For this assignment, you need to
Write 1 page (double-space) about your topic and research question(s).
Try to be specific when describing your topic and research question(s).
Your research topic assignment should address the following.
What is the general topic you are interested in?
What is it about that topic in particular that interests you most?
What types of questions could you ask that will allow you to engage with the academic debate on your topic?
What do you expect will be the answer to your research question? (Your hypothesis)
Choosing a Topic to Research
This can be a difficult task.
Most often we are too broad or too narrow in our scope. For example, choosing gender as a topic is problematic because it’s too broad of a subject. However, studying the types of razors women use to shave is too narrow and doesn’t provide much sociological insight. Try to find something in the middle range. For instance, what are the differences in perception about the importance of shaving between men and women?
Pick a topic that is social in nature, that you are actually interested in, and that you will be able to ask informative questions about.
Choosing a topic that is infrequently studied is fine, but know that this could make your literature review more challenging.
Turning our ideas into reliable and valid measures.
Finding Ideas cont.
Where do we get ideas?
Our own curiosity
What you read or hear (media)
*Reminder: Avoid the impossible, dangerous, too broad or too narrow
Where do I start?
What are you interested in or curious about?
Past classes and books you’ve read
There are often questions raised you might be able to develop systematically.
Where do I start? cont.
Published academic research is a great source for ideas (articles vs. newspaper & magazines)
You can fill a gap in research (see the conclusions)
Secondary data (previous surveys/studies)
Look over their variables or questionnaires, what are they not asking?
They often are very large and overlook specific elements you can analyze
Use databases to refine your searches
Key words can guide you, narrow your focus
You need to frame your topic sociologically.
Examples of popular topics:
Examples of past topics
How multi-ethnic people choose to identify themselves.
Marijuana use and GPA
The use of study drugs like Adderall
Drunk driving among students
Self-esteem among student athletes
Local and tourist attitudes about shopping
Work hours and GPA
Facebook use and academic performance
Student religiosity and University Major
Do Not Use These Examples!!!
Choose a Research Question
After settling on a topic, you must choose a general research question or hypothesis about that topic.
Frame a question that requires more than a simple “yes” or “no”.
Frame an answerable but debatable question.
I want to study… because I want to know…
Try to think about the relationships between different things: “What is the relationship between … and …?” Or, “If… Then…?”
Example research question: How does a person’s religious belief affect their willingness to discriminate against others?
Example hypothesis: Higher levels of religious belief within individuals will lead to a greater willingness to discriminate against others.
Relationship between two (or more) variables.
How to Frame a Sociological Questio
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