table format. 3 5. Research Ethics (Approximately 1 page) i) Detail any ethical issues that arise from the population that you intend to study and the method of research that you plan to use. ii) How would you manage the ethical issues that arise based on the type of study you propose? (eg. informed consent form, anonymity of respondents; compensation for participation, university research ethics approval, etc). References/Works Cited (not included in page count): i. You must have a ‘List of References’ page (in APA format) that lists all the sources from which you have drawn information to complete. Every time information (e.g., facts, statistics, ideas, and arguments) in your paper comes from another source, that source must be cited in the text where that information appears, and must also be listed in the ‘Reference List’ page. 6. 7. Appendices (not included in page count): You may have some appendices such as draft questionnaires and other information that are important to the context of the proposed research. You can attach them as appendices and number them in order of their use in the body of the proposal. i. Evaluation Criteria 1. Theoretical Understanding: Have you demonstrated that you understand the key concepts related to carrying out research in practice, and connected them to your specific topic of study. 2. Depth of Knowledge: Do you show a strong understanding of main concepts associated with research methods and data sources. In particular, do you demonstrate that you understand the connection between your chosen research question, and the selection of a research design and methods, sampling approach and ethical considerations? 3. Logical Flow: Does your submission present the material in a logical manner, using informative sentences rather than extensive summaries. 4. Writing Quality/Presentation: Is your assignment written with informative, interesting, well formulated sentences and paragraphs? Is your assignment presented in a professional manner (easy to read layout; accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar; 12 point font, double spaced, pages numbered)? 4