QUANTITATIVE TERM PAPER

 

Your term paper will consist of the analysis of publicly available quantitative data. You can either use the data that comes with the Sweet and Grace-Martin (2012) textbook or any other data that is available for public use, e.g., through the internet. For example, many publicly available data sets can be found at the ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research) web page at the University of Michigan. You can use ICPSR Direct <http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/> to download data directly from ICPSR, using either an on-campus computer or a Gatorlink dialup connection. You can download data from the General Social Survey directly at http://www.norc.org/GSS+Website/.

 

For your research paper, chose either one of the research projects listed in Sweet and Grace-Martin (2012), Chapter 10, or chose your own data set and research topic, following the suggestions for data analysis on p. 235 (Sweet and Grace-Martin, 2012). Design your research project to test AT LEAST three different hypotheses, using AT LEAST one dichotomous variable and two ratio or interval level variables. Include AT LEAST one hypothesis where both your dependent and your independent variable are measured at the interval level.

 

The final research paper will consist of a literature review and the analysis of the quantitative data (see Sweet and Grace-Martin, 2012, Chapter 9). It should be 15-25 pages long, excluding the title page, references, figures, and tables. Include AT LEAST eight references pertaining to the literature review. The paper is due on Tuesday, April 17, at 3 p.m.

 

I will grade the research paper according to the following criteria:

Form

 

-       Is the paper typed and double-spaced?

-       Is there a title page that includes the title, your name, and the course title?

-       Is the paper organized in a logical way (i.e. introduction, literature review, methods, results, and conclusion)?

-       Were headings and subheadings used?

-       Does the paper have 1-inch margins on the left, top, and bottom of the page and a 1.5-inch margin on the right side of the page?

-       Is the font size either 11 or 12?

-       Except for the title page, are all pages numbered?

-       Does the paper contain any grammar and spelling errors?

Content

 

1. Abstract

-          The abstract should include information about the research question, sample, results, and conclusions of the study.

-          It should be between 100 and 150 words long.

2. Introduction

-          Describe your research topic and question.

-          Describe why this research question is important.

-          Give an overview of your paper.

3. Literature review

-          Include a brief literature review, reporting previous findings that relate to your research topic and question. Explain how your paper contributes to past theoretical or empirical research or goes beyond prior work in that area.

4. Hypotheses

-          List at least three different testable hypotheses that are based on your literature review.

5. Method

-          Procedure: Describe exactly how the sample and the measures were collected.

-          Sample: Describe the sample (e.g., size, gender, age, and race composition).

-          Measures: Describe the variables used in the analyses in detail (i.e., question wording, range of scale, and description of categories). Describe in detail how scales or indices were created (i.e., list the number of items in each scale/index and give the wording of 2-3 items as examples; describe the range and categories of the scales of the individual items and report if some of the scales were reversed before the average or sum of all the items was calculated) and list Cronbach’s alpha values for the scales.

-          Analysis: Describe the analysis procedures.

6. Results

-          Univariate Analyses: Present and interpret means, medians, modes, minimum and maximum values, skewness, kurtosis, and standard deviations of all your variables. Describe if the variables are normally distributed or skewed. Use stem and leaf plots, box plots, histograms, pie charts, and/or bar charts to illustrate the results (one graph per variable).

-          Bivariate Analyses: Describe the results of crosstabulations, comparison of means, and/or bivariate correlations, depending on the variables’ level of measurement. Include at least one crosstabulation, one comparison of means, and one bivariate correlation in your analysis. Determine if differences between groups or correlations between variables are statistically significant and interpret the meaning of the results. If the result of the crosstabulation is statistically significant, interpret the direction and strength of the association. If the difference between groups is statistically significant, interpret the direction of the association. If the correlation is statistically significant, interpret the direction and strength of the association. Use bar charts, box plots, confidence intervals, and/or scatter plots to illustrate your results (one graph per association).

-          Multivariate Analyses: Describe the results of a bivariate OLS regression analysis first. Then add one or more independent variables to the model and describe the results of the multivariate OLS regression analysis and in comparison to the bivariate OLS regression analysis. Determine if the individual effects are statistically significant and explain why. Interpret the strength and direction of the individual effects based on their significance. Interpret adjusted R2. Report if there are any problems with multicollinearity in the multivariate regression analysis and why this might be the case. Include the SPSS output for the bivariate and multivariate regression analysis.

7. Conclusion

-          Present a short summary of your major findings and insights with regard to your original research question and hypotheses. Where your hypothesis supported or rejected?

-          How do those findings relate to past research? Do they confirm or contradict prior research?

-          List the limitations of your study.

-          Make suggestions for further research based on your findings and, if appropriate, recommendations for social policy and practice.

8. References

-          List all the articles and/or books that are cited in the paper, using APA or ASA format (a minimum of eight references).

 

Oral presentations of the research findings will be held on April 17. Oral presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes (I will keep time!). You will be assigned a specific time for your oral presentation, according to your research topic.

If you encounter any problems pertaining to this research project (choosing a topic, obtaining the data, analyzing the data, writing the research paper, etc.) come and talk to me.

Readings

 

Bernard, H. Russell. 2000. Social Research Methods. Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage (pp. 87-92).

 

Johnson, William A., Jr., Richard P. Retting, Gregory M. Scott, and Stephen M. Garrison. 2002. The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual. 3rd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

 

Lomand, Turner C. 2007. Social Science Research. A Cross Section of Journal Articles for Discussion and Evaluation, 5th Edition. Los Angeles, CA: Pyrczak (Appendix A).

 

Maimon, Elaine P., Janice H. Peritz, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. 2010. A Writer’s Resource. A Handbook for Writing and Research. 3rd Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

 

Pyrczak, Fred and Randall R. Bruce. 2000. Writing Empirical Research Reports. A Basic Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 3rd Ed. Los Angeles, CA: Pyrczak Publishing.

 

Sweet, Stephen A. and Karen Grace-Martin. 2012. Data Analysis with SPSS. A First Course in Applied Statistics, 4th Edition. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon (Ch. 9 & 10).

 

Methods II folder on the S-drive: APA6-Sample-Paper.pdf