CONSTRUCTING A PROPOSA

CONSTRUCTING A PROPOSAL
Designing the Study:
Assignment 3
This assignment requires you to complete a research proposal and to conduct a small research project of your own to serve as a pilot study. Each section of the paper should be clearly labeled – Abstract, Introduction/background, Literature review – etc. Please “bold” these sections and adhere to proper APA headers. Make sure you have an APA formatted title page and that your entire paper reflects proper APA in-order to avoid plagiarism and to provide clarity of discourse.
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1.     Your Research Question/Hypothesis:  Submission by week 4
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Your specific research question(s) or hypotheses should be stated in your introductory paragraph and in your abstract. You will submit your hypothesis to your professor in Week 4 for approval and/or revision.

2.     Abstract:  Your proposal will begin with an abstract of your proposed study (one paragraph).  This is basically a summary of your proposal and it includes your research question.

3.     Introduction/problem statement (1-2 paragraphs):  After the abstract, research proposals generally begin with an introductory section that describes the research problem and establishes its significance. This section answers the following kinds of questions: What exactly do you want to study? Why is it worth studying? Does the proposed study have theoretical and/or practical significance? Does it contribute to a new understanding of a phenomenon (e.g., does it address new or little-known material or does it treat familiar material in a new way or does it challenge an existing understanding or extend existing knowledge)?

4.     Literature Review (2-3 pages): This section is a review of the literature on your topic.  It is basically a term/research paper on your topic and tells the reader information that has already been discovered regarding your topic.

The research problem or objective needs to be situated within a context of
other scholarship in the area(s). The literature review presents a discussion of the most important research and theoretical work relating to the research problem/objective.

It addresses the following kinds of questions: What have others said about this area(s)? What theories address it and what do these say? What research has been done (or not done) previously? Are there consistent findings or do past studies disagree? Are there flaws or gaps in the previous research that your study will seek to remedy?

Three sources are required.  All 3 sources must be from an academic journal, not books, news paper articles or magazine articles.  You may use these as additional sources beyond the required 3 journal articles.  .

This section requires in-text citations in APA format.  You must document your sources using the social sciences standard citation method, APA.  This method is actually simpler than MLA.  For example, to cite your textbook after you talk about a theory, you need only put the author’s last name and year of publication:
His lack of self-control suggests Latent Trait (Siegel, 2008). Then in your References (bibliography), you write:
Siegel, L. (2008).  Criminology: the core.  Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
To find out the rules for APA style, please refer to the Berkeley Libguide at: http://berkeleycollege.libguides.com/content.php?pid=197278&sid=1650985
You can also look at the APA guide from the library at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/research/apastyle2010.pdf .
You can also look at the OWL Purdue Writing Lab:  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
Also, some databases, such as Proquest, will automatically put its listed sources in APA format for you.  You can also use citation assistants online or in Microsoft Word. Lastly, you can always go to the ASC for assistance in writing, paraphrasing, and referencing.
Your professor will be inviting the Writing Center to your class to conduct a presentation on APA guidelines.
Include only those articles that support the logic of the argument and/or the proposed research methods. For instance, if you are interested in studying juvenile delinquency; the literature review would include studies on that topic, not domestic violence. Discuss recent developments and potential avenues for new research. Review the discussion and conclusion sections of most scholarly articles – the authors will identify ways to improve and/or expand research of a particular issue. Using the information is a good way to come up with unique research ideas. Finally, your independent variable and dependent variable should be the framework to use in developing the literature review. Remember that your hypothesis will seek to test the relationship between the two core variables, so knowing what the literature says about those two variables will become critical.

5.     Procedures: Methods Section (1 -2 Pages)

This section describes how you will conduct your study. Regardless of the type of research you plan to do, you need to indicate how you will carry out your study so others may judge its viability, its worth, etc. For example, for empirical research, this section includes a description of the subjects (or participants), the measurements, the data-collection methods, and analysis/analyses (1-2 Pages). Outline how you would conduct your own study on a topic in criminal justice. This section should be detailed and provide enough information for another person to replicate your study based entirely on the information included in this section. A detailed methods section would include the following:

a.     Restate Your Hypothesis:  Make sure you provide a clear statement of your research hypothesis.  This will also include identification of the independent and dependent variables.

A statement of your hypothesis. Make sure to state your independent and dependent variables.

For example, Prison-based college programs reduce recidivism.
Prison-based college programs is the IV and recidivism is the DV

b.     Subjects for study

. Describe the subjects (people or objects, e.g. texts) for your study, considering carefully the type and number you need. Explain your method of selecting your sample.
Describe the population and how the sample will be drawn. Discuss the subject(s) in relation to your research question or hypothesis, to availability, and to your research design. That is, you need to identify the subjects and make clear whether they will be available and how you will reach them. This section typically answers the following questions: Who or what will you study in order to collect data? Is it appropriate to select a sample from a larger pool? If so, how will you do that? How do these subjects relate to your research question(s)? How you will identify members of the population and how you will select the sample. What sampling method are you using? How many people will be included? What geographical area are you focusing upon?

c.     Measurement

.Describe the kinds of measures you intend to use and explain why you have selected these (have they been used previously?).  A discussion of measurements generally considers the following questions: What are the key variables in your study? How will you define and measure them? Do your definitions and measurements draw on or differ from those of previous research in this area? You want to consider whether you will use concurrent, retrospective, direct or indirect product measurements or some combination of these. Your research question should guide you in your selection.  Your conceptual and operational definitions of the variables in your hypothesis will be clearly stated in this section.

Remember a conceptual definition provides an idea regarding the concept; a operational definition is specific to how the concept will be measured. For example:
Conceptual: Success: one’s ability to succeed
Operation: Success is measured by no recidivism and/or reduced disciplinary infractions.

Conceptual:  Inmate: A person who is incarcerated.
Operational:  Inmate: A male or female between the ages of 18 and 65 incarcerated for a minimum of 5 years/maximum of 55 years in a NYS correctional Facility.

d.     Data-Collection Methods

.Describe what you plan to actually do and the kind of research you will conduct. Your data-collection methods obviously need to be consistent with your research
problem, your subjects and your measurements. This section typically considers whether you will utilize surveys, 1:1 interviews, secondary data analysis, enthnography, etc.  If you are conducting a survey or interview, please attach your questions as an appendix.  If you are conducting an ethnograpghy, please attach your field notes as an appendix.

6.     Pilot Study

PILOT STUDY:  Now, you will have the chance to conduct a very small research study, also known as a pilot study.   You can choose a survey, a 1:1 Interview or an Observation.  Remember, this must be related to your proposal and approval must be given by your professor.

Designs – Pick one
A.      Survey Research

1.     Design a survey with at least 10 questions, but no more than 15.  Please submit your survey to your professor before you distribute it.  You can survey people about any criminal justice topic. .  For example, you may want to know how people feel about the death penalty or you may want to know what people think about the police.

2.     Pick your sample.  Decide who you want to survey.  Make sure your unit of analysis is consistent with your hypothesis.  Will you stand in the lobby and ask every 5th student to complete your survey, will you survey students in a particular class, etc.  These decisions must be made well ahead of time.  You must have 15-20 people in your sample.

B.      Field Research – complete observer only
1.     Pick a location that you can sit in and observe people without being too obvious.  Pick a bench on a busy street or in a public park.  Whichever place you pick, make sure it is a public place.

2.     Decide what type of behavior you want to observe and what type of people you want to observe.  DO NOT OBSERVE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY – IT IS TOO DANGEROUS, it brings up too many ethical issues, and it is not allowed!!!  Perhaps you want to observe how the police interact with the public or the behavior of homeless persons in the park.

3.     Keep a log and report on everything you see – This will serve as your field notes.  Your field notes can be handwritten.  What do the people look like? What are they wearing?  How are they behaving?  Who are they with?  What can you interpret from their body language?   Include everything and anything and write everything down.

4.     Do at least three observations on three separate days for 15-20 minutes each.

C.    Interview
Pick someone to interview on a one-on-basis.  Your unit of analysis should be consistent with your hypothesis.  The interview must be done in person.  You will interview them on two separate occasions.

1.     Find someone that you are interested in knowing more about.  It could be a police officer, a correction counselor, a former inmate, etc.

2.     Write a list of interview questions –this is known as your interview schedule and you cannot deviate from these questions (just like a real researcher).  Show me your questions before you interview your subject.  Have at least 15 questions that include both quantitative and qualitative measures.  Make sure you write down everything the subjects say to you.  If the subject agrees to be tape recorded, you may tape record the interview and transcribe it later on.  You may also describe the subject’s behavior, mannerisms, dress, etc.

3.    After the first interview, analyze the responses of your subject.  Devise ten additional questions that you would like to ask the subject based on their responses to the first set of questions you asked them.  Hence, there should be 25 or more questions in total.

6.   Results/Discussion (1 page)

Discuss the results of your research.  What did you find?  Be specific.

If You Conducted a Survey:
Analyze your results.  What did you find? Write up everything you did, starting from the beginning and concluding with the results of your study.  Use the last couple of paragraphs to describe your experience with the survey research.  Did you like it, hate it, find it interesting, etc. and why?  Did you face any difficulties?  Submit the typed proposal with the survey attached to the back.

If you conducted an Ethnography:
Analyze your results – did you find anything interesting?  For example, do security guards at Macys follow people of color around more than white people? Look for trends. Write up everything you did, beginning with who you decided to observe, where you decided to observe them, what you saw, and conclude with the results of your observations. Describe your experience with the field work.  Did you like it, hate it, find it interesting, etc. and why?  Did you face any difficulties? Submit the typed proposal with your field notes attached to the back.

If you conducted a 1:1 Interview:
What did you learn from your participant based on the questions asked?  Submit the typed proposal, which will include the interview (in question/answer
format), any interesting findings, and how you felt about conducting an interview.  Please report on any difficulties that you faced.

7.  Policy Implications (1 Page)

What is the meaning of your research?  How can it impact public policy?  For example, do we require more police presence or does it mean that we require more sensitivity training for law enforcement.

8.  Limitations (1 paragraph)

What are the weaknesses of your study design?  How could this study be improved?

9.  Future Research (1 paragraph)

What should other researchers focus on in this area?  What is the next
recommendation for future study?  Why?

10.  Works Cited Page – make sure to provide a full reference list that adheres to APA format

11.  Submit your proposal to the assignment link in Blackboard for your course.  Your professor will let you know if he/she requires a hard copy as well.

In total, your paper will be 5 to 7 pages, not including the title page or reference page.

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