Research Proposal Topic: What is a Research Proposal?
• A research proposal is a detailed plan or ‘blueprint’ for the intended study • Research proposal forms the backbone for the research and is the most important
step in the process of conducting research • describe planned activities and include a timeline • Research Proposal describes what you intend to accomplish and how
Elements of a Research proposal • Identify a research problem or research topic • Introduction • Problem and objectives • Literature Review • Theoretical Framework • Research Questions • Hypothesis • Research Methods and Design
• Measurement • Subjects for Study – population and sampling • Research Instrument – surveys (questionnaire), interviews,
• Data Collection Methods • Data Analysis • References
Annotated Bibliography You are required to work on your annotated bibliography which is a list of resources or literature you intend to review for the project. In this case, you would organize the list of literature, read the journal articles, books or other documents relevant to your topic, provide brief analytical summary of each. Your annotated bibliography must contain at least 20 annotated Literature (journal articles and/or books). Annotated Bibliography: An annotated bibliography is a list of citations from books, journal articles, and documents that are relevant to your research topic. You can visit Databases to find academic materials for your research project. Each citation is annotated by writing a very brief (usually about 150-250 words) descriptive summary of the article in a paragraph. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance of the sources cited in relation to the research topic. Retrieved from https://guides.library.cornell.edu/annotatedbibliography. Writing Annotated bibliography before the actual Research paper helps students to easily develop their and complete the Research project.
About the Research Project You are required to present a 25 pages double space (Font 12) research project. The project will be written in a journal article format and will report the results of a survey research, interviews, case studies (primary research) or secondary research (use of existing data) consistent with the knowledge gained throughout the criminal justice program or based on another related knowledge. Pick up any journal article written according to the APA style, and see the format that is used, that is, the different sections of the journal, the font, the space between lines, the reference system, etc. The project should follow the following structure, that is, every paper should contain the following 17 items: (1) A cover page which contains the title of the project and the name of the author as
specified at the end of these instructions. Cover page must be written according to the APA format. Each paper needs to have a title. Choose a topic that relates to Criminal justice issues. Example:
(2) A table of content (3) An abstract. An abstract is a succinct description of the whole research project. It includes a brief description of the purpose of the study, the methodology used (briefly describing the procedure, the population, the sampling, the instrumentation, the analysis), the key findings and the implications or recommendations. All this should be said in about 200 words (about one third to a half page). (4) An Introduction (1 – 1 & half pages) (what the researcher wants to investigate), the importance and relevance of the topic. Properly introduce your research, pointing out the need for the research and support its relevance with available data. Your research question should be related to the title. According to the title of your choice. There needs to be evidence in your Introduction that you read journal articles, books, or other websites etc that would help you to construct a good Introduction. This paper is purely based on . Read over, correct grammatical errors and repetitions. Your introduction should not be based exclusively on personal opinions. You are required to write an introduction that drives this research. As pointed out above, your introduction should not be completely based on personal opinions, more should be based on academic materials you read. You need to read journal articles, books and official websites/database that relate to your topic to help you construct a very good Introduction. I recommend that you also cite data to buttress the need for this study.
• Introduction is termed as the need for the study.
• It introduces the idea and sets the scene for the research
• It drives the research
(5) Purpose of the Study The purpose of your Research is a concise description of what the Researcher is trying to achieve. You need to summarize your intended accomplishments through this research.
Read developments in your area of research and find gaps in literature that needs to be addressed. Also discuss those gaps, pointing out the need for this study.
You are required to subtitle the “Purpose of the Study”. You are required to discuss your own Objective or purpose of conducting this study. Here are important features to consider here:
• Discuss exactly why you are conducting this study. • Discuss how your study would contribute to our general understanding of your
research interest. • Specify Research problem or objective • Indicate what you intend to achieve in the Research
(6) Literature Reviews (about 12 Pages) A complete literature review including criminological theories or theoretical frameworks that support your research topic: You should review various literature related to the topic to be investigated. In this case it is the literature related to your topic. It means that you have to go to the library, virtual library or go to the internet and read articles or books that have dealt with the topic you are investigating. The literature review helps you learn about what has been said by previous researchers on this topic, what were their findings, what were their successes or shortcomings (limitations), what new orientation they propose, so that you, as a junior researcher, can see what stone was left unturned, and you can fill that gap in your present or future study. Once you get a good idea or finding or discussion from those previous studies, you can include them in your study as an argument or counterargument in what you are doing. If you quote somebody or paraphrase someone else, you need to give a proper reference, that is, you have to give the credit where it belongs. Generally, every scholarly paper you read always starts with the literature review before going into the methodology and data analysis; this is a good model you must follow as you write your paper. We do this to avoid to re-invent the wheels: your work should lean on the work of others who have done similar research before you. Remember that a good literature review takes the shape of a reversed pyramid. That is, you start with a broad area, and you narrow it down to the point you like to focus your study on. What you would like to do here is to find the gaps or some of the good ideas that you can explore in your study to make it stand out. The gaps could be in the methodology, the sample, the sampling technique, the analysis or an aspect that the previous researcher completely overlooked. It is advisable to start with the most recent articles and to go backward in order to capture the most recent findings. For example, start with the articles written in 2021 & 2020 and move back to those of 2019, 2018, then 2017, then 2016, etc. You may easily have about 10 or 12 pages here as this is one of the most critical parts of this research project, it is one that will take you more time to complete. YOU MUST PROPERLY IN-TEXT CITE AND REFERENCE according to APA format to avoid plagiarism. Paragraphing: You need to develop your Literature reviews in paragraphs for clarity. Each article you are reviewing must start on a new paragraph. Your paragraphs must be understandable and coherent. Each paragraph should be about half a page, with sentences related to the main idea.
In-text Citations: Also avoid in-text citing of publications’ URL, rather cite author’s last name and year of publication. Cite more of peer reviewed journal articles, books, government websites, and institution’s database etc. (7) Theoretical Framework You need to include Theoretical Framework that is composed of Criminological or Criminal Justice Theories. Your Theoretical Framework must be subtitled and discussed substantially. Your Criminological Theories must not be kept hanging, it must be connected to your research objective. I advise, you limit your theories to about 2 or 3 (but not less than 2) and these theories must strongly support your research. Examples of criminological theories are Social Learning Theory, Strain Theory, Critical Race Theory, Biological Theory, Rational Choice Theory, Classical Theory, Deterrence Theory, Conflict Theory, Social Disorganization Theory etc. (8). Research Question/s: You need to include your main Research Questions at the end of your Literature Reviews and sub-title it “Research Questions”. Here are some important features of the “Research Questions” –
• What specific questions will your research try to answer?
• It’s useful to view research questions as a more specific version of the problem or objective described earlier
• Your specific questions should be framed so as to address the research objective
• Your study’s main research question/questions is not the same as your survey questions but your main Research question/s sets the scene for your survey questions. Research question/s drives your survey questions.
Using the title above, what you want to see is what the students at your local college or university think (their perception) about the level of safety on their campus. In other words, do the students feel safe or unsafe? How do they feel about the level (number) of crimes on that campus? Are there adequate protective measures to ensure student safety on that campus? Who have the most fear of crime, females or males, freshmen, or seniors? What else could be done to provide more safety to the students, etc… (9) Hypotheses (if needed): after you have reviewed the literature you should state your hypotheses in relation with your research question. This is nothing else than what you would like to test (evaluate) with the data that you collect. This is a statement of a relationship between two or more variables to be tested. The data will allow you to reject or retain the hypothesis. You may have one, two, three or more hypotheses, depending upon your interest and your data. Having one or two may be more manageable for this kind of time sensitive exercise. For example: Female students at Norfolk State University feel safer on their campus than the male students. Or Male students at the local university are less concerned about safety on campus than female students, etc… Note: Skip this section if you are not testing any hypothesis. Once you state your hypothesis, you are required to test it.
(10) Research Method and Design – Explaining the population under investigation, the sampling method and procedure of data collection, the instrument used. This is an area where the researcher is the more creative. Are you going to use experimental designs or other types of data gathering strategies (survey, interview, case study, participant observation…)? For this project, you may conduct a survey (questionnaire, interviews – structure or unstructured, etc). In your Research Method class course, you learnt about how to design a good questionnaire, the wording, the timing, the relationship between your question items and the variables to be analyzed in the study. Your questionnaire should not be unnecessarily long with questions that you will never use, or extremely short to leave out some important questions. Always ask yourself why you ask a particular question and how you will use it in your study. Sampling: Choose a sample wisely, that is, a sample that is appropriate for the types of data you want. Next is the question of how the sample is selected. Statisticians would recommend a random sample. If you use one like this, explain what sampling procedure you used (the Research Method book gives you different sampling techniques/designs); if you did not, justify why the departure from randomness and how it will affect the generalizability of your findings. This is often one of the concerns reported in the limitations of the study. What you do here is to provide the reader with enough information for him or her to replicate whatever you have done; that is why, in writing this section, you should provide enough details. You may select non- probability sampling design like Purposive sampling, Snowball sampling, Convenience sampling etc. (11) A statement of compliance (this section is not required, DO NOT INCLUDE THIS SECTION IN YOUR RESEARCH) with the regulation on the protection of human subjects. In chapter 2 we learned about how human subjects have been abused in research, and the precautions that are to be taken when one is engaged in research involving human subjects. If you think that your investigation will cause some harm or embarrassment, discomfort to the respondent, then you need to seek the consent for their voluntary participation, and you must submit a protocol to the Institutional Review Board (IRB). In the present case we do not have enough time to go through this IRB process, therefore, make your questions more general so that they do not touch the areas that are sensitive to individual subjects. (12) Data Collection – Describe the details of the data you collected for your study. You are required to discuss in detail how you collected your data. You are basically giving details of the data collection processes and procedures in your own words and sometimes quoting from the Interviewees, but those quotes must be in “quote”. Discuss the number of questions you used to conduct the research. Discuss what the structure of questions are aimed at, if closed-ended or open-ended, or both, if interview (if you conducted interview) like structured, semi-structured or unstructured interviews were used to guide interviewees during the conversations. Discuss your behavior and participants during the interview. If Surveys, discuss if you included yes/no or likert scale questions like (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree) which helps to explore participants’ perceptions and opinions. Discuss why you chose open-ended or
close-ended questions. Which may allow interviewees or participants to share their experiences. Discuss more on this …. If you used secondary data, discuss how you collected the secondary data including databases and websites that you visited to collect your data. Also discuss your steps in collecting your data. Also discuss the type of data that was collected such as participants’ responses, direct observations, pictures etc. You can also describe the interview environment if one on one interview. Also discuss how you collected the data eg notetaking, audio or video recording etc. Also discuss potential risks Discuss about the Informed consent. For instance, the participants were expected to sign consent forms showing that they were willfully participating in the study. Discuss more on this… (13) Data Analyses Procedure and Data Analyses: Describe how your data will be input (it goes even to describe what software you will use –SPSS or Excel or others) and analyzed: what statistical procedure will be used. Normally, in this section, you tell the reader what procedure you used for Quantitative study (frequency tables, percentages, t- test, regression, correlation, ANOVA, etc), and why it is the appropriate procedure. You may employ basic descriptive statistics, and or inferential statistics such as frequency tables, crosstabs, histogram, charts/graphs, measures of central tendency, means comparisons, contingency tables, percentages, t-test, regression, correlation, ANOVA, or the likes whatever you can afford thru Excel or SPSS. If you conduct Qualitative Research like Interviews or Case Studies, you are also required to analyze your data using Qualitative approaches like Narrative Analysis, Thematic Analysis, and Discourse Analysis etc. Read more on this. Data analysis is not about copying and pasting your Interview responses. You need to analyze those responses based on the objectives of your research. You need to analyze all the important aspects of your surveys and Interviews based on themes you come up with. First, read about how to analyze survey and interview data. If your topic is on Police Brutality and Misconduct. You are required to analyze and discuss the responses from your participants. If you conducted Interviews, Analyze your interview data according to Themes. Be Very Clear on your Analysis. Read about Thematic Analysis. Thematic Analysis: You need to identify Themes from the responses. And analyze accordingly. You can create tables for this and analyze the contents of the table. (14) Discussion: Here is where you explain the result you obtained, whether they are significant in relation with your hypotheses – whether or not your hypotheses are supported or rejected or in relation to your Research questions. The analogy is that of a spin doctor, who tries to give his or her interpretation of the findings. You will show here if your findings confirm or not the findings by others that you reviewed in the literature. You can use sources from your literature review section or some outside sources to support your arguments.
(15). Conclusion: Discuss your conclusion. (16) Limitations, Policy Implications/Recommendations. Talk about the implications of your findings, and the limitations (problems you encountered during your research) of your study – these could be due to your sampling, lack of time or resources, your data or your analysis. This can be your sampling designs, increasing the sample size, diversifying the sample, trying the study with a different population, using different data analysis technique, time constraints etc. Finally, what do you recommend that society should do, or future researchers should do in the light of your findings? (17) Reference Page – Properly reference your sources according to APA format. All referenced materials must be in-text cited. Reference according to APA format. Just remember that the American Psychological Association (APA) style is required for writing all papers in criminal justice and criminology. It is important for you to review the manual to see how the other sections of the research paper are presented You could obtain a copy of the Publication Manual for the American Psychological Association, (6th edition or the 7th edition) or review its content as needed in the library. You are required to submit in the attachment after your References, also the survey or interview questionnaire that you have used in your study. About the American Psychological Association (APA) style There are many styles used to refer; the biomedical style, the sociological style, the American Psychological Association (APA) style, just to name a few. The Department of Criminal Justice has adopted the APA style in all their written works. We all, students, and teachers, need to know how to use it. And take it from me: I am not inventing it or making it unnecessarily burdensome (or being too picky or meticulous about it); it is a guide by which we all must abide. There is only one correct way to do it, not two; just follow the manual carefully as it explains, and gives example for, each case. To get acquainted to the process, you need to read a couple of well-written scholarly papers and see how the literature review section is presented and have an idea of how many sources have been cited. I do not expect you to cite as many, but your literature reference should include all the sources used and cited in your paper. Each time a source is cited in the body of the report, there must be a reference item on it in the reference page. Remember: no name or source shall be in the reference page that was not cited in the body of the report, as much as no name or source shall be in the body of the report that is not listed in the reference page. The APA style recommends that you cite the last name of the author(s) in the body of the report plus the year of the publication on the side of the citation, and the complete reference in the reference page in the back of the report. It should include the last name, the first and middle initials, the year of the publication, the title of the article, the journal title, the volume, the issue number, and the pages. For a book, the reference should include the last name, the first and middle
initials, the year of the publication, the title of the book, the publisher, the place of publication, the edition number, the page, etc. To know all the details, you must read the relevant pages of the APA manual, the 7th edition. It is this last edition that we all must follow. Don’t go back to the previous editions as things keep changing from one edition to the next. The latest edition always overrides the previous ones. Please take time to read the relevant pages: this is not a waste of time. Many students do not take time to learn those details and end up with a substandard job. When you present your paper, the strict respect of the APA style is the first thing I pay attention to. I know this is a tedious job but one that you all must become familiar with; there is no other way around. Take that pain now; it will make your work much easier later. Practical Concerns and General Remarks about the Paper Submission. 1. Have a cover page according to APA format which includes:
Title of the Assignment: Research Project Topic: Title of the Project Submitted by: Your name
To: Name of your Instructor Course Name and Number:
Term Institution Name
2. Check the spelling, punctuation, and grammar. All that is part of this exercise. Do not neglect it; I grade your paper on all of that. Good research presented in a poorly written style is not appealing. A good way to check that your writing is acceptable, is to give it to another person (spouse, peer, friend or else) to read before you turn it in.